The demand for 911 operators in West Virginia continues to increase due, in large part, to the state’s growing drug problem.
West Virginia has the dubious reputation that comes with having a skyrocketing number of drug overdoses and homicides. In fact, this state has the highest age-adjusted rate of drug overdose opioid deaths in the nation. In 2017 alone, there were 833 opioid overdoses here – a rate of nearly 50 deaths per 100,000 residents and double the rate in 2010.
So, it comes as no surprise that job prospects for 911 dispatchers reveal a growing number of opportunities for these professionals in the coming years. According to Workforce West Virginia, there were 800 dispatchers working here in 2016; by 2026, this number is projected to grow to 860 – an increase of 7.5%.
- Grand Canyon University - B.S. in Justice Studies, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- SNHU - A.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Criminal Justice - Police Administrations & Operations, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Michigan State University - Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Rasmussen College - Justice Studies Programs offering a wide range of industry-relevant programs
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
While job projections in West Virginia are strong, salaries here fall below the national average. The median salary is $28,890 – more than $11,000 less than the national average. The top 10% here earn $43,230.
Salaries at the Agencies that Employ 911 Operators in West Virginia
The Public Service Commission of West Virginia oversees the 911 system and its 51 PSAPs. Dispatchers in Charleston come out on top with a median salary of $33,880.
- Wheeling / Ohio County 9-1-1 Center
- 10th percentile: $10.85/$22,580
- Median: $14.89/$30,980
- 90th percentile: $24.19/$50,300
- Cabell County 911 Center
- 10th percentile: $10.05/$20,900
- Median: $15.76/$32,780
- 90th percentile: $24.45/$50,850
- Kanawha County Metro 911
- 10th percentile: $11.23/$23,350
- Median: $16.29/$33,880
- 90th percentile: $22.17/$46,120
911 Dispatcher Salaries and Employment in West Virginia by Metro Area
Employment among 911 dispatchers is fairly consistent throughout West Virginia, although the Wheeling metro area employs the most, at 100 dispatchers. The top 10% earn the highest salary in the Parkersburg-Vienna metro area, at $54,960, followed by the Huntington-Ashland and Wheeling metro areas, at $50,850 and $50,300, respectively.
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of employment for emergency services dispatchers https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.htm#43-5031. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Job growth projections sourced from the Workforce West Virginia and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.
All salary and job growth data accessed in June 2019.