In the United States, 911-dispatchers make about $38,870 annually. Dispatchers working in Norway make a little less, bringing in NOK279,944 ($34,884) at the end of the year. The pay in the United Kingdom is by far the worst, with 999-Dispatchers making only £20,500 ($26,838) annually. Dispatchers in Canada, Switzerland, and Australia do much better, with Canadian dispatchers making C$62,400 ($49,353) a year, Swiss dispatchers making CHF 54,083 ($56,139) and Australians making AU$53,356 ($41,784).
Dispatcher Salary Influencers
A number of different things influence the salary of an emergency dispatcher. In the United States, salaries differ tremendously from city to city, as does the level of pay based on experience. The United Kingdom, by contrast, offers little to no increase in pay based on experience. Geography is everything when it comes to determining how much an emergency dispatcher will make.
Dispatchers typically work for local or state emergency services. In rare cases, a private company might oversee the task. Pay differs tremendously in the United States, and may even differ from city to city. In some cities, the pay rate might be extremely low. In Canada, emergency dispatchers are members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, giving them a standard pay rate.
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Dispatcher Salary in the US
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a 911-dispatcher earns a median salary of $38,870 per year. On average, 911-dispatchers make $18.69 per hour. The top ten percent of 9-11 dispatchers make over $56,580 per year, but dispatchers can earn as little as $25,270 per year in some states.
Dispatcher Salary in Canada
PayScale reports that an emergency dispatcher in Canada makes about C$43,350 ($34,286) during the first one to four years of work, followed by a salary of C$62,400 ($49,353) after working for ten years. That’s roughly C$22 ($17.40) per hour.
Dispatcher Salary in the UK
The Guardian reports that 999-dispatchers make between £23,861-£27,569 ($31,238-$36,093) per year. The government website National Careers Service lists these wages as £15,000 to £26,000 ($19,638-$34,039) on average, giving us an overall average of £20,500 ($26,838) or £7.30 ($9.50) per hour. Starting salaries are listed as £15,000 to £17,750 ($19,638-$23,238) for entry-level employment, £16,750 to £19,500 ($21,929-$25,529) for experienced workers, and £26,000 ($34,039) or more for managerial or senior level employment.
Dispatcher Salary in Australia
According to PayScale, Australian emergency dispatchers make about AU$53,356 ($41,784) per year. That’s about AU$15 ($11.75) per hour. PayScale reports that this salary does not change with experience, but remains within the margins of AU$44,011 – AU$65,836 ($34,466 -$51,558).
Dispatcher in Switzerland
A Swiss emergency services dispatcher makes CHF 54,083 ($56,139) per year on average, earning approximately CHF 26 ($27) per hour. The entry level salary begins at CHF 42,176 ($43,779) and peaks at about CHF 70,575 ($73,258).
Dispatcher Salary in Norway
Salary Expert reports that a Norwegian emergency dispatcher earns about NOK279,944 ($34,884) annually, with an average hourly wage of NOK135 ($16.82). Entry level pay is about NOK170,306 ($21,221). Pay can climb as high as NOK334,177 ($41,642) for senior level workers.
In terms of education, the United States usually only requires a high-school diploma (or equivalent) for those looking to work as a dispatch. Besides this, no prior experience is necessary. Workers receive on the job training. Speaking Spanish is an added bonus.
Canada requires dispatchers to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This will require the completion of a high school education, as well as the RCMP entrance exam. After joining, dispatchers will receive six months of on the job training before beginning their work.
The UK requires GCSE’s between the grades of A and C in English, mathematics, and sciences, as well as the ability to type. They also cite customer service experience as an added bonus.
In the United States, dispatchers must be available at any hour of the day, which means that 911-dispatchers must work on holidays, weekends, and the wee hours of the night. Many work in twelve hours shifts, including long overtime shifts and night shifts. Canadian and British emergency dispatchers have similar working hours.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
Some U.S. cities offer monthly bonuses as high as $150 for bilingual dispatchers. Other monetary bonuses are offered. Some US jobs may require 911-dispatchers to have a private healthcare plan.
The European Union guarantees all citizens healthcare, paid vacation time, and maternity leave as a basic human right. Canada and Australian also offer public healthcare to its citizens as a human right.
Jobs in dispatching services are decreasing; as state funding continues to be cut and outdated systems remain in place. Careers offer little room for advancement, beyond internal managerial positions.
The work environment is extremely stressful. Although the technology exists to detect a person’s location when they call, 911 dispatchers lack this technology, meaning that it can often be difficult to work with people in an emergency and locate the scene of an incident. At the same time, a lot of people call 911 by accident while sitting on their phones, taking up a large amount of time.
For minimal pay within a stress filled environment, dispatchers often work long 12 hour shifts, long nights, holidays, and get very little time off.
They earn a moderate income, making the most in places like Switzerland, Canada, and Australia, less in the United States and Norway, and very little in the UK.
In most countries, little to no education is required. Canada, unlike other places, requires their dispatchers enlist in the police force and take an entrance exam. In most places, simply having a good command of the local language is all that’s necessary, although there can be bonuses for bilingual people.