EMT and Paramedic Salary
What kind of salary do EMTs and paramedics earn?
An EMT's pay is dependent on several factors: The state in which they work, the agency through which they work, whether they are employed in the private or public sector, their level of experience, and lastly what level of training they've received. Opportunities to work overtime are common for EMTs, and these extra hours factor significantly into their total pay. The following information was furnished by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and www.payscale.com. These represent average salaries for EMT workers nationwide:
EMT-Bs can expect to make between $22,000 and $34,000 yearly, while EMT-I's salaries can be as high as $42,000.
In the earlier part of their careers, paramedics can expect salaries that range between $28,000 and $40,000 depending on the state in which they work. After several years of experience, paramedics will routinely earn between $50,000 and $70,000 working for a state agency or hospital.
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What hours, and in what environments do EMTs and paramedics work?
It is typical for paramedics working for fire departments or hospitals to be scheduled for 24 hour-a-day on-call shifts followed by two days off. With at least some overtime frequently being the norm, fifty and 60 hour work weeks are not uncommon for EMTs employed through these channels. These EMTs are required to be available on-call at very irregular hours of the day to meet the need of 911's 24 hour-a-day emergency services.
Most ambulance services schedule their workers for either 12 hour shifts, or for revolving shifts that require the EMT to be on-call for 24 hours followed by 48 hours of undisturbed time off. It is not uncommon for hospital based EMTs to be scheduled for 12-hour days as is typical of the nursing staff.
The work environment for EMTs, regardless of the channel through which they work, is as unpredictable as the work itself. They may be called to a home or a business during the day or to a car accident on the interstate in the pouring rain at night. Since car accidents are frequently weather related, EMTs and paramedics often find themselves working outside in severely inclement weather.
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Where do EMTs and paramedics find employment?
EMTs can find work with commercial ambulance services, hospitals, or state and federal agencies. Most career EMTs work in metropolitan areas where the need for EMS professionals is the greatest. State agencies like fire departments and police departments employ EMTs and paramedics as part of comprehensive emergency medical teams that respond to 911 calls. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), EMTs employed through state and federal agencies, like fire departments, represent about 30% of the EMT workforce nationwide. About 40% of EMTs work for private ambulance companies. The remainder work for hospitals, either within the medical facility as emergency department technicians or as on-call emergency responders. Some find work as on-site medical experts in commercial industrial settings like automobile manufacturing plants where there's a possibility employees could be injured.
What is the job market like for EMTs?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for EMTs and paramedics is very good and expected to keep getting better. BLS expects faster than average growth in the emergency medical industry. The opportunities for employment will increase due to the difficulty of providing adequate training to volunteers, as well as the fact that a large segment of the American population is now entering geriatric age and are more likely to be in need of emergency medical services.
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How is EMT work rewarding?
Most EMTs describe their job as a calling. To be able to cope with the psychological and physical demands of the work, and the demands placed on an EMT's time with often unforgiving work schedules, requires someone who is personally motivated by the importance of the work itself. For those who answer this call by rising to the challenges of EMT work, the personal rewards are tremendous. One EMT we spoke with simply answered this question by asking rhetorically: "What could be more personally rewarding than saving a life?"
EMTs and paramedics usually enjoy good medical benefits. These benefits are secured through an EMT union if they are employed with a private ambulance company, or directly through the fire department or hospital they work for.