LP Research Resources October 26, 2014

EMT Paramedic Career Options & Employment

Trained, certified, and licensed EMT and paramedics are in demand! The need for emergency medical services and trained personnel continuously increases with EMS job growth anticipated to rise by 9% over the next few years for both EMT Basic and EMT Paramedic. Particularly, paramedics will enjoy good job security, as emergency services and EMS personnel are a crucial part of the healthcare system.

Availability of EMS courses is also on the rise, due to these demands. According to labor market statistics, job growth for emergency medical personnel through 2018 will grow faster than the normal job market. One reason is due to the baby boomer generation who are entering into retirement age. As this aging population requires more need for medical care and services, the demand for Paramedics rises and EMT certification becomes a valuable education.

Paramedics have a higher level of training than the EMT Basic. The basic courses for EMT training certification can be as short as 12 weeks or as long as 6 months. Course work required to become a licensed paramedic can take 12 to 24 months on average. Regardless of the training, these EMS responders are in demand in a variety of fields offering a wide choice of vocational paths.

Career options and EMS jobs

Once certified, EMS personnel can find work in or with:

• Private Ambulance Companies
• Fire Services & Fire Departments
• Law Enforcement
• Hospital Systems
• Prison & Juvenile Systems
• Life-Flight Medic Operations
• Military and Maritime Units
• Private companies for public events
• Casinos and Entertainment Facilities
• Sports Arenas
• Rescue services
• Emergency Rooms

Other fields of expertise where EMTs and EMS paramedics are found include such positions as tactical paramedics operating in police units, maritime paramedics, hazardous materials (Hazmat) teams, search and rescue, paramedics on offshore oil platforms, oil and mineral exploration teams, nautical rescue, pharmacist mates on ships, as well as paramedics in the military. These positions require completion of a fully accredited program or certification from an accredited school.

Some larger cities in the US and other countries employ EMTs as a “cycle responder”, which is a First Responder that uses a bicycle to respond to a medical emergency. They are often used by professional ambulance services, police units, or hospitals to respond to emergency calls in areas where sizeable populations are expected to gather. In particular, these EMT cycle responders are used for maneuvering in massive crowds and often cover large public events or celebrations, concerts, sporting events, parades, and even demonstrations. Anywhere that a large volume of people are in attendance, emergency medical services are needed.

Finding Employment

Most employers appear to be requiring an EMT applicant to have at least one-year on the job experience once certification is completed. Upon completing EMT training, a paramedic may have to work in lower paid positions to gain that first year experience in order to secure a higher paying EMT paramedic salary.

Currently, EMTs and paramedics hold about 201,000 jobs in the United States. Many work in metropolitan areas. The greatest placement rate appears to be with private ambulance services. Paramedics also works full time in hospitals within the medical facility or responding to calls in ambulances or helicopters to transport critically ill or injured patients. Another option is the opportunity for job promotion in supervisory roles such as operations managers, administrative directors, or executive directors of emergency services. Paramedics also become instructors, dispatchers, or physician assistants.

EMT Certification and licensing is obtained by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) and the State in which an EMT is practicing. The level of certification will be one of the main factors determining what jobs and career options are available.

Salaries can vary significantly

In 2007 the annual wage range for EMTs who completed paramedic training was $18,000 – $47,000. The largest employment sector is private ambulance and related health care services. Local governments and hospitals comprise the second largest tier. The highest paying state for those certified is Alaska, possibly due to the complex challenges weather and terrain present. Advanced life support and paramedic services are growing for profit, non-profit, private, municipal and hospitals based throughout many regions. Competition is strong for positions provided by local governments and independent third-service rescue squad departments due to providing higher salaries and better benefits. Those with advanced certification have the best job prospects. The salary is highest in Tacoma, Washington, and Olympia, Washington, and lowest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jackson, Mississippi, and Anderson, Indiana.

Work outside of the country appears to be lucrative with the opportunity to travel. The salary is often double that of the United States and overseas work for private contractors often offers perks such as living quarters with other westerns, generous vacations, stipends for living expenses, and paid air travel.

Whether you are considering work in the private sector, a government entity, inside or outside the United States, there are numerous career opportunities for those pursing EMT paramedic training and certification as an EMT paramedic.

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