LP Research Resources January 22, 2018

How Much Money do EMTs and Paramedics Make?

EMTs and Paramedics provide one of the most important services to society, as first responders to incidents involving health, injuries and often life and death situations. These professionals have succeeded in EMS training and are highly skilled in providing medical care that is designed to stabilize an injured individual until they reach a hospital or medical facility. Unfortunately, the salary of an EMS provider does not always reflect this critical part of a patient’s care.

EMT and paramedic salaries can vary widely due to the fact that different areas of the nation have different pay rates regardless of the level of education. The salary could also be contingent on the varied nature of the services that are needed in different metropolitan and rural areas. For instance, EMS personnel who are employed in many regions of the southern United States usually receive the lowest pay of all of these professionals. In some small southern towns these individuals may receive as little as $7-$8 an hour, with very few job benefits, despite attending paramedic school. Regardless of the level of training, those EMTs working in smaller towns and rural areas make smaller salaries due to smaller city budgets, as well as lower rates of activity requiring emergency medical services. In larger metropolitan areas of the South the salaries enjoyed by a paramedic increases dramatically, with some of these professionals making as much as $45,000 annually.

In northern metropolitan areas individuals who have completed EMS courses and paramedic training routinely make salaries over $40,000 annually. Experienced personnel with advanced training can draw even larger salaries. In general however, most of these individuals make between $12,000 and $40,000 annually, with the southern states having the lowest salaries, and those employed in the West and Northeast receiving the higher annual salaries. Much of the salary difference between these areas can also be attributed to the differing levels of training required.

Salaries Outside the U.S.

When looking at EMS work outside the United States there is an even larger salary gap for EMTs and paramedics. Often countries do not have trained personnel, as there is little availability for paramedic training and seldom any EMS courses offered.  Thus the salaries are dependent upon the availability of hospitals and resources. In some countries emergency medical services are only rendered when a patient is brought to a health care facility, as transportation is rarely available. In other countries skilled paramedics are highly sought after due to a huge shortage of certified individuals, and the pay rendered reflects this shortage, as the salaries can be quite high. Private US companies working outside the country also hire those with EMT or paramedic training and offer very good salaries, in order to fill a health care need for their employees that cannot be met by local services.

Geographical Locations and Salary

In addition, research and analysis has revealed that EMS personnel who are employed in areas with high violent crime rates usually receive the highest pay. This same research states that other factors that may influence the pay salary is the educational level, job performance, years of experience in the field, and the number of refresher courses completed.

Nonetheless, EMT training and certification levels, as well as geographical locations, are a significant aspect regarding the salary that is received. Another advantage is the fact that EMS personnel who work with local government, law enforcement and fire departments are often earning greater rates of pay. In addition, they often receive civil service wages and benefits including coverage by pension plans. Many of these plans provide retirement and half pay after 20 years of service if the worker is disabled in the line of duty.

To summarize, the profession of a paramedic is a rewarding career with salaries worth pursuing. Find information on how to begin your career by exploring the EMS training requirements in your state. This can be found by visiting the EMT & paramedic Training by State links on this website, and then checking the schools and programs under the state you are researching.