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How Much Does a Paramedic Make?

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a paramedic. Get a quick view of the projected salary as well as details about training, job duties and requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

If you want to help people and are willing to put the time into training, a career as a paramedic may be for you. Paramedics help people in emergency situations by transporting them to medical facilities and providing emergency medical treatment. Paramedics work for a variety of employers including local governments, hospitals, and private ambulatory companies, and are sometimes volunteers in rural areas.

Essential Information

Paramedics provide emergency medical services to patients and transport them to emergency rooms or hospitals. Paramedic salaries may differ greatly depending on employer type, geographic location and years of work experience, but the national median is around $32,000. In small communities, the paramedics may be volunteers and work for free. This is a growing field of employment that requires an associate's degree and licensing.

Required Education Associate's degree
Other Requirements All states require licensing, usually through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 24%
Median Salary (2015)* $31,980

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Paramedic Salary Information

Some paramedics work on a voluntary basis and receive no pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), unpaid paramedics are most likely to work in rural or small metropolitan areas, where the workload may be smaller and only necessitate responding to a handful of emergency calls each month (www.bls.gov).

Paid paramedics and their lower-level counterparts, known as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), earned a median hourly wage of $15.38, or $31,980 per year, as of May 2015, according to the BLS. The lowest-paid 10% of EMTs and paramedics made $10.03 an hour or less, while the highest-paid 10% earned in excess of $26.49 per hour.

The average salary of paramedics may differ based on employer type. For example, paramedics working for the local government earned a mean hourly wage of $18.75 as of 2015, whereas those working in other ambulatory health care services earned $15.65, according to BLS estimates. Paramedics employed by general medical and surgical hospitals and local government also tended to earn more, with a mean hourly wage of $17.65 and $18.75, respectively.

In addition, BLS reports show that salary can vary by location. As of 2015, paramedics and EMTs working in the District of Columbia received the highest pay rate in the country, with a mean hourly wage of $28.37, followed by Washington at $28.06.

Paramedic Employment Trends and Future Outlook

The BLS projected the job market for paramedics and EMTs to grow by 24% from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average for all jobs. Violence, natural disasters, car crashes and other emergencies will continue to create demand for paramedics and EMTs. A growing aging population, and subsequent increase in age-related health emergencies like stroke and heart attack, is also likely to increase the demand for emergency medical services.

Working as a paramedic can be a rewarding career. EMT salaries vary depending on training, location, and type of employer. The job growth for EMTs, as reported by the BLS, is much higher than the job market as a whole, thus providing future opportunity.

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