Your Life Depends on It: The Average US Paramedic Salary
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
If you’re injured in a car accident or suffer a heart attack at home, you can depend on paramedics to provide emergency services and rush you to a hospital, where doctors can treat your medical conditions. These emergency workers are often the first helpers to arrive on the scene. Their average U.S. salaries vary by employers and locations.
The primary responsibility of paramedics, who are also known as EMTs or emergency management technicians, is to stabilize an injured person so doctors can treat him at medical facilities. They respond to 911 calls for help and must quickly assess patient conditions. Then, they determine a treatment, which can include bandaging a wound, administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and dispensing medications.
As of May 2011, paramedics averaged $34,030 per year, or $16.36, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Annual salaries rose fell below $19,880 or rose above $53,050, which equaled an hourly range of $9.56 to $25.50.
Paramedics receive three levels of formal training in classrooms, hospitals and ambulances.
- EMT-Basic introduces medical treatment and how to assess patient conditions in about 100 hours. It teaches the use of mobile equipment, dealing with cardiac and traumatic emergencies, and clearing obstructed airways.
- EMT-Intermediate requires 1,000 hours for learning complex equipment, intravenous fluids and the use of some medications.
- Paramedics need 1,300 hours, which may take up to two years to complete. This level of education includes stitching wounds and administering medications intravenously.
All states mandate a license before any level of EMT can practice, which typically requires the educational background and passing an exam with written and practical components. Many states grant the license only to those without a criminal background.
Almost half of the nation’s 229,340 paramedics worked for other ambulatory health care services, such as ambulance companies, where they made a mean $30,980 per year, or $14.90 per hour.
- Local government contained a third of the positions, averaging an annual $38,400, or $18.46 hourly.
- The highest wages were in support activities for mining at a mean $59,770 yearly, or $28.74 per hour.
- Other heavy and civil engineering ranked second for pay at a mean $51,720 per year, or $24.86 per hour.
Areas with large populations boasted the best opportunities for paramedics:
- The two most populous states of California and Texas showed the most jobs at 16,110 and 14,630 respectively. Average pay in the Golden State was $36,490 yearly, or $17.54 hourly, while the Panhandle State showed means of $31,910 annually, or $15.34 hourly.
- The third most populous city of Chicago, Illinois, held the most positions of any metro area, at 8,600, with mean wages of $50,900 yearly, or $24.47 hourly. The most populous city of New York ranked second with 7,590 paramedics averaging an annual $39,910, or $19.19 per hour.
- For rural areas, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had 470 jobs at a mean $23,000 per year, or $11.06 per hour. Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was nest with 310 positions averaging an annual $30,360, or $14.59 hourly.
As for highest pay, the District of Columbia topped the state list with means of $50,140 per year, or $24.11 per hour. For cities, it was Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, averaging an annual $68,050, or $32.71 per hour. And in rural areas, Southwest Alaska was on top with mean pay at $60,290 yearly, or $28.99 hourly.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.