An emergency medical technician (EMT) provides immediate medical assistance in an emergency. This CareerStint write-up provides information on the factors affecting the salary of EMTs.
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) respond to emergency calls, and provide immediate care to those who are critically ill or injured. They are required to take the ambulance to the location, stabilize the patient, and transport the patient to a medical facility. On the basis of the level of certification, they are categorized into Emergency Medical responders (EMRs), EMTs/EMT-Basics (the entry-level patient care provider), Advanced EMTs, and paramedics. EMTs, as well as the paramedics are trained to provide emergency care to accident victims or anyone affected by a life-threatening situation.
The emergency medical technicians have the knowledge and skills to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), open a patient’s airway, administer oxygen, and provide ventilation assistance. In case of accidents, they take the necessary steps to control bleeding. They can also administer glucose to diabetics, and provide assistance during life-threatening allergic reactions. Basically, paramedics and emergency medical technicians are medical personnel who provide initial emergency care for patients till they reach the hospital. The major difference between EMTs and paramedics is that the latter act as providers of advanced care. Paramedics draw a bigger salary, as they are more qualified.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for EMTs and paramedics was USD 31,020 in May 2012. This means that 50% of EMTs and paramedics earned more than USD 31,020, while the remaining 50% earned less than USD 31,020. The lowest 10% earned less than USD 20,180, and the top 10% earned more than USD 53,550. According to BLS, in May 2014, the median annual wage and the mean hourly wage for this occupation was USD 35,110 and USD 16.88, respectively. The lowest 10% earned less than USD 20,690, and the top 10% earned more than USD 54,690.
The top paying industries for the occupation of EMTs and paramedics included:
- State government
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories
- Junior colleges
- Colleges, universities, and professional schools
- Iron and steel mills and ferroalloy manufacturing
The top paying states included:
- District of Columbia
The salary depends on the certification. While the EMTs receive at least 120 to 80 hours of classroom training, the Advanced EMTs generally have 200 to 500 hours of training. The paramedics are trained for 1,000 to 1,800 hours or more. In order to maintain certification, a minimum number of continuing education (CE) hours are required. They might need to attend refresher training programs as required by employers, medical control, licensing or certifying agencies. The median salary for EMTs is USD 32,335.
|District of Columbia||USD 55,500|
|New Hampshire||USD 36,000|
|New Jersey||USD 35,200|
|New Mexico||USD 36,300|
|New York||USD 39,600|
|North Carolina||USD 32,000|
|North Dakota||USD 26,200|
|Rhode Island||USD 39,100|
|South Carolina||USD 31,400|
|South Dakota||USD 28,600|
|West Virginia||USD 26,400|
According to the Occupational Employment and Wages study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry with the highest recruitment was the Ambulatory Health Care Services, which employed 116, 690 EMTs annually, followed by the local government (65,470), general medical and surgical doctors (38,800), other support services (2470), and offices of physicians (1,450). Washington was the highest paying state, with the annual mean wage above USD 57,000. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division was the top paying metropolitan area with the annual mean wage of USD 63,890.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics respond to emergency calls, and provide care to patients (who might be critically ill or injured) in emergency medical settings. They need to provide medical care till the affected person is safely transported to a medical facility. They need to function within the scope of care that has been defined by the state, regional and local regulatory agencies. Their job involves the following:
- Reaching the patient and stabilizing his/her condition before transporting him/her to a medical facility for expert medical care
- Driving the ambulance efficiently and safely to the location and the hospital
- Safely lift and transfer the patient onto a stretcher, and carry the stretcher into the ambulance
- Providing on-the-spot, immediate medical treatment like life support, automatic defibrillator, and exhaustive first aid.
- Opening the airway, ventilating patients, administering CPR, providing medical care in case of trauma, etc.
- Administering painkillers and intravenous medications to patients before transporting them safely to a medical facility
- Recording and reporting vital signs and any background information to the ER doctors
- Securing the surroundings of the accident victims, and if necessary, extracting them from the wreckage with help from firefighters and police
- Cleaning and disinfecting the ambulance, restocking supplies, and replacing used linens, blankets, and other supplies
According to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, individuals applying for the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification must be 18 years of age or older. They should complete a state-approved Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course that meets or exceeds the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards for the Emergency Medical Technician. The course should have been completed within the past two years. The successful completion of the course has to be verified by the Program Director on the NREMT website. All states require EMTs and paramedics to be licensed. The requirements vary from state to state. Thus, the students would have to pass practical and written examinations administered by a state licensing authority or the NREMT. EMTs are required to renew their licenses every 2-3 years through continuing education.
On a concluding note, the job outlook seems to be good for EMTs and paramedics. The basic salary is also compensated well with overtime pay and medical benefits. However, their salary would vary, depending on factors such as location, years of experience, industry, and level of education. Being the advanced providers of emergency medical care, paramedics earn more. However, it is not the salary that drives most people to this profession, the real motivation is the opportunity to help others, and perform well in challenging work conditions.