EMTs belong to one of the most popular fields in healthcare. It isn’t rare to come across an EMT saving lives during an emergency and sometimes getting applauded as a hero.
But how much does an EMT make exactly? And what factors affect their salaries? We provide detailed answers to these questions and more in this article.
The resource below should also be helpful for aspiring EMTs who wish to pursue a career in the field or those who still need to make up their minds and would like to get a clearer picture for comparison.
EMT Salary - Overview
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the median salary for an EMT in the United States is $35,470. The same data showed that the top ten percent of earners in the field get a yearly salary of around $47,580.
As we’ll see in the upcoming sections, there are more than a handful of reasons why one EMT may earn higher than another. These factors can also be optimized to pave the way for a higher salary with time and dedication.
EMT Salary by Percentile
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who fall into the bottom ten percent of EMTs in the salary range earn $23,620 annually. At the top of the pyramid, in the top ten percent range, EMTs can look to earn around $47,580.
As for paramedics, the bottom ten percent of earners in that field take home $34,420, the median salary earners take home $46,770, and the top ten percent make $74,200 yearly.
EMT Salary by State
The District of Columbia and Hawaii remain the states with the highest median salary for EMTs. Here, EMTs earn an average of $57,270 and $54,370 yearly, close to the highest pay in other states nationwide.
In Alabama, the median salary is $30,260, while Arkansas and Indiana are slightly higher at $31,800 and $34,040, respectively. California has a median salary of $39,350; Colorado at $42,320; Florida at $35,790; Idaho at $37,960; while Illinois has an EMT median salary of $41,940.
Increasing your Salary as an EMT
As mentioned earlier, several factors can affect how much salary you earn as an EMT.
Understanding and optimizing these factors can help you go from a bottom ten percent or median earner to a top 10 percent earner. Among these factors are:
Not all EMTs work in ambulances patrolling urban cities. Some EMTs work in local government, fire departments, and so on. EMTs working in hospitals took home $36,650 in 2018, those working in local governments took home $36,450, while those in ambulance services earned $31,590 on average.
As we saw earlier, EMT salaries are different across the states. For example, moving from Florida to California or the District of Columbia can significantly increase an EMT’s salary.
Of course, only some have the luxury to pack up and move, but this could be an alternative worth pursuing for those who can afford to.
EMTs can choose to enroll in advanced EMT programs. Doing this enables them to perform lifesaving interventions they wouldn’t have been able to serve as a basic EMT. It also entitles them to a higher salary.
Going further, becoming a certified paramedic and earning more is also possible.
Basic EMTs earn as much as $35,470 yearly, while paramedics earn as much as $46,770 on average.
Another critical factor that determines how much an EMT earns is experience. This isn’t a surprise, as knowledge tends to be a massive factor in almost any field across any industry. Agencies and medical establishments will pay more for EMTs with more job experience.
Another point worth noting is that establishments are more willing to take on less experienced EMTs, while some prefer to go for the more experienced ones.
Ambulance services are examples of institutions known to give less experienced EMTs a chance. Of course, their salaries are also among the lowest in the industry.
EMTs are also able to increase their salaries by working extra gigs. Thanks to their experience in lifesaving interventions, an EMT’s skill is a precious one that is in significant demand, and finding additional side jobs to supplement income is usually very possible.
Examples of side gigs are to work as a travel paramedic or emergency room paramedic. Those who work these extra fields earn as much as $59,115 to $101,998 in yearly income.
Another strategy is to take on overtime shifts. EMTs have been known to earn almost double their salary this way.
EMT Career Outlook
The Emergency Medical Technician field has an impressive growth outlook. The area is expected to grow 7 percent in the next ten years. This projection is on par with the national average for other occupations in the country.
The figure also equates to about 20,000 openings yearly for EMTs and paramedics. We look below at some reasons why this projection is so favorable and what that means for aspiring EMTs and paramedics.
Reasons for Outlook Projection
As EMTs transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force completely, more openings emerge for new workers who wish to take their place. More importantly, though, the growth projection for EMTs is what it is because emergencies will always occur.
And as they occur, they will always require the expertise of people capable of providing immediate first care.
The growing middle-aged and older population is another factor responsible for this projection. As this demographic increases, age-related emergencies will also continue to arise. In this case, EMTs will be required to provide care for these conditions, which may include but are not limited to strokes, heart attacks, and common falls.