Working as an emergency medical technician/driver can be physically demanding, extremely stressful and involve making life-or-death decisions in an instant, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although EMTs don't require a degree, they have to undergo a fair amount of training as they progress in their careers. Despite the challenging nature of the work and the training required to do the job, EMTs are typically paid less than the average American.
As of May 2012, EMTs and paramedics were paid a mean annual salary of $34,370, more than $11,000 dollars less than the national average wage, which stood at $45,790 at the time, according to data from the BLS. On an hourly basis, they earned a mean rate of $16.53 at this time, which compared rather poorly to the $22.01 mean hourly pay recorded across all occupations.
Quite a disparity was apparent between the pay of top- and bottom-earning EMTs and paramedics in May 2012. The highest-paid 10 percent of workers in the profession made upward of $53,550 at this time, while the poorest-paid 10 percent had to get by on $20,180 a year, which equated to an hourly rate of $9.70. The median average annual pay packet of EMTs and paramedics stood at $31,020 in May 2012, according to BLS data.
The best-paid EMTs and paramedics worked in heavy and civil engineering construction in May 2012, BLS data shows. They took home $54,180 at this time, some $20,000 more than the mean average. Jobs in waste treatment and disposal and working for state government were the next best-paying sectors for EMTs and paramedics, paying $50,180 and $48,120 respectively. At the other end of the scale, EMTs and paramedics working in transit and ground passenger transportation were typically paid $29,290 in May 2012.
EMTs and paramedics plying their trade in the District of Columbia earned a mean annual wage of $52,930 in May 2012, making them the best-paid in the profession by area at this time. The next highest-paid workers in the job by location were employed in Alaska and Washington, earning $51,570 and $50,980 respectively. EMTs and paramedics in Kentucky were typically paid $29,790 in May 2012, according to the BLS.
2016 Salary Information for EMTs and Paramedics
Emts and paramedics earned a median annual salary of $32,670 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, emts and paramedics earned a 25th percentile salary of $25,850, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $42,710, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 248,000 people were employed in the U.S. as emts and paramedics.