Paramedics are the front-line response personnel who deal with medical emergencies. Responding to 911 calls, paramedics treat minor illness, injuries and casualties arising from criminal violence, transport accidents or fire. They provide immediate medical attention, which may involve resuscitation, administering drips and medications, applying splints and dressing wounds. They then transfer patients to hospitals and other medical facilities for further treatment as required. Monthly salary levels for the occupation vary according to factors such as location and employer type.
In May 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics carried out its latest survey of employment in the United States. In doing so, it gathered wage data from 217,920 individuals working as paramedics and their close colleagues -- emergency medical technicians -- and concluded that the average annual salary for the profession was $33,020. Therefore, the average monthly income is $2,752, which equates to an hourly pay rate of $15.88.
Salary by Industry
The bureau detailed how salary levels for paramedics vary depending upon which sector of the health-care industry they work in. Calculated from the annual figures published by the bureau, paramedics working in ambulatory health services earned an average of $2,509 a month. Those employed by local government agencies earned an average of $3,065, while those working in general medical and surgical hospitals received $2,783. At state government levels, the average wage was $4,130, while paramedics working in outpatient care centers earned $2,712 per month.
Salary by Location
The location in which a paramedic practices her vocation will influence the salary she achieves. Wage comparison website SalaryExpert.com surveyed salaries in some major cities and, from their annual figures, indicated that Chicago, Illinois, and New York, New York State, offered the highest monthly averages -- $5,695 and $5,323, respectively. In contrast, Miami, Florida, had an average of $3,301. The bureau’s figures show that Hawaii and Alaska are the states in which, across all industry areas, a paramedic is likely to secure the highest monthly salary, averaging $3,948 and $3,886, respectively. West Virginia offered an average of just $1,988.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the national growth rate for employment across all professions will be 7 to 13 percent for the decade 2008 to 2018. It expects the rate for paramedics to be in line with these figures, at approximately 9 percent for the same period. An expanding, aging population will see the health-care industry as a whole grow to meet demand, with the effect of creating more employment opportunities for emergency response personnel. As a result, wage levels should remain competitive in the immediate future.