Sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting into when choosing a career. You see a little bit about it on TV, and it looks exciting. But fact is different than fiction. Some fun facts about emergency medical technicians could help you decide whether this is the job for you.
For an entry-level position, you must complete 120 hours of training to work in the field. The primary focus of your training is on trauma, cardiac emergencies and respiratory management, and qualifies you for in-field treatment and transport. EMT intermediates must complete 300 to 400 additional hours of training, where you’ll learn assessment techniques and how to operate advanced airway devices. An additional 2,000 training hours are required to move onto the most advanced position, EMT-paramedic.
According to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, men make up roughly 70 percent of the occupation. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services place the ratio at 65 percent male and 35 percent female.
Though emergency medical services is thought to be a career, roughly 50 percent of EMT-Bs are volunteers, according to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Paramedics, on the other hand, are almost always paid for their time, with 95 percent of the workforce earning a paycheck.
Employment for EMTs and paramedics is expected to grow by 33 percent through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the average for all U.S. occupations, a projected 14 percent. Most opportunities are likely in rural and small towns, with the majority of EMS personnel working in these areas, making up just over 54 percent of the occupation.
As of 2011, half of all EMTs and paramedics earned at least $30,710 a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The top 10 percent of earners made much more than this, earning in excess of $53,050 annually. But location has a direct effect on earning potential. On average, EMTs and paramedics in the District of Columbia earn the most in the country, making $50,140 a year -- close to that of the top 10 percent of earners. In West Virginia, the average salary was $25,440 a year.
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.
- National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians: EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Fast Facts
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Cultural Competency in Disaster Response – A Review of Current Concepts, Policies and Practices
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – EMTs and Paramedics
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: EMTs and Paramedics
- Career Trend: EMTs and Paramedics
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.