EMT Salary

EMT SalaryEMT stands for Emergency Medical Technician.  They are front line professionals that help injured or sick people in emergency situations.  People’s lives often depend on their expedience and capabilities.  They often work with police officers or firefighters at the scenes of emergencies.  Want to know how much EMTs make?  We will go over EMT salary in this article.

EMT Salary

What is the salary of an EMT?  Currently, the annual average salary for EMTs is $35,110 and the monthly average salary is $2925.  The top 10% of individuals in the occupation are earning around $54,690 while the starting wage can be as low as $20,690. The top paying states are Washington, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois and Alaska.

Most paid EMTs work full time.  Nearly one third of all EMTs work more than 40 hours per week because they have to be available to respond to emergencies.  They also may need to work overnight or on weekends because emergencies occur around the clock.  EMT shifts typically are 12 or 24 hour shifts with time off in between.  Depending on the level of education, industry, and company size pay can vary.  Additionally, many belong to a union.

EMT Responsibilities

EMTs are responsible for caring for patients in emergency settings.  People’s lives depend on their competency.  They respond to emergency calls and perform medical services or transport patients to hospitals.  911 operators send EMTs to the scenes of emergencies.  Some of their main duties include, responding 911 calls for emergency medical assistance, assess patient’s condition and determine treatment, follow guidelines from training or physicians, use backboards or restraints to keep patients safe during transport, transfer patients to emergency department of hospitals and report observations to staff, create patient care reports, replace supplies, and clean equipment after use.

Because they work in pairs one EMT drives the ambulance while the other cares for the patient in the back.  Some work as part of a helicopter flight crew to transport the critically injured to hospitals.  All EMTs are trained in transporting patients to hospitals and from health care facility to health care facility.  If a patient has a contagious disease EMTs will need to decontaminate the ambulance.

Overall, duties can vary depending on whether they are n EMT-Basic, Advanced EMT, or paramedic.  It can also vary based on the state they work in.  The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) provides national certification of EMTs and paramedics.  However, some states have their own certification programs that use different titles..

Work Environment

EMTs work indoors, outdoors, and in all types of weather.  Their work is strenuous and can be stressful due to possible life or death situations.  Most paid EMTs work in metropolitan areas with the three top employing industries being ambulance services, government, and hospitals.

EMTs have a high rate of injury and illness.  They are often required to do lots of kneeling, bending, lifting, etc. while caring for patients.  They can be exposed to infectious diseases such as AIDS.  Sometimes patients can even hurt EMTs if they are mentally unstable or combative.  The risk of injury can be reduced by following proper safety procedures.

Most EMTs work full time with nearly a third working more than 40 hours per week due to weekend and overnight emergencies.  Shifts are either 12 or 24 hours long with substantial breaks in between.

How to become an EMT

EMTs have to complete postsecondary educational programs with all states requiring them to be licensed.  A high school diploma and CPR certifications are prerequisites for post secondary education in emergency medical technology.  Most programs can be completed in less than 1 year with most only taking 1-3 months depending on whether you are a part or full time student.  EMT schooling can cost $800-$1000.  These programs are most often offered at technical institutes or at community colleges.

EMT coursework includes instruction in assessing patients’ conditions, dealing with trauma, handling cardiac emergencies, clearing obstructed airways, using field equipment, etc.  Formal courses take about 150 hours of instruction with some of that time being spent in a hospital or ambulance setting.  They also need a minimum of 8 hours of instruction before driving an ambulance.

If you want to be at the Advanced EMT level then you will need to complete 300 hours of instruction.  Advanced EMTs are trained in both the regular EMT level as well as the advanced courses which include using complex airway devices, intravenous fluids, and some medications.

All EMTs are required to be certified in every state.  The NREMT provides a $70 exam that nearly all EMTs must pass.  This test has both a practical and written portion.  Although all states require licensure requirements can vary by state.  In most states the minimum qualifications for an EMT license are being over the age of 18, passing a background check, and competing requisite training.

Career Outlook

By 2022 employment opportunities for EMTs is projected to grow 23% which is much faster than the average for all occupations.  Car crashes, natural disasters, or acts of violence will continue to demand EMTs.  Demand for part time, volunteer, and those in rural areas will continue to be on the rise.

Due to an aging baby boomer population EMTs will be in very high demand.  People are living longer and therefore there will be a continuing increase in medical emergencies such as heart attacks.  The aging population will also require more medical facilities which will need EMTs to transfer patients to other facilities for treatment.  EMTs will always be in demand as people will always be getting injured and natural disasters are unavoidable.

Related Careers

Physician Assistants practice medicine on a team under the supervision of physicians and surgeons.  They are formally educated to treat patients, but they are not doctors.  They generally work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, etc.  PAs also work full time.  They have to complete an accredited program in order to be licensed.  Average annual pay is $90,930.

Registered Nurses provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients/the public about health conditions and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their families.  They usually work in physician offices, home healthcare services, or nursing facilities.  All have to be licensed but can take one of three paths to the career: bachelor’s degree in nursing, associate’s degree in nursing, or diploma from an accredited nursing program. Average annual pay is $65,470.

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