Before we discuss the EMT salary and whether the current compensation rate is fair for someone working in the emergency medical services industry, let’s discuss what an EMT is and his role in society.
An EMT or emergency medical technician is known by different names. Some call all EMT personnel paramedics because there is no observable distinction between a basic EMT and a senior paramedic on first glance. But there are distinctions when it comes to what kind of procedures EMTs can perform. A basic EMT will not be able to perform more complex procedures, but he can at least administer CPR and assess a patient’s condition on site or on the way to the nearest hospital’s emergency room.
All paramedics start as EMT Basic. Your role as a basic emergency medical technician, and eventually a paramedic, entails rescuing citizens who are in emergency medical situations. This role does not change no matter how far you rise in the ranks. Paramedics analyze the patient by checking his vital stats and decide on the next course of action.
The patient’s condition should be evaluated a few minutes after the EMT has looked at him. After caring for the patient the best they can, EMT Basics and the EMT Paramedic transport the person to the nearest hospital for further treatment. In some cases, the EMTs are charged with the task of persuading the patient or the family members to seek further medical help because EMTs can only do first aid and cannot administer full treatment.
Some people think that providing emergency care under extreme conditions with a precision worthy of a post as a surgeon in a big hospital means getting the best pay in the industry. But reality tells us that this is hardly true. Paramedics and the EMTs hoping to become paramedics get less than twenty dollars per hour. In fact, the hourly rate range is 10-15 dollars an hour, with the highest pay awarded to those in the highest ranks. But this rate could change depending on location. Bustling cities will often give higher pay to the EMTs in the area because of the potential for overtime work and the number of people who need emergency care on a daily basis.
The median annual salary for a paramedic in the United States is a little over thirty thousand dollars. A paramedic is bound to get more if he works the graveyard shift (from 10 pm to 6 am) and when he does overtime. Seniority also calls for better pay, with the people who have worked longer getting more pay than the EMTs who are new to the job.
Most EMTs claim that the pay is secondary to the gratification they feel when they save a life. This emotional gratification is perhaps the main reason why so many people still want to continue on as EMTs.