How Much Do EMT Basics Make?

If you’re busy training for an EMT exam or working through our in-depth test prep resources, you may be interested in your earning potential as a qualified EMT and how much you are likely to earn as you gain practical on-the-job experience.

Can you make a decent living as an EMT? You certainly can–although your salary may depend on the service or organization you work for, your seniority, and the amount of time you have spent working in real-world emergency medicine scenarios.

The average hourly rate for an EMT Basic in the US is $19.19. However, that can extend to over $25 an hour in some areas where trained responders are in high demand. AEMTs with advanced EMT qualifications also command higher salaries, with top paramedics earning up to six figures.

Factors That Influence Your Earnings as an EMT

As we’ve mentioned, the average pay rates will fluctuate depending on several variables, such as:

  • Your experience
  • The state, city, or region you work in
  • Your qualifications and licenses

Newly qualified EMTs earn from $25,000 to $60,000 on average, intermediate emergency responders normally make between $30,000 and $81,000, and Paramedics can earn from $76,000 and above, as rough indications. It is also possible to achieve specialist certifications in areas of treatment or emergency care, which attract higher pay rates, particularly in regions where callouts are commonly relevant to your skills.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median salaries earned by any professional working in an emergency medical service are highest in Hawaii, Maryland, and Alaska–predominantly because of shortages in skilled medical care. Healthcare departments such as ambulatory care services and diagnostic and medical research organizations also pay the highest rates.

Is a Career in Emergency Medicine a Stable Option?

One of the biggest advantages of becoming a qualified EMT is that your earnings will increase as you become more experienced and bring greater knowledge to the job. This occurs as you attend more emergency callouts and deliver interventions in diverse scenarios and settings.

The BLS reports that the need for qualified EMTs and Paramedics is expected to increase by 7% nationwide in the next eight years, with excellent career prospects in cities and metropolitan areas, alongside those with aging populations needing more frequent emergency medical callouts.

However, the world of emergency medicine is also varied, and EMTs can work part-time or in voluntary roles or rural settings with less pressure and fewer callouts.

What is the hardest thing about being an EMT? Much depends on your personality, but the pressure of needing to make life-saving decisions in a split second and being on call during working shifts can be challenging. Of course, this is balanced by the meaningful nature of the role and generous time off between shifts to ensure you have the necessary rest to deliver high-quality care.

Which EMT Training Level Attracts the Highest Pay?

EMTs can achieve three different levels of qualification:

  • EMT
  • Advanced EMT
  • Paramedic

Those with the baseline qualification tend to deliver emergency interventions in response to cardiac arrests, respiratory conditions, and traumas, with intermediate colleagues trained in additional interventions and areas of medical response. Paramedics are the most qualified emergency responders and can administer medication through different delivery systems, such as intravenously, and interpret patient ecg readings and metrics to make key care decisions.

All recognized EMTs must hold a professional certification granted by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), alongside mandatory licensing, depending on the rules and regulations within their state. To increase your earning potential, you can study as an EMT and then progress to a more advanced qualification or work towards becoming a fully licensed paramedic!

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