What Are Popular Career Options for a Paramedic?

Paramedics provide life support and other pre-hospital emergency medical care to the sick and injured. Career options for paramedics include working for an emergency medical services agency, a private ambulance service, or a flight paramedic service. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Definition of Paramedics

Career options for paramedics can vary depending on education and experience. There are possibilities in multiple areas based on interest, and these options require various types of specialized training and industry specific duties.

Important Facts About Paramedics

Required Education Postsecondary non-degree award
Work Environment In-field emergency operations, hospitals
Similar Occupations Firefighter, air traffic controller, police officer
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% (for all EMTs and paramedics)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Private Ambulance Company Paramedics

Approximately 40% of paramedics and other emergency medical technicians (EMTs) work for private ambulance services, according to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), as of May 2018. These paramedics usually work in non-emergency situations. They are often called to transport patients from the hospital to a nursing home or from one private medical facility to another. These paramedics typically work 45-50 hours per week; the BLS indicated in May 2018 that the mean (average) annual salary earned by EMTs and paramedics in the private transportation field was $34,750.

Local Government Paramedics

Almost 1.3% of paramedics work for local government fire and rescue companies, per May 2018 statistics published by the BLS. These are the paramedics who respond to 911 emergency calls. These paramedics work about 50 hours a week and are on call for extended periods of time. Paramedics working for public emergency medical services often get benefits similar to those of firefighters and police officers, which may include a pension and disability program. The benefits and pay make these jobs very competitive. The mean annual salary earned by paramedics and EMTs employed by a local government service was reported as $41,750 by the BLS in May 2018.

Hospital Paramedics

Paramedics who work in hospitals make up about .85% of the paramedic workforce, per the BLS. These paramedics respond to ambulance calls in hospital-owned ambulances and transport patients via helicopter to and from the hospital. Paramedics who work directly in the hospital emergency department are sometimes called emergency department technicians. Technician jobs include assisting with triage, taking vital signs, applying dressings, restraining patients, starting intravenous drips, inserting catheters, and providing patient education, according to the Minnesota Ambulance Association. A hospital paramedic or EMT worker in the U.S. takes home a mean annual wage of $38,710, as of May 2018, according to the BLS.

Private Emergency Services Providers

The final category of employers offering paramedic job opportunities is that of private emergency services. Private paramedic services include flight paramedics trained to provide medical travel assistance and on-site paramedics who support large events such as concerts, conventions, and trade shows. Salaries may vary by location, specific job duties, frequency of work, and employer.

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