What Is the Salary of a Paramedic Vs. an EMT?

Are you thinking about becoming a paramedic or an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), but can't decide which path to choose? You might want to compare the average salaries for these fields. In general, paramedics earn higher wages than EMTs, but must receive more training. Read on to learn more about the specific salaries of paramedics and EMTs. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there are three levels of emergency medical technicians (EMTs): EMT - Basic, EMT - Intermediate, and Paramedic. Training in the EMT field compounds; individuals must be certified as an EMT - Basic before they are able to earn intermediate or paramedic certification. All types of EMTs and paramedics serve their communities by responding quickly to health emergencies and providing care in transport to medical facilities.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% (for all EMTs and paramedics)
Key Skills Quick thinking, excellent communication skills (both speaking and listening), compassion, and physical strength
Work Environment Both inside and outside; most work for ambulance services, the government, and hospitals
Similar Occupations Firefighter, air traffic controller, physician assistant, registered nurse

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Overview

Typically, because they are required to complete more training and have been certified previously as EMTs, paramedics generally earn more money annually than EMTs do. Salaries can vary depending on the location of the worker, his or her experience in the field, and any additional medically related training or job experience he or she may have. The BLS reported in May 2018 that the median annual salary earned by all types of EMTs and paramedics nationwide was $34,320. Detailed information about potential salaries for each job title can be found below.

EMT Salaries

An EMT can be certified at several different levels, and each level usually offers a higher average salary. If you're interested in certification as an EMT-Basic, PayScale.com reported that most EMT-Basics made between $19,860-$51,246 yearly as of May 2019. EMT-Intermediate salary estimates were slightly higher, with most workers earning between $26,531-$55,000 per year, according to the same site in June. Although Salary.com does not differentiate between the two levels of certification, the website did publish the median annual salary earned by all EMTs as $35,900, as of 2019.

Paramedic Salaries

Salary.com reported a median annual salary of $42,541 for paramedics as of 2019. According to PayScale.com in May 2019, the majority of paramedics (from the 10th to the 90th percentiles) earned between $30,882 and $69,361 a year. PayScale.com data shows that individuals with less than five years of experience earned between $29,054 and $58,866 annually as of May 2019, while those with 10 to 20 years of experience earned salaries ranging from $35,088 and $71,592, as of June 2019.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can enter most EMT and paramedic training programs with only a high school diploma (www.bls.gov). After you finish your training, which in the case of paramedics might include completing an associate's degree, you'll need to become licensed. Some states have their own programs, while others require certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Several levels of certification are offered by the NREMT, and although the requirements vary for each level, you'll usually need proof of training, a CPR credential, and the ability to pass cognitive and psychomotor exams.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools