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

When examining an EMT vs. paramedic salary, one must consider factors like skill level, education, and work experience. Here we discuss the differences in salary, education, and job duties for the two careers.

EMT vs. Paramedic Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics was $37,760 in 2018. However, this statistic groups the two professions together when there are some differences in individual salaries when you compare the two careers separately. In general, paramedics tend to make slightly more than EMTs. Here we break down each profession and examine their salaries in more detail.

How Much Do EMTs Get Paid?

Once students become EMT-certified, their salaries tend to increase by experience and skill level. For example, you can compare how much EMT basics make at a median of $31,878 per year to that of an EMT intermediate at a median of $35,791 per year, according to Payscale.com in July 2019. There are also advanced EMTs, who made a median of $36,527 for the same year, per Payscale.com.

EMT salary may also vary slightly based on formal education. Although EMT training can begin early, including Junior EMT programs for children, most EMTs need a high school diploma and a postsecondary education credential in emergency medical technology. An EMT associate's degree salary was a median of $45,000 per year in 2019, according to Payscale.com, which is higher than the other EMT salaries.

How Much Do Paramedics Get Paid?

Payscale.com reported that in July 2019, the median salary for paramedics was $46,823. This equated to an hourly rate of $17.49, which was expected to increase with work experience. For example, paramedics with 20 years or more of work experience had a median hourly rate of $20.04, as of 2019.

Another website, Salary.com, also noted that paramedics' median salary varied slightly by education. Paramedics typically need an associate's degree, but may also pursue a bachelor's degree. In 2019, Salary.com reported that the median associate degree paramedic salary would typically fall in the range of $40,553 to $43,146. The median paramedic bachelor degree salary would likely fall in the range of $40,943 to $43,590 for the same year.

EMT vs. Paramedic Education

As mentioned, EMTs generally only need to earn a high school diploma and complete an EMT training program, while paramedics typically earn at least an associate's degree. Paramedics must also have their EMT certification before entering a paramedic program.

All EMTs and paramedics must be licensed. Typically, EMTs and paramedics must earn state licensure by obtaining certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. This requires them to pass written and hands-on exams.

EMT vs. Paramedic Job Duties

The biggest difference between EMTs and paramedics, besides their required level of education, is that paramedics tend to do more advanced medical procedures due to their advanced studies and skills. In general, EMTs do not perform any procedures or techniques with needles. On the other hand, paramedics may perform advanced procedures like starting intravenous lines, giving medication, and resuscitating patients. Some job duties that each position may share include:

  • Evaluating patients
  • Responding to 911 alerts
  • Cleaning and replacing equipment
  • Transporting patients
  • Giving patient information to doctors or other healthcare professionals
  • Administering first-aid