What's the Job Outlook for Emergency Medical Technicians?

Emergency medical technicians (EMT) are the first ones on the scene when a medical crisis occurs. EMT employment is expected to grow at a rapid rate in the coming years. Read on to learn more about the job outlook and salaries for this field. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the majority of the 257,210 EMTs and paramedics employed in 2018 worked for ambulance services, government or hospitals (www.bls.gov). Jobs for these professionals are projected to increase 15% over the 2016-2026 period, which is much faster than the average rate.

As baby boomers age, the need for greater medical attention should lead to an increase in emergency medical services. In addition, there will be a continuing need for these professionals to handle injuries, such as those from natural disasters and car wrecks. The stressful nature of working under dangerous and adverse conditions may also create more EMT positions due to high employee turnover rates.

You may be employed by a hospital that uses EMTs as triage professionals to reduce the wait times in emergency rooms. When patients are transferred between facilities, you may be hired by private ambulance or medical transport companies to accompany them. If you live in a larger metropolitan area, you can expect to respond to more calls related to crime and traffic accidents.

Important Facts About Emergency Medical Technicians

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Key Skills Physical strength and endurance, empathy, excellent decision making, quick reactions, problem solving, clear verbal communication, close listening
Work Environment Typically full-time in indoor and outdoor settings, regardless of weather conditions
Similar Occupations Firefighters, physicians assistants, registered nurses, police officers, detectives

Ways to Increase Your Job Prospects

According to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), your employability and salary options may be enhanced by taking courses that prepare you to provide advanced assessment and more effective communication during crises (www.naempt.org). The NAEMT offers several continuing education programs that provide specialized training for EMTs. They include:

  • EMS Safety
  • Advanced Medical Life Support (AMLS)
  • Emergency Pediatric Care (EPC)
  • Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)

Certification Levels

According to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), there are several levels of EMT certification, including first responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and paramedic (www.nremt.org). Each subsequent level requires additional educational training through a state-approved program, as well as successful completion of an NREMT exam. Every state also has its own licensing guidelines, which requires you to receive CPR certification and have a clean criminal record.

Salary Information

If you work as a paramedic, you can generally expect to earn higher wages than other types of EMTs. PayScale.com reported that most EMT-Basics earned annual pay of $22,000-$50,000, as of June 2019, while most EMT-Intermediates had a slightly higher wage range of $29,000-$53,000. The majority of paramedics earned between $31,000 and $70,000 per year.

In May 2018, the BLS reported that EMTs and paramedics working for other ambulatory health care services average $34,750 annually, while those working for local governments averaged a higher wage of $41,750. Those working for general medical and surgical hospitals earned an average wage of $38,710.

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