Working as a paramedic is a rewarding career path for many. Though the job is often about more than just the money, it is possible for paramedics to earn a living. The median annual wage for paramedics is $46,770, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Keep reading for insights into a paramedic’s salary.
What Is a Paramedic?
A paramedic provides emergency medical services to individuals when they’re injured or sick. They may also be responsible for transporting people to the hospital, where they can receive further medical treatment. Because medical emergencies can happen any time of day, paramedics often work nights, holidays, and weekends. Many work 40 hours a week, if not more.
To become a paramedic, you usually must meet certain postsecondary educational requirements, which can vary by state.
How Much Is a Paramedic’s Starting Salary?
How much does a paramedic make a year? While the median annual salary for paramedics is $46,770, entry-level salaries may be lower. As with most jobs, a paramedic’s pay rate should become more competitive as they progress in their career.
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What Is the Average Salary for a Paramedic?
If you’re considering going into emergency medical services — and thinking about the long shifts that are often involved — you may be wondering how much a paramedic makes an hour.
According to BLS data, paramedics earn a median hourly rate of $17.76. But how much they actually earn depends on how many hours they work, how experienced they are, and where they live.
In fact, salaries can differ greatly by state. For example, the annual mean wage of a paramedic in California is $71,470. In Alabama, it’s $37,820.
It’s understandable that some paramedics earn more based on where they live, as the cost of living can vary a lot by state. At the very least, paramedics can expect to earn the minimum wage.
The following table breaks down the mean annual wage for paramedics by state.
Median Paramedic Salary by State for 2022
|State||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||$64,260|
Paramedic Benefits & Job Considerations
Alongside earning a paycheck, paramedics may also receive valuable benefits such as:
• Healthcare, dental, and vision insurance
• Paid time off
• Sick leave
Pros and Cons of a Paramedic Salary
If someone is debating whether or not to pursue a career path as a paramedic, they’ll want to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of the job.
• Potential career growth. It is anticipated paramedic jobs will grow by 7 percent by 2031, and there will be around 20,000 new openings for paramedics and EMTs every year over the next decade.
• Fulfillment. Helping people for a living and saving lives can be very fulfilling ways to spend a career.
• Physically demanding. Working as a paramedic can require a lot of lifting, bending, and kneeling, which can take a physical toll.
• Dangerous. Working with the sick can expose you to diseases and viruses and potentially increase your risk of injuries.
• Hectic work schedule. Not only are paramedics expected to work odd hours, their time on the job can be very busy and stressful, with life-or-death stakes. Shifts can also be long and last up to 24 hours. This may also not be a great job for introverts, as working as a paramedic requires interacting a lot with patients and teammates.
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Pursuing a career as a paramedic requires a secondary education, a lot of hard work, and the ability to work odd hours. The role can be very stressful, as the stakes are quite high when delivering emergency medical services. However, with a median annual salary of $46,770, working as a paramedic can also be a reliable and rewarding way to earn a living. What’s more, you may find that as your career progresses, your earning potential will grow as well.
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What are the highest-paid paramedics?
Exactly how much money does a paramedic make? That depends on how much experience the paramedic has, among other factors. The highest 10 percent of top-earning paramedics earn more than $47,580.
Can a paramedic make six figures?
It is unlikely a paramedic will earn a salary of $100,000 or more, but is not impossible. Typically, the highest-paid paramedics work in general medical and surgical hospitals, and they earn a median annual salary of $47,000.
What is the lowest-paid paramedic?
On the low end, paramedics can earn less than $23,620. However, they can expect their salary to rise as they gain years of working experience.
Photo credit: iStock/sturti
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