Paramedics with a patient. Photo by michaeljung

The Emergence of the Professional EMT

For some reason, I’m not quite sure why, but being a EMT has become a starting point to either becoming a Paramedic or to work at the local Fire department or Hospital. No longer is being an EMT good enough or considered stable enough to be a long-term career option for many practitioners in our industry.

Why not?

Well, across the country, the EMT has a starting pay rate that is barely above poverty standards, and in some places it pays LESS then it does to work at McDonalds or Target. That alone is enough to ensure that an EMT proceeds with expanding their skills and licenses in order to affect a pay raise or a better job opportunity, but not to become better at the skills in their choice career.

I recall starting my career in EMS and my starting pay coming in at a paltry $8.67 per hour, and working endless hours for a small or mediocre paycheck. But fortunately for me and my company, I loved what I did MORE then I cared, at that point, about my pay.

But as time went on, pay rose, especially for those that stayed and supported the company. Those folks eventually became an integral part of the team and were considered indispensable to the organization. But all this was achieved over many years and with a total commitment to the job by the EMT

These days, especially out here in California, we are seeing EMTs’ pay rise to dramatic levels, with some approaching a base pay of $20 an hour and with run bonuses of up to $40 per ride.

This is, finally, the silver bullet in the industry: EMT pay that is enough to support a family and thus encourages the EMT to STAY at the company they are working for.

In the end, this leads to less turnover, happy EMTs and employees, and more importantly to the company, less costs for new hire training and education due to super high turnover being eliminated. Basically they are now passing on these saving to the EMTs and employees in the form of higher pay rates.

For once, we are starting to see the emergence of the professional EMT. The EMT that goes to work for a company and stays there for years, expands their certifications and licenses, but not for a higher pay, they do it for the knowledge and higher skills levels that are acquired by that additional training.

In the end, when we have EMTs that stay at their chosen companies for many years, we see better and more quality care for our patients and transfers, while at the same time we see the EMT and their families more capable and able to buy houses, cars and invest in education and retirement for themselves and their children.

Today, we are seeing the emergence of the Professional EMT.

Facebook Comments
Jack Murphy
Jack Murphy is a licensed firefighter, EMT and EMS Instructor in Michigan and California, holds a JD in real estate law and BA in History as well as numerous industry related certifications. These days Jack teaches a Hybrid EMT program at a small College in the Los Angeles area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *