Lonely EMT Walking to an Ambulance. Photo by chalabala

So Many Opportunities… So Few People…

Over the past few years, as I have taught EMT and other EMS related skills, I have reached out to Ambulance, hospital and other providers, in an effort to get them to come out to my classes and talk to my students about career opportunities available.

Lately, as of the past 6-8 months, there has become a great need in Los Angeles and surrounding counties for EMT-B practitioners to work on Ambulances and in the ER of local hospitals.

This demand for skilled, available and competent EMT’S has never been so great as it is today. And with the general rule of supply and demand in effect, where as supply is low while demand increases, the pay scales must adapt and continue to rise.

Today we have this great demand for EMT’S while at the same time, the number of schools in the area are diminishing due to low enrollment or due to their failure to achieve appropriate passing scores for the graduating classes. Thus we have another reason for rise in pay rates. Less qualified students.

Recently I had a local Ambulance Company and their representative come out and speak to my current and former students about career opportunities that they have available and need filled immediately with them.

This particular company offers the ‘whole enchilada” of opportunities; from pure 911 calls to critical care ambulance work and basic transport all the way to side-by-side work with individual city fire/rescue, and on the city fire/rescue rigs too. All of this for a starting pay for a brand new EMT’S of $13 an hour plus a $1500 signing bonus and with paid time off equal to 6 weeks per year. All of this for a brand new EMT with zero experience.

If you take into account double-time for hours over 12 per shift worked, up to a max of 16 hours of work per day, the average daily pay could be as high as $260.00 in pay, per day and with paid time off hours earned each pay period up to 240 hours per year.

These are amazing numbers for an industry that just a few short years ago was struggling to pay its EMS personnel almost $10 a hour, while competing with McDonalds on the pay scale, sadly.

Now keep in mind, pay in EMS is predicated on where you live. If you life in northern Minnesota, well, the pay is consumet with the demand THERE, as opposed to living in Los Angeles, were we have 87 different ambulance companies alone, not to mention all their other EMS related work fields available that take EMT’S away from the generic businesses, like ambulance work.

I discuss this often with my wife, how the average EMT, brand new to the business, can make about $40K a year with a little overtime and 3 or 4 days off per week. We marvel that more people who are in need of jobs or a change in career do not jump into this field. Why my classes are not overflowing with 30, 40, 50 year olds who want to finally get into this gig, and now that the money is good, they can afford to.

I read about people who can’t find jobs. They lost their job and have no hope. Well, if you want to be a hero, if you want to make a difference in peoples lives, especially your own, I urge you to take the leap, enroll in an EMT class and get into this business now.

There are jobs folks. You just have to look for them and get the training necessary to work in this field. Its not super easy, but its not super hard.

It’s never too late to make a difference as well as change your career.



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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.