Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for paramedics in the United States was $35,400 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,490 per year, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $59,860 per year.
The local government was the top paying industry for paramedics, with a median annual salary of $37,570. This was followed by hospitals ($37,570) and ambulance services ($32,730).
Autonomy and Flexibility
Paramedics work in teams and are often supervised. They will be told, by dispatchers, what emergencies to respond to and in what time frame. Based on this, autonomy may at times feel low. However, once on the scene of the emergency, paramedics have the unique skills to make on-the-spot decisions about the medical care needed. In these situations, paramedics are responsible and in control of every decision they make, which offers a huge sense of autonomy.
Flexibility is low. Paramedics will work shifts and will have little choice over which shifts they work. The days and schedule of a paramedic are unpredictable, and thus there is little flexibility in a paramedics daily schedule.
Locations and commute
According to Zippa, the best states to be a paramedic, which is where the annual pay is the highest and the number of job opportunities are the highest, are:
- Iowa, where the average annual salary is $62,844
- Kansas, where the average annual salary is $62,448
- Indiana, where the average annual salary is $49,492
- New Mexico, where the average annual salary is $48,458
- Illinois, where the average annual salary is $64,362
The worst states, according to Zippia, are New Hampshire, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Vermont.
46% of paramedics work for the ambulance services, 28% work for the local government (excluding education and hospitals) and 19% work for hospitals (state local and private). Most paramedics work shifts and their hours equate to full time work, however overtime is common.
Paramedics will work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather. Their work is physically strenuous and can be stressful, sometimes involving life-or-death situations.
EMTs and paramedics have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. They are required to do considerable kneeling, bending, and lifting while caring for and moving patients. They may be exposed to contagious diseases and viruses, such as hepatitis B and HIV. Sometimes they can be injured by combative patients. These risks can be reduced by following proper safety procedures, such as waiting for police to clear an area in violent situations or wearing gloves while working with a patient.