Paramedic Job Market Trends

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for a paramedic job is described as good, with fewer volunteers in the field, which makes room for more paid paramedics, and with a need for highly trained and certified paramedics.

Paramedic Shortages

In addition to other emergency services personnel, several cities, such as Las Vegas and Milwaukee, and states, such as California, have reported shortages of paramedics. Some policy makers have suggested recruiting veterans to address some of these shortages, which indicates that this is an excellent career choice for members of the military that are exploring civilian career opportunities. Other countries, such as Canada and Australia, also describe shortages of paramedics, usually in rural areas, though some large cities have also claimed shortages, so this occupation could also offer opportunities to travel and work abroad. Rural and remote areas also look for paramedics to offer services to their communities and in the back country, so there are careers for paramedics outside of major urban settings.

Rural Paramedics

Due to the influence of television, most people think that paramedics are only employed in large urban settings. This is not the case. Paramedics that work in rural communities are essential to primary care in their community. The National Park Service hires paramedics seasonally to work in many of the national parks. Paramedics also work alongside, or become, firefighters to combat wilderness fires. Paramedics with experience flying helicopters or with back country experience can also work as part of search and rescue teams. For a person who would like to work outside of the city and enjoy an off-work life that includes hiking, climbing or living in a rural community, there is a real need for paramedics in these areas.

Salary

According to Salary.com, the median salary of paramedics in the US is $38,932 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the top paying states for paramedics as Hawaii, Alaska, the District of Colombia, Oregon and Maryland. The top paying cities include Tacoma, Honolulu and San Francisco. Wages can vary drastically within this profession with paramedics in Johnstown, Pennsylvania earning $9.89/hour and paramedics in Tacoma, Washington earning $32.99/hour. It pays to research the salaries of paramedics in the region before deciding to remain or relocate to that area. A paramedic may need to invest in additional education to improve their salary.

Education

According to College Navigator, there are over five hundred programs in the United States that offer training to become a paramedic or an emergency medical technician (EMT). There are usually 3 levels for EMTs: EMT Basic, EMT Intermediate and Paramedic. Additional training and certification for paramedics offers more job opportunities as well as opportunities to for promotion. The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) provides listings of educational opportunities for paramedics and EMTs. Their site also includes a directory by state of online education for Emergency Medical Services workers.

All states require that EMTs and paramedics are licensed to work in their state. Hospital Jobs Online, in addition to their job posting service which includes postings for paramedics, also provides links to the state licensing boards.