EMT Salaries

EMT salaries are determined by many different factors. Some factors that have an impact on EMT salaries are training, education, and work setting. Although many factors go into determining EMT salary, the primary factors that determine salary include location and experience/certification level.

The demand for EMTs and paramedics varies by state, city, and county which will cause the salaries to also vary by location. Another factor that can effect EMT salaries is the cost of living in their local market. EMTs are able to improve their salaries by gaining more experience and attaining more certifications, like the EMT-Paramedic. 

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What is an emt?

EMT stands for emergency medical technician. EMTs are trained to respond and think quickly in emergency medical situations - specifically traumatic injuries and accident scenes. Many EMTs are found working in an ambulance and are often employed by private ambulance services, governments, hospitals, fire departments, and police departments. There are many people who are firefighters/EMTs or police officers/EMTs. EMTs most likly will be supervised by a medical director or a physician. 

An EMT is usually the first medical professional on the scene so it is important that they are able to act and think quick. EMTs are trained in emergency medical knowledge and are trained skills that can be implemented with a fast time frame. The main goals when an EMT intervenes include:

  • Rapidly evaluate a patient's condition
  • Maintain patient's airways
  • Maintain patient's breathing
  • Maintain patient's circulation
  • Control patient's external bleeding
  • Prevent patient from going into shock
  • Prevent further injury while transporting patient

To be successful, an EMT should possess the following skills and talents: 

  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Good communicator
  • A strong stomach 
  • Physically fit 
  • Calm under pressure

EMT REQUIREMENTS and Certifications

In order to become an EMT, you must have a high school diploma or a GED. Once you have your high school diploma or GED, there are different levels of training. Many industries have certifications in place to ensure the industry provides quality/experienced professionals to those in need of its services. The NHTSA recognizes the following levels of Emergency Medical Technician: 

Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)

This is the first level of training. Many EMR's are volunteers and can assume care for patients while waiting for more advanced personnel to arrive on scene. Training requirements and protocols for EMRs vary from area to area. Some skills that EMRs are able to perform include: 

  • Taking vital signs
  • CPR
  • AED usage
  • Administer epinephrine and naloxone
  • Bleeding control

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

This is the second level of training. As stated earlier, many firefighter and police officers double as EMTs. EMTs are usually the first medical professionals on the scene. Training requirements and protocols for EMTs vary from area to area. Some skills that EMTs are able to perform include: 

  • Nasopharyngeal airway 
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Splinting
  • Complicated childbirth delivery
  • Use of cervical collar 

Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT)

This is the level of training between EMT and paramedic. Training requirements and protocols for AEMTs vary from area to area. Some skills that AEMTs can perform include: 

  • Advanced life support
  • Intravenous/intraosseous access
  • Use of advanced airway devices
  • Basic cardiac monitoring


This is the highest level of EMT. A paramedic gets compensated the highest of the 4 levels. Training requirements and protocols for paramedics vary from area to area. Some skills that paramedics can perform include: 

  • Endotracheal intubation
  • Fluid resuscitation 
  • Drug administration
  • Cardiac monitoring 
  • Manual defibrillation
  • Chest needle decompression

EMT Education

EMT training programs vary from course to course - but they all at least meet local and national requirements. Typically, EMRs receive 40-80 hours of classroom training, EMTs receive 120-180 hours of classroom training, AEMTs receive 200-500 hours of classroom training, and paramedics receive 1000-1800 hours of classroom training. As well as obtaining the classroom hours, you will also need to obtain continuing education hours - these hours vary depending on what level you are. 

Some EMT training programs can be 2 weeks long (8-12 hours a day), while others may take months - in the case of paramedic programs they can take up to 2 years in an associate degree program. Clinical rotations may also be required - these include spending a certain number of hours in an ambulance or a hospital. You can find EMT programs at universities, community colleges, technical schools, hospitals, and EMS academies. 

You can prepare for your EMT tests with our free EMT practice tests.



EMT salaries vary and are contingent upon one's exact position as an EMT, one's experience, and education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) denotes that the median yearly pay for all EMTs in 2018 was about $34,320. This annual salary is equivalent to approximately $16.50/hour. 

National Averages Hourly Rate Annual Salary
 Median Salary $16.50  $34,320 
90th Percentile  $26.83   $55,814

 Source: BLS


EMT salaries vary by state. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of Washington offers the highes average (mean) yearly wage for EMTs. Check out each state's employment, hourly and annual wages in the table below. 

Location Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Alabama 3,750 $14.55 $30,260
Alaska 500 $22.97 $47,780
Arizona 3,620 $18.40 $38,260
Arkansas 2,150 $15.29 $31,800
California 21,430 $18.92 $39,350
Colorado 3,700 $20.35 $42,320
Connecticut 3,450 $22.54 $46,890
Delaware 1,270 $19.58 $40,730
District of Columbia 1,660 $27.53 $57,270
Florida 11,130 $17.21 $35,790
Georgia 9,590 $16.32 $33,950
Hawaii 730 $26.14 $54,370
Idaho 1,020 $18.25 $37,960
Illinois 10,790 $20.16 $41,940
Indiana 6,380 $16.37 $34,040
Iowa 2,540 $17.19 $35,760
Kansas 2,640 $14.67 $30,520
Kentucky 4,210 $15.11 $31,430
Louisiana 3,810 $17.75 $36,930
Maine 1,930 $16.43 $34,170
Maryland 5,090 $23.79 $49,490
Massachusetts 6,380 $19.98 $41,570
Michigan 7,100 $16.21 $33,720
Minnesota 5,850 $20.41 $42,460
Mississippi 2,410 $16.01 $33,310
Missouri 6,950 $16.62 $34,560
Montana 760 $15.88 $33,020
Nebraska 850 $15.93 $33,130
Nevada 1,850 $17.42 $36,240
New Hampshire 1,230 $18.46 $38,390
New Jersey 8,230 $18.01 $37,460
New Mexico 1,480 $17.14 $35,660
New York 17,520 $21.21 $44,120
North Carolina 10,760 $17.40 $36,200
North Dakota 830 $15.71 $32,680
Ohio 10,180 $15.48 $32,200
Oklahoma 3,350 $15.87 $33,020
Oregon 2,470 $20.42 $42,470
Pennsylvania 12,730 $16.34 $33,980
Puerto Rico 1,880 $10.59 $22,030
Rhode Island 570 $19.26 $40,070
South Carolina 5,240 $16.62 $34,570
South Dakota 960 $15.56 $32,360
Tennessee 6,810 $17.60 $36,600
Texas 19,450 $17.61 $36,620
Utah 2,030 $16.28 $33,870
Vermont - $16.48 $34,290
Virginia 6,180 $16.98 $35,310
Washington 3,360 $32.50 $67,600
West Virginia 2,330 $14.76 $30,690
Wisconsin 6,460 $16.72 $34,780
Wyoming 770 $16.41 $34,120

Source: BLS Occupational Employment Statistics


EMT employment is expected to grow approximately 15%  through the year 2026. The aging population demographic is largely driving the growth in job demand.  Demand for EMTs and Paramedics increases as the aging population has more medical emergencies.  In addition, EMTs must spend more time with patients due to dramatic overcrowding in emergency room facilities nationwide.  Also, as hospitals become more specialized in their services, the demand for patient transport grows.  Since patients are transferred by ambulance, a trained EMT or Paramedic must be utilized to monitor the patient's condition en route.

The most job opportunities for EMTs are expected to be in the private ambulance services.  Local government based EMT jobs, including fire, police and third-service rescue squad departments are expected to be the most competitive EMT positions to obtain because of their better salaries and benefits. 

As with most jobs, EMTs can improve their salaries through additional education and attaining higher certification levels, including the various NREMT certifications such as EMR, EMT, AEMT, and paramedic. 

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