Healthcare professionals are the pillars of society. They take care of us when we are most vulnerable. Due to an ever-increasing population and the insurgence of newer ailments and diseases, the need for healthcare professionals is on the rise. Career prospects as a healthcare professional have never been better. Candidates from across the state are willing to take up different careers in the healthcare industry.
While there is a huge competition to become a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nursing assistant, medical assistant, and such, a field that is often overlooked is that of a paramedic. The job of a paramedic is equally important, if not more. By becoming a paramedic, you can assist people who have been in accidents or are suffering from serious health conditions.
Who is a paramedic?
A paramedic is a healthcare professional who attends to patients even before they are taken to a hospital. The term paramedic originates from ‘para’ which means ‘along side of’ and ‘medic’ which means physician. In short, paramedics are those professionals who work along with doctors and help in imparting medical aid to those in need. They are emergency responders who are the first to reach a patient in case of a medical emergency. A paramedic is a highly skilled and trained professional who can carry out certain duties of a medic at the site of the accident and/or in an ambulance before a patient is admitted to a hospital. As such, they form a link between an ill/injured patient and the doctors.
The treatment administered by a paramedic is usually considered to be life-saving. Hence, paramedics are one of the most important healthcare providers, though their service is mostly restricted to a pre-hospital environment. Paramedics not only work in ambulances, but are also hired by corporate/industrial medical departments, aerospace industry, entertainment industry, and more. Though the nature of the service remains more or less the same, salary varies widely from employer to employer and from industry to industry.
Average paramedic salary
Before you start considering paramedics as a career opportunity, it is essential that you know how much does a paramedic make. As of November 2019, paramedics in the US earn an average of $42,479 per year or $20 per hour. This is the mean salary of paramedics is the US. The actual salary can lie anywhere between $25,000 – $63,500 per year or $12.02 – $30.53 per hour. Paramedics also earn an average additional cash compensation of $975 per year; the range being $318 – $4,604. This includes commission, tips, cash bonus, profit sharing, etc. and can vary depending on location, institution, employer, performance, and more.
Factors that determine how much does a paramedic make
The salary you take home as a paramedic depends on several factors. Not all paramedics get paid equally. The factors that determine how much you make in a year will depend on the following factors:
Of the many factors that determine what you get paid as a paramedic, work experience is perhaps the most important one. Your salary as a trainee or a newbie paramedic would be much less than some who has relevant work experience of 10 years or more. The more experience you gather, the better your salary gets. As of Oct 2019, paramedics with 0-1 year experience have an average salary of $37, 026 per year while those with 15+ years of experience make $43,931 per year. There is a stark difference in the salary with mid-level paramedics earning somewhere in between the range.
How much does a paramedic make also depend on his/her education level. Those with a diploma in paramedics will earn significantly lower than those with a bachelor’s degree in paramedics. This is because higher degrees offer advance level training to the candidates so that they can provide better treatment to critical patients in the ambulance.
Paramedics are usually employed in ambulances. However, paramedics working in ambulances have the lowest average salary. In this aspect, paramedics working in civil engineering, aerospace, architectural, and defense are offered the best salaries. Those that work in the entertainment industry earn a moderately high pay while those working in different healthcare institutions are paid the lowest.
Type of institution
The type of employer you work for also determines how much you make as a paramedic. Private hospitals and state agencies have comparatively better pay scales than public institutions and small businesses. As such, paramedics employed at notable private hospitals as well recognized state agencies make more than those working at small-sized institutions, clinics, etc.
Another factor that determines how much does a paramedic make an hour will depend on the area he/she serves. Paramedics who work in densely populated areas like big cities stand to earn a lot more than those who serve in rural areas. For example, the average salary paid to paramedics in San Jose California is $53, 681 which is 33% more than the national average.
Paramedic salary can also vary depending on your work location. Some areas have higher paramedic salary owing to the high cost of living in those parts. In some cases, the average salary may be higher than the national mean due to the high demand for paramedics in the area. Geographical location plays a small, but important role in deciding how much does a paramedic make a year.
5 cities with the highest paramedic salary
Paramedic salary varies widely from area to area with some cities paying far more than the average national salary. Here is a list of the top 5 cities according to average paramedic salary:
|City||Hourly Mean Wage ($)||Yearly Mean Wage ($)|
5 states with the highest paramedic salary
Some states offer better remuneration to the paramedics. This is a list of the states that offer top salaries to paramedics:
|State||Hourly Mean Wage ($)||Yearly Mean Wage ($)|
|District of Colombia||27.53||57,270|
How to increase your income as a paramedic?
If you are planning to become a paramedic, do not forget to check out how much does a paramedic make in your area. You can use a salary calculator to get a salary estimate based on your educational and training level, geographical location, employer type, etc. If your average prospective salary seems to be on the lower side of the graph, try boosting your salary. To increase your salary expectations, you can do the following:
Pursue a higher degree
Candidates with a higher degree in paramedics like an associate degree or bachelor’s degree can land better-paying jobs than those with a diploma. Candidates with a higher degree are better trained at handling patients of all types, and are, thus, offered better salaries.
Work as volunteer paramedics with old age homes or elderly care facilities to gain more practical experience. Experienced candidates not only get jobs fast but are also offered better packages.
If prospects are poor in your home town or city, consider moving to a city where payscale is better and to your liking.
Choose your employer wisely
What you ultimately get paid for your efforts depends on your employer. Small private institutions usually pay the least while government agencies, government hospitals, and big private hospitals have the best pay. So, while you can start off at a small institution, move on as soon as you have enough experience.
Try overtime/side job
Paramedics usually work 40 hours a week. By working more than the scheduled 40 hours, a candidate can increase his/her income significantly. Overtime compensations are fairly good and can add to your monthly income. A paramedic can also take up side jobs such as teaching, personal training, etc. for better income.
How much a paramedic makes depends on a number of factors. By working on these salary determinants, a paramedic can significantly increase his/her income. However, what is most important here is determination and will to make progress without which you cannot get yourself the best salary offers.