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How Much Do Paramedics Make?

NurseJournal Staff
Updated August 22, 2022
Considering a paramedic career? This guide to paramedic salaries outlines typical salaries, how to increase your salary, and the highest-paying states for paramedics.
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Paramedics and other first responders help save lives and make a tremendous difference in their communities. This guide to paramedic salaries outlines typical pay ranges, lists the highest-paying states for paramedics, and describes ways to increase your income.

Keep reading for what you need to know about paramedic salaries and options for earning more.

Average Salary for Paramedics

The average annual paramedic salary is $49,500, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10% of paramedic salaries are $34,420 or lower, and the highest 10% reach $74,200 and above. By comparison, nursing assistants earn an average $33,250. Like paramedics, nursing assistants do not need a degree for employment.

Average Annual Salary
Source:BLS, 2022

Average Hourly Wage
Source:BLS, 2022

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The Highest-Paying States for Paramedics

The top-paying states for paramedics also have high costs of living, though not necessarily the highest in the country. State licensing requirements, the presence and relative strengths of unions, and levels of experience also help determine paramedic salaries.

Salaries also vary within states. For example, in Seattle, Washington, the average paramedic salary is $94,290. However, in Kennewick-Richland, Washington, paramedics only make $75,120 annually.

Because paramedics have high-stress jobs and often go into danger to save lives, unions such as the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are actively recruiting these professionals, hoping to unionize for higher salaries.

Highest-Paying States
StateAverage Salary
New Jersey$71,180
District of Columbia$64,940

Source:U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

4 Ways to Increase Pay As a Paramedic

  1. 1

    Change Your Employment Settings

    Air transportation paramedics earn the highest salaries of all paramedics, at an average annual $79,580, according to the BLS. Government employees also earn above average at $53,090. Switching to a unionized setting or working evening or weekend shifts may also lead to higher paramedic salaries.

  2. 2

    Complete Additional Training or Credential Programs

    Another way to increase your paramedic salary is to earn additional certifications or complete other training. Some certification options include basic or advanced life support, community paramedic, critical care paramedic, or pediatric and neonatal critical care transport.

  3. 3

    Become a Travel Paramedic

    Travel paramedics fill temporary vacancies and travel to where demand is highest. While this means being away from family and friends for periods of time, it also allows you to see different parts of the country and earn a higher paramedic salary.

  4. 4

    Consider Transitioning to a Registered Nursing Role

    Finally, you can transition to another healthcare role, such as registered nurse (RN), to earn more. In fact, some schools offer paramedic-to-RN programs, and credits from paramedic training may transfer to an associate degree in nursing (ADN) program.

    The BLS reports an average $82,750 salary for RNs, a considerable increase over the average paramedic salary.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paramedic Salaries

question-mark-circleAre paramedics in demand?

According to the BLS, the number of paramedic jobs could grow 11% between 2020 and 2030, faster than the average across all professions.

question-mark-circleWhat are the highest-paying cities for paramedics?

Washington is the highest-paying state for paramedics. Of the 10 cities with the top paramedic salaries reported by the BLS, seven are in Washington state, with five of these holding the top five places on the list.

These five top-paying Washington cities and regions include Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue ($94,290); Longview ($85,940); Olympia-Turnwater ($85,530), Bremerton-Silverdale ($85,400), and Bellingham ($84,930).

question-mark-circleHow many hours do paramedics work?

Most paramedics work full time, approximately 40 hours per week. Like other first responders, they may work evening and night shifts or in 9-, 12-, or even 24-hour shifts. Paramedic salaries may be higher for the less-desirable shifts.

question-mark-circleWhat career advancement opportunities are available for paramedics?

Paramedics often move into other emergency response or healthcare jobs. Some become police officers or firefighters, and others become nurses. These careers generally pay considerably more than typical paramedic salaries. Nurses, for example, earn almost twice the average paramedic salary.

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