The EMT Salary in 2017

The highest Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) salary in 2017 among all English-speaking countries is found in New Zealand, where EMTs earn NZ$61,110 (US$42,799). They’re quickly followed by Canada with C$55,000 (US$41,224), Australia with AU$50,050 (US$38,098), and UK with £25,800 (US$32,247). Surprisingly, the EMT salary in the US is among the lowest in English-speaking countries; an EMT in the US earns only $31,980, Rs126,465 (US$1,946), still higher than what EMTs earn in South Africa (R159,693 US$11,829) or India (R159,693, or US$11,829).

How Much Does an EMT Make Per Year?

EMT Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Wage $15.38 C$26.44
Annual Wage $31,980 C$55,000
Rs126,465 (US$1,946) R159,693

Factors that Influence the EMT salary

Let’s see what exactly influences the yearly and hourly pay for this profession. We are going to look at an EMT salary by state, experience, and annual pay for beginners and experienced professionals. If you want to find out more about the emergency services salaries, you can check out our flight paramedic salary guide and our paramedic salary guide.

1. Geographic Area

EMT Salary in the US

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the EMT average salary in 2017 in the US was situated at $31,980 per year and $15.38 per hour.  But of course, the EMT salary varies depending on the employee’s level of experience, the state in which they are practicing their job, and industry in which they are employed.

Most of the professionals in this field (61%) have less than 5 years of experience behind; only 7% if the EMTs in the US have been in this field for more than 20 years. Although not extremely satisfied with their jobs, most of the EMTs in the US agree working as an EMT is highly rewarding, despite the fact that 38% of them have no health benefits with their job. 36% of the EMTs in the US have vision insurance, 44% have dental, and 59% have medical coverage.

As with most work fields, there usually is a huge difference between the states which offer the highest number of jobs and those that offer the highest pay. And since most of the people looking for a job in the field are from different areas of the United States, we’ll cover more advanced data about the EMT salary range in both urban and rural environments.

Highest Levels of Employment for EMTs in the US

The states with the highest levels of employment in the field throughout our country are as follows:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Texas 18,270 1.58 0.92 $17.33 $36,050
California 16,720 1.08 0.63 $17.99 $37,410
New York 14,250 1.59 0.92 $18.72 $38,940
Pennsylvania 12,320 2.16 1.26 $15.67 $32,590
Illinois 12,060 2.06 1.20 $20.38 $42,380

The metro areas with the highest employment level in the United States are as follows:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY – NJ Metropolitan Division 9,470 1.46 0.85 $18.65 $38,790
Chicago – Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division 6,590 1.84 1.07 $24.23 $50,390
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 4,000 1.61 0.94 $17.15 $35,670
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 3,860 1.32 0.77 $16.44 $34,190
Los Angeles – Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 3,680 0.90 0.52 $17.30 $35,980
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 2,940 2.24 1.30 $20.83 $43,340
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division 2,830 1.61 0.94 $18.31 $38,080
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division 2,740 1.13 0.66 $22.60 $47,010
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division 2,720 1.17 0.68 $20.91 $43,500
St. Louis, MO-IL 2,710 2.05 1.19 $17.42 $36,230
Highest Salaries for EMTs in the US

Meanwhile, the states with the highest EMT salaries are the following:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
District of Columbia 1,250 1.85 1.08 $28.37 $59,010
Washington 2,880 0.97 0.56 $28.06 $58,370
Alaska 390 1.19 0.69 $25.96 $54,000
Connecticut 3,200 1.93 1.12 $22.22 $46,220
Nevada 1,300 1.06 0.62 $21.31 $44,320

The highest paying metropolitan areas in the sector are the following:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA Metropolitan Division 180 0.64 0.37 $37.39 $77,770
Seattle – Bellevue – Everett, WA Metropolitan Division 1,180 0.77 0.45 $31.81 $66,170
Pueblo, CO 100 1.72 1.00 $29.84 $62,080
Olympia-Tumwater, WA 170 1.67 0.97 $29.36 $61,070
Kennewick-Richland, WA 140 1.33 0.78 $28.14 $58,530
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 60 0.71 0.41 $28.09 $58,420
Anchorage, AK 190 1.05 0.61 $26.48 $55,080
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA 120 2.53 1.47 $26.03 $54,150
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 610 1.46 0.85 $25.88 $53,820
New Haven, CT 770 2.76 1.61 $25.22 $52,460

While states such as Florida, New York, Oregon, or Colorado are not found on the list, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t hiring or that they don’t have acceptable wages; it just means they offer less money and have fewer jobs in the field. Nevertheless, that is the situation in pretty much every other domain of activity – each state’s needs and financial capacities affect the final pay for an EMT.

If remaining in the same industry, an EMT salary will most often oscillate by as much as $10,000. In most cases, however, that is barely enough. Seeing as the average certified emergency medical tech has a starting salary lower than the national minimum wage, they barely make more than the average ambulance driver.

EMT Salary in Canada

The average salary of an EMT working in Canada is set at C$55,000, or US$41,224. A beginner working in this field here will earn about C$39,307, or US$29,370, in his first year. An experienced professional, however, can earn up to C$72,308 (US$53,995). Nevertheless, only 16% of the EMTs in Canada have 10 years of experience or more.

As for health benefits, 78% of those working as EMTs in Canada have medical insurance, 56% of them have dental, and other 56% have vision insurance. Unfortunately, 22% have no type of health benefit whatsoever.

EMT Salary in the UK

Payscale reports that an EMT working in the UK earns about £10.00 (US$12.50) per hour, which makes the average EMT salary about £25,800 (US$32,247) per year. Here, 13% of the EMTs have over 20 years of experience, while most have between 10 and 19 years of practice behind. The same resource mentioned above also states that all of the professionals they surveyed declared they have no type of health benefits with their job.

EMT Salary in Australia

Even though no information regarding the EMT salary is available, we can take the paramedic salary as a reference. The average salary of a paramedic in Australia is AU$58,703 (US$44,432) per year, and the starting salary is AU$46,370, or US$35,088 per year. The total pay of a paramedic can reach AU$93,987, or US$71,126 after more than 15 years in this field. Bonuses can add about AU$9,000, or US$6,811, to this amount.

As for the skills that can increase the pay of a paramedic in Australia, critical care, emergency/trauma, and emergency medical services are the most noteworthy. Of course, you might also want to consider the fact that 63% of the paramedics here have no type of health benefits, 7% have dental and vision insurance, and 35% have medical benefits with their job.

EMT Salary in New Zealand

When it comes to emergency services, New Zealand has paramedics (also known as ambulance officers) instead of EMTs. The starting salary of a paramedic in New Zealand ranges between NZ$45,000 and NZ$58,000 per year. One can start working as a paramedic here after a training of 3 years.

After 5 to 15 years on the job, a paramedic working full-time in New Zealand will reach the national average for this profession, NZ$61,110 (US$42,799) per year. Depending mostly on location and skills, an experienced paramedic can earn up to NZ$75,000 (US$52,355) per year.

EMT Salary in India

In India, an EMT earns Rs126,465 (US$1,946) per year on average. A beginner in this field will earn about Rs82,434, or US$1,268 per year. After more than 10-15 years on the job, an EMT will earn up to Rs294,436, or about US$4,531. Bonuses can add about Rs11,350, or roughly US$175.

According to Payscale, about 29% of the EMTs currently working in India have no type of health benefit with their job, and the other 71% have medical insurance.

EMT Salary in South Africa

EMTs working in South Africa earn ZAR159,693 (US$11,829) on average. A beginner in this field will earn about ZAR96,761, or US$6,970 per year, while an experienced professional can expect a yearly salary of up to ZAR315,114 (US$22,693). In addition, bonuses can account for about ZAR13,985, or a little over US$1,000.

More than half of the professionals working as EMTs in South Africa have been in this field for less than 5 years. In addition, only 15% have more than 20 years of experience behind. Even though 25% of the EMTs have no type of health benefit with their job, the other 75% have medical insurance, and about 33% also enjoy dental and vision insurance.

2. Experience

Depending on the level of experience and the type of job an EMT is doing, differently specialized EMTs will most often end up with different pay rates.

Generally considered a very low-paying job, an EMT salary does go up over the years, but rarely substantially enough to motivate a professional to stay at this job. This is why so many EMTs usually choose to move on with their careers after a few years.

3. Industry

As for the industries offering employees the EMT salary, the pay can be as much as double if you’re interested in jobs in the right domain of activity. In fact, the other factors influencing the EMT basic salary might prove to be less of an influence together than the industry by itself.

The industries that offer the highest level of employment are as follows:


Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services 114,600 40.29 $15.65 $32,550
Local Government (OES Designation)
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 40,620 0.77 $17.65 $36,700
Other Support Services 2,270 0.77 $17.81 $37,050
Outpatient Care Centers 1,770 0.24 $18.26 $37,970

Meanwhile, as explained before, the industries offering the highest pay are not the ones offering the most jobs. In fact, here are the industries offering the highest EMT salaries:


Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
State Government (OES Designation)
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services 100 0.01 $25.19 $52,390
Junior Colleges 80 0.01 $22.52 $46,840
Scientific Research and Development Services 120 0.02 $22.31 $46,410
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 350 0.01 $21.40 $44,510

Working Hours

First and foremost, most people wanting to obtain the EMT job description work full time. Since the full-time regular EMT salary is low enough as it is, working the profession part-time is mostly done as a secondary job. Surprisingly, just one in three EMTs worked more than 40 hours per week in 2014.

If we are to look at EMTs vs paramedics, there really aren’t all that many differences in their work hours. The biggest difference between them is that EMTs are not allowed to perform operations that perforate the skin. This, of course, only applies to the countries that have both professions.

Their work hours, however, are the same, with both EMTs and paramedics having to be available to work at any time in case of emergencies, including overtime, at nights, and on weekends. Depending on the institute doing the hiring (hospitals, the FDNY, the AMR, etc.), most EMTs work in 12 or 24 hours shifts.

Bonuses and Benefit Packages

Depending on the type of EMT looking to get hired, the usual sign-on bonuses can range from $500 or $1000 at entry level to as much as $7,500 at an advanced level and in the right industry and country. Of course, sign-on bonuses are never guaranteed, and they differ wildly from employer to employer.

As for the benefit packages, most EMTs have a wide range of family health plans from which to choose, excellent pension benefits, the possibility to get paid for overtime, as well as many other different benefits, all depending on the employer. Seeing as the salaries are so low for the profession compared to the levels of on-the-job stress, most employers do prefer to offer benefit packages in order to keep employees motivated.

Job Outlook

As expected because of the increased number of accidents and the other generalized emergencies around the country, the employment levels of EMTs, as well as of paramedics should rise sharply during the following years. In fact, it is estimated that the number of new jobs will grow by as much as 24% by 2024, much faster than the national average for all occupations.

A number of courses and certifications could very well be the determinant factor in whether an EMT could get hired for a higher position or not, and there are many chances and choices an aspiring EMT can take to move on from the profession.


Overall, the small EMT salary, long work hours, and extremely stressful job conditions may deter many from pursuing the career. However, the many job benefits, high employment chances, and countless career opportunities often make up for the detriments and motivate many to get jobs in the field.

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