Emt Pay Per Hour: A Detailed Look At Emt Salaries

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) play a vital role in our healthcare system, providing critical pre-hospital care during medical emergencies. If you’re considering a career as an EMT, one of the first questions you probably have is how much does an EMT make per hour?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide a detailed overview of EMT pay rates and salaries.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: the average hourly wage for EMTs and paramedics in the United States is $17.60 per hour, according to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, EMT pay can range widely based on location, experience level, certification, and other factors.

Hourly Wages for EMTs and Paramedics

When it comes to the salaries of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, understanding the hourly wages is crucial. The hourly pay for these healthcare professionals can vary depending on several factors, including experience, location, and level of certification.

In this article, we will take a detailed look at the hourly wages for EMTs and paramedics, providing you with valuable insights into their earning potential.

Average Hourly Pay

The average hourly pay for EMTs and paramedics is an important indicator of the earning potential in this field. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for EMTs and paramedics was $17.29 as of May 2020.

This means that EMTs and paramedics earn an average of $17.29 per hour.

It is worth noting that this figure can vary depending on the level of certification. For example, EMT-Basics may earn a slightly lower hourly wage compared to paramedics who have completed more advanced training.

Starting Hourly Pay

For individuals just starting their careers as EMTs, the starting hourly pay is an important consideration. While the starting pay can vary depending on the specific location and employer, the average starting hourly pay for EMTs is around $12.00 to $15.00 per hour.

However, it is important to keep in mind that as EMTs gain experience and advance in their careers, their hourly pay can increase significantly. Many EMTs have the opportunity to earn higher wages as they gain additional certifications and specialize in certain areas of emergency medical services.

Hourly Pay Range

The hourly pay range for EMTs and paramedics can vary significantly based on factors such as geographic location, level of certification, and years of experience. In some areas, EMTs and paramedics may earn as low as $10.00 per hour, while in high-demand areas or specialized roles, they may earn as high as $25.00 per hour or more.

It’s important to note that additional factors such as overtime, shift differentials, and bonuses can also impact the overall hourly pay for EMTs and paramedics. Some EMTs may have the opportunity to work overtime or night shifts, which can result in higher earnings.

For more information on EMT salaries and hourly wages, you can visit reputable websites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics or consult with local EMS agencies in your area.

Factors That Influence EMT Pay Per Hour

Geographic Location

The location where an EMT works can have a significant impact on their pay per hour. EMT salaries can vary greatly from one state to another, as well as within different regions of the same state. For example, EMTs working in metropolitan areas or high-cost of living cities tend to earn higher wages compared to those in rural areas.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest paying states for EMTs include Alaska, Washington, and Hawaii, while the lowest paying states include Mississippi, South Dakota, and Louisiana.

Experience and Certification Level

EMTs with more experience and higher levels of certification generally earn higher wages. EMTs start their careers with basic certification, but many choose to pursue advanced certifications such as Advanced EMT or Paramedic.

These advanced certifications require additional training and education, which can lead to higher pay. Additionally, EMTs who have been working in the field for several years often earn more than those who are just starting out.

Employment Setting

The type of setting in which an EMT works can also affect their pay per hour. EMTs can be employed by various organizations, including private ambulance companies, hospitals, fire departments, and government agencies. Each setting may offer different salary structures and benefits.

For example, EMTs working for the government may enjoy better job security and benefits compared to those working for a private company. It is important for EMTs to consider the pros and cons of each employment setting when evaluating potential job opportunities.

Overtime Pay

Overtime pay can significantly impact an EMT’s overall earnings. EMTs often work long and irregular hours, and they may be required to work overtime during emergencies or busy periods. Overtime pay is usually calculated as time and a half or double time, meaning EMTs can earn significantly more per hour when working overtime.

However, it is important to note that not all employers offer overtime pay, so EMTs should clarify this aspect before accepting a position.

Highest Paying States for EMTs

When considering a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), it is important to understand the varying salaries that can be found across different states in the United States. EMTs play a crucial role in providing immediate medical attention and care to those in need, and their salaries can reflect the demand and cost of living in each state.

1. Alaska

Alaska is renowned for offering the highest salaries to EMTs in the country. The unique geographic challenges and remote areas in the state result in a higher demand for EMT services. EMTs in Alaska can earn an average hourly wage of $25 to $30, making it an attractive destination for those seeking higher compensation in their EMT career.

2. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is another region that offers competitive wages for EMTs. The high population density and the need for emergency medical services in the nation’s capital contribute to the higher salaries offered in this area.

EMTs in Washington, D.C. can earn an average hourly wage ranging from $22 to $28.

3. Hawaii

Hawaii, known for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, is also one of the top-paying states for EMTs. The unique challenges of providing emergency medical services in an island setting contribute to the higher compensation offered to EMTs in this state.

On average, EMTs in Hawaii can earn an hourly wage of $21 to $26.

4. Massachusetts

Massachusetts is renowned for its world-class healthcare system, and EMTs in this state benefit from higher salaries as a result. The demand for skilled EMTs in urban areas such as Boston contributes to the competitive wages offered.

EMTs in Massachusetts can earn an average hourly wage ranging from $20 to $25.

5. Maryland

Maryland is another state that offers attractive salaries for EMTs. The proximity to major cities such as Baltimore and the demand for emergency medical services in densely populated areas contribute to the higher wages. EMTs in Maryland can earn an average hourly wage ranging from $19 to $24.

It is important to note that while these states offer higher salaries for EMTs, the cost of living in these areas may also be higher. EMTs should consider various factors such as housing costs, taxes, and other living expenses when evaluating potential career opportunities.

For more information on EMT salaries and career opportunities, you can visit Bureau of Labor Statistics or reach out to local EMS agencies in the respective states.

Job Outlook for EMTs

The job outlook for EMTs is quite promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of EMTs and paramedics is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. Several factors contribute to this positive outlook:

  • As the baby boomer population ages, they will need more medical care, resulting in increased demand for EMTs.
  • A growing number of people have health insurance coverage, making emergency medical services more accessible and thereby boosting EMT jobs.
  • Advances in medicine lead to longer life expectancies, fueling demand for EMTs and paramedics to provide care.

The prevalence of chronic conditions, like diabetes and obesity, also contributes to rising need for emergency services. Furthermore, EMTs are taking on more responsibilities, such as providing telemedicine services, administering COVID-19 tests, and vaccinating the public.

There are some factors limiting growth for EMT jobs. Improvement in emergency response infrastructure and training may lessen the need for on-scene emergency care. Additionally, private ambulance services face cost constraints that can limit hiring.

With ample openings and good earning potential, EMT careers will continue to appeal to those who want to help people in their most vulnerable moments.


When considering a career as an EMT, it’s important to take a close look at the average salaries and hourly wages in your area. While pay varies based on location, experience, certification, and employer, EMTs can expect to earn around $17 per hour on average nationwide.

With strong job growth projected in the coming years, EMT careers provide an opportunity to earn a decent living while making a real difference in your community. If you have a passion for helping people in urgent medical situations, a job as an EMT may be very rewarding despite the modest pay.

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