EMTs smile as they take an injured woman to the hospital on a stretcher

EMT Salary

Emergency medical technicians, otherwise known as EMTs, are the first responders to emergencies like car accidents or critical health conditions. EMTs typically work in ambulance or emergency helicopter crews to transport and provide immediate care before the patient reaches the hospital. EMTs work with other emergency responders like firefighters and police officers, and they also work closely with nurses and doctors. If you’ve ever considered becoming an EMT, here is more information about your salary and job prospects to help you get a better idea for the job.

Median Salary

The national median salary for all EMTS is around $31,020 per year or $14.91 per hour. This means that half of all EMTs will earn less than this amount, and half of all EMTs will earn more. However, this figure does not distinguish between training level of EMTs. Some EMTs are only trained in basic medical services like First Aid and CPR, and others are trained as a paramedic, which requires much more training and education and typically means more money.

Education and Training

Not all EMTs go through the same amount of medical training in order to be certified and provide care. Different states have different training requirements, but all states have various levels of EMT training. Most states have a basic, intermediate, and advanced level of EMT training. Basic levels typically included CPR, First Aid, and other basic medical services. Advanced levels typically equate to paramedic status. If you go through the training necessary to be a paramedic, then your pay will likely be higher than basic-level EMTs with whom you might work.


Like with most fields, pay is higher for EMTs that work in metropolitan areas. For EMTs, this is mostly because emergency medical situations tend to happen with more frequency and intensity in urban settings. The cities that pay EMTs the most are New York City, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

Comparison to Similar Fields

EMTs make comparatively less money than other occupations in the medical and emergency fields. The median salary for firefighters is $45,250 per year, the median for police officers and detectives is $56,980 per year, and the median salary for registered nurses is $65,470. These salary differences are partly due to education and partly due to higher authority and responsibility.


Although the salary prospects for EMTs aren’t great, many EMTs are able to earn more by working overtime and earning overtime pay. This means working more than 40 hours per week, which can be quite strenuous. However, if your ambition is to save lives and be the first response, then becoming an EMT may be a great career choice for you.