What is a paramedic?
As everyone might have guessed, a paramedic is a health care professional who deals with the emergency situations mainly. He is the one who gives the necessary medical care in an environment outside of the hospital, in cases in which injuries or illnesses can also appear.
They are also responsible for the lives of the patients who are outside of the areas of the hospital, including the fact that they provide an advance care for the traumas that might appear and the medical emergencies.
If a patient has a health crisis, then the paramedic is the one doing an initial evaluation at the scene of the event, a diagnostic and he also makes a treatment plan.
Job description of paramedic
If you are interested in the job description of a paramedic, it is good to see how a typical day in his life goes at work. A paramedic is the one who is responsible with answers to the 999 emergency calls, to provide patients with the necessary care and treatment in the cases in which they were involved in major or small accidents, crises or emergencies.
Among their responsibilities are to possess a driving license for the ambulance or any other emergency vehicles to administer and to monitor medication and intravenous infusion, to maintain a constant learning about the special equipment and techniques that might appear, like ventilators but also to use them correctly.
A paramedic is also responsible to transport the victim of an accident to the hospital or any other patient and to offer treatment as well, on the way to the hospital. Then, once arrived to the hospital, the paramedic is also obliged to offer the staff with the necessary information for the patient condition and the treatment that was administered since he has taken the case.
The last description of a day in the life of a paramedic is to provide the family or the close relatives with information about the patient’s state, as well as to possess the necessary skills to maintain a good communication with the patient.
How to become a paramedic?
If you’re sure that this is what you want to do, then here are some steps to follow that will bring a huge opening in your career opportunities as a paramedic. It all starts since high school with getting your high school diploma or a GED, but it will also require from your side to follow certain courses that will be very useful for what is next.
Usually, the courses that you’ll have to follow are based on anatomy and physiology, all of them being subjects to the related field. So in this case, you have to fulfill some requirements other than the one mentioned earlier, which is a background check of your life. In other words you have to possess a clean record. If you have problems with the law, then you are not qualified to become a paramedic since this is one of the points you have to fulfill.
But before anything else, do everything by the book, because your age is as important as other aspects. You have to be at least eighteen in order to become a paramedic, but this won’t be an issue since you have graduated the high school.
One of the most important things that will make you one of the best potential candidates are the skills that you have that will make you have a strong character. You can accomplish these also through work, but the best opportunity for your career path as a paramedic is to already possess them. Here is an enumeration of them: compassion, best fitted to offer your patient the emotional support that he needs, and strength (this will come in hand since this job requires lot of lifting, pushing and other actions that require this skill).
Also, there are skills to be able to communicate with your team in order to end the job well, the ability to see the required solutions in the middle of hard problems, and one of the most important ones is related to the communication skills, because you will have to be able to explain your patient the procedures that are required and so on.
If you have the skills in speaking other languages, then you have an advantage against other candidates, especially if you are in an area where another language except the language that you speak is used.
One of the most important things is to obtain all the required certification that you need or that is going to help you a lot in your career. For example, you can obtain a certification in CPR. This requirement is mainly addressed for the EMT-Basic class. You can ask the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) instructor if the CPR certification is included. If not, there are all kind of organizations and institutions or associations that will provide you with the CPR certificate, and which are not so expensive. For example, there is the Red Cross, American Heart Association and so on.
Entering in a paramedic program will give the opportunity to possess the American Heart Association Healthcare Provider Card. Also, if you want to become a paramedic, there are four levels that you will have to pass in order to get your EMT-Basic certification. You can enroll for the certification to almost any colleges that are in the area of your community. Also, the cost varies from $540 and less or up to $910, according to the school you choose to follow.
As well as for the length of them, it can be of one entire semester or between three, five or six months. There are some communities in which you have to be in a group of three people, you being the third person. This will last for a few months and only after this you will be allowed to be placed in a class.
According to the dispositions you will have to pay for the class and then you get a refund or your training will be paid by the service. Then, in order to advance in this career path as a paramedic, you should take the National Registry EMT-Basic exam. This is actually a computer test that adapts according to the knowledge that you possess.
For example, if you succeed in answering easy questions, then the level of difficulty will raise higher and the computer will make the following question harder or not according to your level of being able to answer them quickly or slowly and so on. It is wise to practice before you take the test, because here your level of knowledge is tested.
If you want to be one of the best paramedics, then I suggest you to have one year of EMT-B experience, this helping you in order to become a paramedic. If then you move up by becoming a paramedic, there are schools that require documents regarding the calls that you’ve responded at, and also make a list of each call by noting what was the issue of the call like if it was cardiac, trauma and so on. Before going to any interview regarding your qualification, check your list since the interview is oral.
You can finish this training at any accredited paramedic schools, from where you might also receive an associate’s degree where you’ll have to complete 1,257 hours of training or more. Before you enrol, do a little research on your own, because the prices vary a lot, and also check the courses that are part of the program so you won’t be required to go to other places to fulfill them. Paramedic programs can go up to $15,100 and this cost does not include the books that you’ll need.
To become a paramedic, you’ll have to focus on different branches in your practice, like taking IV (Intravenous injections) classes and also to get certification in this direction, to take classes in ECG or Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology, English and biology, math and so on. These classes will help you a lot to advance in developing your skills in the necessary specialization for the job.
Also, there are programs that make time to grant certain certifications like certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, or Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support and so on. As a paramedic, you might want to consider the option of driving an ambulance. In this case, you might want to get some training involving courses with a length of eight hours, training also called EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course).
In order for you to become an EMT-P, you are required to pass the National Registry Exam, exam that is comprised of two parts, one is the practical part and the other the written part. Even if all states have in their requirements that all paramedics must be licensed, there are states in which you are required to take a state exam, in order to have a full qualification.
One more important detail for a good and successful paramedic is the experience and the years of practice that can be obtained through teaching or through volunteering. This will all make a standing in your resume, but they will make the difference since you established some connections on the volunteer place, like a hospital or any other institution that (in cases of emergencies) will call for you certainly if they are in need for another paramedic volunteer.
Work Environment and Schedule
As a paramedic, you can work in various settings, starting from the fire agencies up to the hospitals and other ambulance companies and so on. You can work in the public or in the private domain of emergency services. This could include fire departments and ambulance private services, public safety, police, the military or in other medical fields that do not deal with the transport of a person, like research laboratories, and blood banks.
Being a paramedic, your life will be comprised of overtime shifts as well the part that your schedule will vary all the time, including the fact that sometimes you’ll work one day and two of them will be off, this depending also according to the department where you work in.
If you are working in an emergency ambulance service, which is opened all the time, paramedics are required to do shifts in order that every hour of the day someone will take the calls. Paramedics usually work 38 hours per week but this depends on the emergencies they receive and the overtime shifts. In order to cover the public holidays, paramedics work in night and weekend shifts as well. But they are entitled to twenty seven days off as well, this allowing some level of flexibility.
Pros and cons of being a Paramedic
Being a Paramedic has its ups but has its down as well. People who are in need of a Paramedic are many times scared, confronting with fear and having to deal with physical or emotional stress. Your job as a Paramedic will be rewarding for being able to help the people in pain. In the same time, a huge amount of stress can be put on your shoulders because of the unexpected or hard situations.
The pros of this job and the benefits of it can be found in working with the patients. It is not perpetually easy to do what you like and improve every time when you go out of the facilities and settings in which you activate. The payment that you’ll receive is quite good if you’ll compare it with other jobs in the healthcare system.
Working in the community and with people that need your aid you’ll start gaining a reputation, and your respect will increase. The job downsides that you’ll encounter are mainly linked with the job itself. You’ll deal with people that might be abusive or violent, the cases that you’ll going to face many times can be pretty violent or unexpected. You’ll deal with people of all ages, and from different settings with a very different background.
You’ll be called to emergencies where the people involve could be already facing dead, or they died already, so your job won’t miss this scenario. In every case, you’ll have to be well prepared, stay fit since you’ll be doing plenty of lifting and bending, and moving patients and help them arrive at the nearest health care facility.
The hours of work are long and many times exhausting, the shift can be though, and you’ll have to work continuously without any break. You’ll still get some time off from time to time if the facility in which you are working will involve the so-called rotating rosters, with shifts that will vary from 12 up to 24-hour shifts. Not many people can last under these circumstances since there is a hard work and pretty exhausting, but it will allow you to have days off.
Not everything is that bad and if your dream is to become a Paramedic and you got the skills required for this job you’ll be the perfect candidate and a very good future professional.
Paramedic job growth
For the succeeding ten years or so, the projected paramedic job growth is estimated to range between 23% and 24%, percentage that shows a much faster than the average for all occupations. Due to the nature of this job such as natural disaster, car crashes, or other emergencies and act of violence, the demand for these professionals will continue to grow.
With other words the volume call for these cases and due to the growth in the aging population, the job prospects are still very high. The emergency medical field is in need for Paramedics since their role is vital to the healthcare system and to all the communities and states in the United States.
The future outlook for these professionals seems to be very good, and the job is provided with stability due to the factors that are reminded. A great tip in increasing your employment opportunities would be to search for jobs for private ambulance services since there is a high competition for jobs in the government positions.
Because of the education given and the experience acquired, but also because of the level that is found into becoming a paramedic the salaries will vary a lot. In 2016 in the United States a median average in the paramedic salary is per year around $41,000 (Indeed.com).
But, there is also a huge difference according to the area of work, location, department in which you work as a paramedic, the duties that you fulfil during the hours of work, but also according to the metropolitan area or a lower area, where the demanding for a paramedic is not so high.
The difference that might appear can be seen in the variation between a large town and a small one, in which the salary will be estimated related to the factors mentioned earlier.
The best paid paramedics can reach out to a salary of $54,200, while the lowest job payment for a paramedic can be estimated at $19,810. As a starting paramedic, your salary will be estimated at $18,300, being one of the lowest points and up to $51,450, this also depending on each state and the economic flux that appears in the paramedic jobs. This is also influenced by the department or the agency that hired you and your level of experience and the years of practice.
Because the level varies so much, a paramedic’s earnings can be estimated according to the years of experience. With one or three or even more years of experience, the yearly salary ranges from $24,345 to $50,900. The ones that have more than eleven years or twenty in this emergency service as a paramedic, will gain from $34,300 up to $73,145.
There are top industries that pay per year a salary of $54,120, or waste treatment that pays $50,090 and so on the payment may vary according to each institution, department, and agency, but this is also according to the public or private domain.
Each state has its payment when it comes to paramedic level jobs, this including the areas in which you are working. Per year, the best (top paid) states are the District of Columbia with an average of $52,960. Also, next in line is Alaska, with a salary of $51,480, followed by Washington where the salary gained by a paramedic is of $50,990 and so on.
The states that include in the United States a huge number of the paramedic jobs are Kentucky, that reached to the top with a number of 4,690 jobs followed by the states of South Carolina, Delaware and so on, states in which the demanding from the population for paramedics is very high.
But the career opportunities are on a great scale since a paramedic job will always be required by many people. The ones that choose this path decide on the paramedic career, because they like to help people but they also acknowledge the number of emergencies that never stop to appear and require a paramedic all the time.
Even though each earning per year varies considerable according to all the mentioned important economic and social factors, the benefit in the paramedic salary is that you’ll always have the opportunity to advance in this career and to earn a better salary than the one received at your starting point.
In fact, with the years of training, the years on the field at your work will be much rewarded because you will develop the necessary skills and abilities to face the different situations coming in your life and that way you’ll be promoted. All these assume a much higher salary including the departments in which you work as a paramedic, like a top industry base.
Taking all the training levels in order to become a paramedic will guarantee not only the license required by every state, but will also guarantee a good starting point in your wage, this being one of the salary factors with great influence as well as the volunteering and the teaching.
Salary of a Paramedic in 2015
The wage of a paramedic in the United States for the year 2015 will vary a lot according to the type of employer that you have. Other influence might come from the setting in which you are working, and the experience that you’ve earned will influence the salary.
The annual income in 2015 is estimated at about $34,010 per year with the higher points that can reach according to the area at $53,010 per year. The lowest points in this salary are again influenced by the same factors, and the income of a Paramedic can reach $19,886 per year. The job opportunities are various and plenty where to choose from.
The necessity for Paramedics is very high due to the surveys made among the aging population which is the most vulnerable and exposed to hazard situations.
Paramedic Salary in 2016
The year 2016 shows that in the United States, the salaries for paramedics are influenced by several major factors such as the industry and the company size in which these professionals operate, geographical location, years of experience and let’s not forget the educational level.
The factors that affect this group by career according to some of the surveys are the job duration that is seen as the first and the most important one, followed by the demographic factor that is the location. According to some of the estimations that were made the average median incomes that are expected for paramedics in the US reach at around $39,780 per year more or less in 2016 according to the factors mentioned above.
To understand better the position that these professionals occupy in the medical field let’s take a look at the lowest and the highest points. The lowest considered point into a paramedic salary is reaching out to $20,010 per year or even less while the highest point that someone can get in this career is around $52,980 per year or even more. We should also take into thought the fact that bonuses can be added that will sum up to $1,027 per year, this depending mainly on the employer.
Paramedic salaries are influenced also based upon the state in which someone is working, the metropolitan or non-metropolitan areas, and the top or low differences that are to be found in the cost of living and living expenses. There are top paying states for paramedics in which you’ll find out that the earnings encompass the median average expected salary. For instance, in Seattle the average income of paramedics is estimated at around $61,636 per year while in Fairbanks, Alaska the average income of Paramedics working there reaches around $61,378 per year.
A paramedic salary in 2016 will vary greatly also according to the years of experience. The values seen in these payments will increase once with the advancement in the working years of experience. For those who have just started to work as paramedics in this field, the incomes will be comprised between $18,390 per year or even more and up to $50,684 per year. The annual incomes for those who already have 1 and up to 4 years in the field are comprised between $24,570 per year and up to $50,870 per year.
Paramedic salary in Canada, Australia and UK
Each country has various salaries. For example in Canada, the average in salary per year is comprised between C$34,340 and C$84,580. The median salary per year is of C$60,012. There are also benefits to be found that include paid holidays, refund for education or training and so on. Also the overtime shift is paid varying from C$1.56 to C$60.75.
The experience in this case matters also, so a paramedic with one to three or more years will have an income from C$36,245 to C$82,390. Their salary is also influenced according to the medical settings in which they work, but also according to the certification they complete.
For instance in Australia, a paramedic annual salary is of AU$41,356 and up to AU$96,110 while the median salary reaches at AU$60,234. There are also cases in which a bonus is granted by the employer, consisting in amounts that can go up to AU$9,020.
The experience is one of a great value and influence, when it’s about the salary, so a paramedic with one or three years and more will gain a salary comprised of AU$37,280 to AU$81,324.
In the United Kingdom, a paramedic annual salary is comprised between £19,490 and £33,187 whereas the median salary per years is estimated at about £26,733. Bonuses are also granted in the United Kingdom by some employers, bonuses that can go up to £7,268.
The paramedics who have obtained a certification gain a lot more than the other paramedics who don’t have a level of certification.
Conclusion on paramedic salary
Even if the median salary is estimated to be at $34,270, but as mentioned earlier, the factors that intervene in each state make a paramedic salary to vary a lot. But the rewarding will start to appear since you can advance as a paramedic, this assuming as well some great career opportunities in many settings for your future.
In this article, we discussed about what a paramedic is, and which his job description is, the duties that he has to perform at work. Also, the paramedic training programs that he can follow in order to become one and the necessary education have been discussed, as well as the license which is a must do.
We mentioned about the work environment and the schedule that a paramedic has, as well as the salary in the United States that varies according to some influential factors. With some extension in other countries like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, in which some bonuses intervene according to each employer, but also to the level of experience, we have read that it’s a rewarding job.
And in the final part of this article we stopped for a brief conclusion on the paramedic salary that brings new career opportunities in various settings.
- First Published Date: 13 June, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 19 June, 2016