People who work in the emergency medical services are on the frontlines as first responders whenever there are accidents, injuries, and emergencies of any kind, but a career in EMS differs according to many things, including the type of training and education people undergo, where they work, and the type of responsibility they shoulder.
If you think you’d love nothing more than to spend your life helping others by choosing a challenging and rewarding career in the emergency medical services field, but you aren’t entirely sure what all that may entail, here are five considerations you need to weigh.
1. Do You Have the Right Personal Qualities?
Whether you’ve just started working within the emergency medical services field or you are currently pursuing a master’s degree with a concentration in EMS leadership, there are some personal qualities that are bound to make a career in EMS a more satisfying fit if you have them.
In addition to the obvious ones like not fainting at the sight of blood or needles, it’s helpful if you also bear a few other characteristics as well, including:
- The ability to stay calm under pressure
- A willingness to take on responsibility
- The ability to work as part of a team
- A solid work ethic
- A commitment to ongoing learning
- The ability to keep working in times of crisis
2. What Training and Education Do You Need?
Working within the emergency medical services field requires a very wide range of training and education, depending on what you’d like to do and how amenable you are to additional schooling. Some aspects of EMS work only require completion of an accredited training program, while others prefer a college or graduate degree.
When it comes to training and education within the field, some is always required, but just how much is up to each individual’s ambition and the particularities of the job being pursued.
3. What Can You Make?
The rate of pay for people working within the emergency medical services field can vary widely depending on the kind of work that’s happening and where it’s taking place. That being said, for the lowest levels of EMS work, you can expect to make around $9.50 an hour, while some paramedics and advanced emergency medical technicians make around $25.00 an hour.
Not all EMS work is hourly only. Some EMS workers draw salaries, and those range from just under $20,000 a year to over $51,000. Overall, then, the average EMS worker makes right around $14.50 an hour or earns a salary that’s just over $30,000 a year.
Of course, there are ways to increase your chances of hitting the upper echelons of the EMS pay scale, such as getting more education and training and/or taking on more responsibility. Also, EMS workers in Alaska, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Washington, and Oregon are paid the best, so you may want to consider relocating.
4. Who Do You Want to Work For?
If you already work within the emergency medical services field, then you know that who you work for can be just as important as the type of job you do.
EMS workers can find employment through a number of different institutions and companies, including:
5. What Jobs Are Available?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth within the field of emergency medical services will be much better than average over the next 10 years, which means choosing a career in EMS is likely to keep you employed, and there are a wide range of jobs available within the field, as well. Some of the work emergency medical personnel take on includes:
- Emergency Medical Responder
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Advanced Emergency Medical Technician
- Field Training Officer
- EMS Systems Manager
- Wilderness EMS
- Ambulance Driver
The world of EMS is rich with meaningful and challenging opportunities for those individuals who are cut out for it and willing to undergo the necessary training and education. From driving an ambulance to overseeing the field training of a new batch of EMS hopefuls, the work is diverse and rewarding, and according to projections, there will be work aplenty for the foreseeable future.