During the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare workers have been top of mind for the entire nation. As you put yourself on the frontline of this pandemic, you may be thinking about the current state of the job market and what the future might hold. Are there enough paramedics, EMTs, AEMTs, and NREMTs to meet current needs? Will there be a push for greater emergency responder employment in the future?
Here is a brief overview of the current EMS job market.
EMTs, AEMTs, paramedics, and NEMTs all play a critical role in patient care and improving the health of our communities, but, there are some unique differences between these career paths.
One of the largest differences between these professions is training. To qualify as an emergency medical technician (EMT), you must complete 120 to 150 hours of specialized training. Paramedics must complete EMT training as well as a 2-year course that includes an additional 1,200 to 1,800 hours of education and practice.
This additional training enables paramedics to treat patients without restrictions. Even with EMT continuing education, EMTs are not trained in advanced life support (ALS) like intravenous access, endotracheal intubation, and drug administration. However, Advanced EMTs, who undergo another 400 hours of instruction, will learn and be certified to perform more of the advanced tasks undertaken by paramedics.
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) provides a way for patients to access healthcare resources and appointments to maintain optimal health. Since this transportation is non-emergent, patients can receive help from a transport specialist, who needs to complete 6 hours of educational training to receive a national certificate. Additional driving or medical training may also be required, depending on local or state requirements.
The average EMT salary is about $34,320 a year, but in certain areas of the country and with higher levels of experience—like NREMT and AEMT certification—this number can increase.
From 2018 to 2028, projections show a 7 percent growth in employment opportunities for EMTs, faster than the national occupational average.
And due to high EMT turnover rates, new EMTs will be needed to keep the workforce strong. While COVID-19 has impacted the entire first responder job market, it is still uncertain how this will impact the EMT job market over the next decade.
As the number of specialized medical facilities increases and baby boomers age, medical facilities will need more individuals to help care for and transport patients.
In the NEMT job market, the average NEMT salary comes in at around $25,000, as reported by ZipRecruiter. The demand for NEMTs is increasing, making the position reliable, usually indicating a low turn-around.
Keep in mind that national averages may vary by region, economy, and industry need.
Because of their additional training, paramedics make more money on average than EMTs. The average paramedic salary is around $40,000 a year, but in certain areas of the country and with higher levels of experience, some paramedics make as much as $70,000 a year.
From 2018 to 2028, projections predict a 7 percent growth in employment opportunities for paramedics. This rate of growth is faster than the national average for other occupations.
As the U.S. population ages, there will likely be an increase in health emergencies related to old age, such as cardiac arrests and strokes. While COVID-19 has impacted the entire first responder job market, it is still uncertain how this will impact the paramedic job market over the next decade.
Advanced emergency medical technicians, or AEMTs, are EMTs who have taken the next step in their career, seeking out additional training and elevating their skill set to provide more advanced care. AEMTs intervene in emergency situations, provide transportation, and can utilize more advanced techniques when providing patient care compared to a standard EMT, according to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
The need for AEMTs, just like the need for paramedics and EMTs, will always be in high-demand and reflect similar job fluctuations as recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because AEMTs require additional training and may even be recognized as leaders among their departments, the National Registry of Emergency Technicians reports that there are only 15,619 AEMTs throughout the U.S. With so few AEMTs, the need for AEMTs and other emergency service professionals will likely continue to climb, though COVID-19 has had a negative impact on the first responder job market as a whole.
When it comes to annual income, Glassdoor reveals that AEMTs bring in a national annual average of $36K. Keep in mind that this number may vary based on location, department needs, and experience.
Considering our current medical climate, the support necessary to provide quality care, act as a skilled extra set of hands, and serve the community has never been more critical.