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2016 SALARY SURVEY
To compare different areas across the country, we’ve divided the United States into 10 regions based upon
FEMA zones, and we’ve placed a ranking
for the average salary of each position and
included any obvious findings associated with
Regional variances can be caused by many
factors, such as cost of living, evolution of
the EMS systems, and simple supply and
demand—the number of jobs and the corresponding number of certified personnel.
This year, we provide the average salary
by region for the following positions: EMT,
Paramedic, Education Coordinator, Operations Manager, Administrative Director
and Executive Director. We present data for
both 2016 and 2015, and include where each
position ranks in average salary compared to
Understanding these differences is important when comparing one region to another.
Annual trending (i.e., increases or decreases)
within a region is helpful to determine the
future state or identify regions to migrate to
or away from.
Although two data points don’t indicate a
trend, we found the following findings worth
>>Region IX wages for EMTs, Paramedics
and Operation Managers was, on average,
down significantly vs. 2015; and
>>Operations Manager positions in all other
regions show increases year-over-year.
It’s impossible to truly identify significant
trends using two data points; however, the
data supports the general tone of what most
of us are experiencing, hearing from our peers
and learning about at conferences: It’s becoming harder and harder for EMS to financially
survive as an industry.
Although wages did go up between 2015
and 2016, benefits appear to be diminishing.
More importantly, with nine out of 10 regions
reporting reductions in both EMS education
and college tuition reimbursement, we appear
to be compounding the problem with recruit-
ment and retention of staff by not focusing
dollars on education and staff development.
Another important item to highlight is
the continued depression of wages for EMS
positions when compared to other similar
positions in healthcare (which is considered
most of the work we do). Although this comparison is beyond the scope of this article and
our survey, we invite you to research healthcare wages from various valid sources on
The only way to fill this wage gap is for
EMS to elevate itself from a vocation to a
profession, with education coupled hand in
hand with federal and state healthcare reimbursement reforms. EMTs and Paramedics
should be classified as healthcare providers
and our work compensatation should be based
on living wages, should cover the actual costs
of the care provided, and allow for a reasonable margin by which to recapitalize, perform
research, and reinvest in the development of
our people and profession. JEMS
Figure 2: Participants by region
Note: The number in parentheses is the number
of respondents from that region. Standard Federal
Regions were established in 1974 by the Office of
Emergency Management and Budget. The same regions are
used by the federal Emergency Management Agency and the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.