Licensed paramedics are trained to provide emergency medical care and support firefighters and other emergency personnel in the event of an accident. Paramedic jobs are readily available through state hospitals, medical care facilities, critical care units, and major health organizations. Paramedics are responsible for providing all types of emergency medical care before the patient arrives at the hospital, and the level of training and experience they have may dictate a paramedic salary. Paramedic salaries may be controlled by unions, so in some cases, a paramedic salary may be significantly lower or higher than the national average.

Requirements for Paramedic Jobs

Anyone interested in applying for paramedic jobs needs to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, be at least 18 years of age, and have a valid state EMS-Paramedic Certificate. If you have only completed an EMT-I or intermediate EMT training program, you may be eligible to take EMT to Paramedic bridge courses to fulfill your EMT-Paramedic educational training requirements. Most states also require the individual to have a valid motor vehicle's license in their state and a clean driving record.

Most paramedic jobs require that the individual has completed at least two to four years of related experience. Students enrolled in an accredited paramedic training program need to log in several hundred hours of clinical experience and complete didactic hours. CPR certification is part of the training process, and most paramedics are CPR-certified when they complete EMT training. They may be hired by a hospital or other medical center for an entry-level position shortly after receiving certification.

Average Salaries for Paramedic Jobs

The median paramedic salary in the United States is $38,175 as of May 2011. The average salary range is $29,942 to $47,200, and the actual salary you would receive as a paramedic would depend on a number of other factors.

Paramedics salaries do vary by state, educational experience and employer, and most paramedics receive a significant raise each year. Salary and vacation provisions are typically arranged by collective bargaining settlements and do not change significantly over time.

Range of Paramedics Salaries

The range for paramedics salaries is much higher than the salary range for EMTs and some other positions in the emergency medical field. Most paramedics work for their state fire department or a states hospital, and are typically scheduled for a 24-hour on-call shift. As a result, they do have several days off during the week but may end up working up to 60 hours per week or more in some cases. The irregular hours and overnight shifts do mean that the paramedic can earn a higher-than-average salary.

Paramedics that work for state and federal agencies typically earn more than those who work for private companies and smaller hospitals. In addition to the base paramedic salary, state and federal agencies may offer an attractive benefits program for full-time paramedics and offer several opportunities for advancement. Those who wish to advance in their careers may consider completing a registered nurse (RN) program.