EMT and Paramedic Job Outlook.
In summary, employment for EMTs and Paramedics is expected to grow on par with other professions through 2018. Job prospects also look good, particularly in cities and with private ambulance services. Overall population growth, along with an increase in life expectancy is driving growth in this profession.
Overall EMT and Paramedic employment is expected to grow 9 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations nation-wide. As a large population segment (aging members of the baby boom generation) becomes more likely to have medical emergencies, demand will increase for EMTs and Paramedics. In addition, the time that EMTs and Paramedics must spend with each patient is increasing as emergency departments across the country are experiencing overcrowding. As a result, when an ambulance arrives, it takes longer to transfer the patient from the EMTs and Paramedic caretakers to the emergency department. In addition, some emergency departments divert ambulances to other hospitals when they are too crowded or busy to take on new patients. As a result, ambulances may not be able to go to the nearest hospital, which increases the amount of time spent in transit. Both these factors result in EMTs and Paramedics spending more time with each patient, which means more workers are needed to meet the demand.
Hospitals are also increasingly specializing in treating a particular illness or injury. This results in more patient transfers to the hospital best able to treat them. Most patients must be transferred by ambulance to monitor their condition en-route. Subsequently, more demand for transfers between hospitals also increases the demand for the services of EMTs and Paramedics.
In addition to increasing demand for full-time workers, the need for volunteer EMTs and Paramedics in rural areas and smaller metropolitan areas will continue.
Job prospects should be favorable. Many job openings will arise from the rise in demand discussed above. In addition, full-time paid EMTs and Paramedics will be needed to replace unpaid volunteers. Emergency medical service agencies find it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain unpaid volunteers because of the amount of training and the large time commitment required for these positions. As a result, more paid EMTs and Paramedics will be needed.
Competition will be greater for jobs in local government, including fire, police, and independent third-service rescue squad departments. These positions tend to have better salaries and benefits. EMTs and Paramedics who have advanced education and certifications should enjoy the most favorable job prospects, as clients and patients continue to demand higher levels of care before arriving at the hospital.