By Jacob Strangis |Staff Writer|
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics provide first-responder emergency care to those in their community, but they may not be getting paid as much as they deserve, according to a local survey of students.
Private 911 ambulance companies work in collaboration with the local city and county fire departments on all calls that require any medical or traumatic aid, ranging from cardiac arrest, to severe car accidents, to terrorist attacks.
Compared to the fire departments in the Inland Empire, the earnings of both EMTs and paramedics for private companies differentiate drastically.
According to the city of San Bernardino website; the earnings of a firefighter in the city of San Bernardino is between $67,234.56 to $89,561.64 a year. If they have a paramedic license the average earning is raised a certain percentage depending on the department. This does not include overtime.
According to Glassdoor.com, American Medical Response, a private 911 ambulance company, EMTs earn around $30,576 annually before over time, and paramedics earn around $42,336 annually before over time.
Students on campus were asked what they thought EMTs and paramedics earned on private ambulances. Half the answers were spot on while the other half thought they earned more.
“I Think EMTs make around $12 an hour and paramedics start at $15 to $20 an hour,” said Victor Valley College student Zac Duardo.
Those numbers were about accurate.
In addition to that, all interviewees knew that the local fire departments made more money than the private ambulance services, but were not sure how much more.
After being informed on what a firefighter in the Inland Empire makes on average, the students were asked if they believe that emergency medical services (EMS) personnel on a private ambulance are under paid.
All of the student
answers stated EMS personnel were under paid.
“They’re underpaid because their job is physically demanding and the long hours are straining on a person’s life,” said student Edwin Nava.
“The cost to profit ratio is heavily skewed to benefiting the employers as opposed to the employees, and the amount of certifications they have to obtain and maintain to keep their jobs,” added Nava.
In addition, a student brought up the fact that location also plays a role when it comes to earnings.
“They’re underpaid, because California is an expensive state,” said Duardo.
“Even $15 an hour isn’t enough. You need a spouse to be making a sufficient amount of income to be independent,” added Duardo.
This is an important and crucial factor for those in the EMS field who desire to be independent. They are restricted to their minute finances regardless of how frugal they may be.
Residents believe that California is an expensive state to live in. The current wages that all ambulance employers are paying, whether they are a 911 contract or inter-facility transporters (IFT), do not pay enough for EMS personnel to have a comfortable lifestyle.
Granted, there is hope because California has passed a law that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2022.
As a result, EMS employers will have to respect the new law and give raises to all employees so they are making above minimum wage.
Once a $15 minimum wage is reached in 2022, EMTs will most likely average around $17 to $18 an hour and paramedics will average around $20 to $25 an hour which will be much more appropriate and fair compensation for the work they do in their local communities.
Unfortunately, it will still be some time before these needed raises go into effect at privately contracted institutions.