Here’s my homework, Mr. Grayson

Nobody in EMS is paid what they’re worth. 25% are paid far less than what they’re worth, and 75% are paid far more than what they’re worth.”

-Kelly Grayson


I couldn’t have said it better myself. But then, I’m not quite as eloquent as Mr. Grayson.

I would love for us EMSers to make more money. But we don’t deserve it.

The most common argument I hear is “but we do the same work as nurses, we should make the same money.” With all due respect to EMTs, Paramedics, Ambulance Drivers, and Trauma Junkies; that argument doesn’t hold water.

Nurses rarely only have to take care of one patient at a time, and they almost always spend more time than we do with a patient.

Pay is commiserate with your education, and your performance. Or, as my father used to tell me: “You make one dollar per hour for what you can physically do. Every other penny you get is for what you know how to do.”

We, as a profession, aren’t paid more because we haven’t earned it.

Our education requirements are ridiculously low, and some of us get all hot and bothered when others try to improve those requirements.

One year to become a paramedic is not enough time. (I understand you have to have at least EMT-Basic to go to paramedic school. Let’s not argue over another 3 months, please.)

I would advocate doubling the required class hours, as well as clinical hours. Make Paramedic an Associate’s degree program across the board.  Stop letting paramedic students begin their clinical work three weeks after they start classes. I could go on, but won’t.

National Registry is trying to do their part, by requiring paramedic candidates to have graduated from an accredited agency before taking the exam. Registry is trying their hardest to advance our profession. While some of us are trying to make it more difficult.

Join the National Registry, if you aren’t already a member. Get involved in EMS at the local level, state level, and national level. Demand more stringent education requirements, and demand more class and clinical time.

You want to make more money as an EMSer? You want more respect from the medical community? You want more respect from the general public?

Then prove that you deserve it.


  1. It’s not just about education. Until the feds do something about reimbursement, nothing is going to change. Maybe education is the way to make that happen…maybe not. Until we are reimbursed at what we are worth, we will not be paid what we are worth.

  2. How does one “join” the NREMT? I have a certification card from them, but that and the newsletter are about all I get.

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