Love the job, hate the salary...

SPGMED

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Hey guys. So I am here to pose an age old problem but looking for fresh ideas on how to solve it. Suffice to say that people in EMS are not in it for the money. However, I know I am not the only career paramedic suffering from hypo-fund-anemia. My question to everyone is, what sort of non-EMS related endeavors have you become involved with in order to help with the low EMS paycheck? Has anyone left their life in EMS to start something else (outside of the usual nursing, PA, physician career paths)?
 

TransportJockey

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I moved to a place that gave me a paycheck I could live on. But otherwise, I teach and have a photography business on the side.
 
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SPGMED

SPGMED

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I moved to a place that gave me a paycheck I could live on. But otherwise, I teach and have a photography business on the side.

Haha that is a fair statement. I suppose what I am asking is the idea that can one live off of a paramedic paycheck alone? If so, I would be curious to learn where they work.
 

TransportJockey

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Can and have several times. Making close to 50k/yr as a medic and much more as a flight medic made it easy to live on just my EMS check. The photography and teaching I do because I enjoy it, not neccessarily for the money.
 

Tigger

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As an early 20s person with no wife or kids, I can survive on my EMT wages (from a semi-government service). I work at other places for "play" money. I work more hours than most of my contemporaries but I make about the same or more money. And realistically my primary job is slow enough that I can take care of a lot of non-work (studying) so I can still use my day off.
 

akflightmedic

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****Please do not take this as a personal attack****

I have personally counseled MANY students and employees on financial management. I am in no way certified or licensed to do so, I just have a lot of common sense and personal experience.

However, I have found your statement is true to not only EMS, but just about every other entry level career out there. It is called LOW MIDDLE CLASS.

The salaries are actually enough, it all boils down to how you manage your finances and how you identify wants versus needs. These are often VERY muddy waters with most people as we do not teach enough of this in schools nor do families typically discuss this with their kids because they themselves are not practicing what they would preach and are embarrassed.

I will step off my soapbox but it is possible to survive on an EMS wage (I do not dispute it should be higher with certain other caveats), it is a matter of personal discipline.

The one major PRO about EMS is the scheduling usually allows us enough time off to pursue hobbies, second jobs or second careers.

End brief lecture.
 

ExpatMedic0

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A lot of my coworkers do real estate ventures on the side, mostly as landlords, but also buying and selling. I also worked with a couple who did day trading, and lastly I have worked with a couple who also owned small businesses (candy shop, bar, freelance writer, ect). Depending on how your shifts work, you maybe left with not only a lot of down time at work, but multiple days off in a row, allowing you to dabble on the side. I am considering trying to get into EMS research while still working as a field provider down the line. Only time will will tell if I stick with this plan.
 
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SPGMED

SPGMED

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****Please do not take this as a personal attack****

I have personally counseled MANY students and employees on financial management. I am in no way certified or licensed to do so, I just have a lot of common sense and personal experience.

However, I have found your statement is true to not only EMS, but just about every other entry level career out there. It is called LOW MIDDLE CLASS.

The salaries are actually enough, it all boils down to how you manage your finances and how you identify wants versus needs. These are often VERY muddy waters with most people as we do not teach enough of this in schools nor do families typically discuss this with their kids because they themselves are not practicing what they would preach and are embarrassed.

I will step off my soapbox but it is possible to survive on an EMS wage (I do not dispute it should be higher with certain other caveats), it is a matter of personal discipline.

The one major PRO about EMS is the scheduling usually allows us enough time off to pursue hobbies, second jobs or second careers.

End brief lecture.

I would actually consider this to be a fair assessment. By no means am I saying that you absolutely cannot live on a paramedic's salary. Rather, I am suggesting the idea that surely not everyone in EMS is OK making the salary they are making at their full-time job. At the same time, a lot of us do what we do because we enjoy it. That brings me to the original question of "what non-EMS ventures do you find yourself doing (if any)?" You are correct that it is how you manage your finances. That being said, I chose to pose this question as a catalyst for discussion on alternatives to working strictly within EMS to pull out of that low middle class socioeconomic category.
 
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SPGMED

SPGMED

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A lot of my coworkers do real estate ventures on the side, mostly as landlords, but also buying and selling. I also worked with a couple who did day trading, and lastly I have worked with a couple who also owned small businesses (candy shop, bar, freelance writer, ect). Depending on how your shifts work, you maybe left with not only a lot of down time at work, but multiple days off in a row, allowing you to dabble on the side. I am considering trying to get into EMS research while still working as a field provider down the line. Only time will will tell if I stick with this plan.

Very cool ExpatMedic0. EMS research is one of those upcoming areas that might afford some interesting opportunities as it increases in popularity. Good luck!
 

Chewy20

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Our medics are making between 44k-100k base salary depending on how long they have been here and their rank. Handful make over 100k easily with the OT they pick up.
 

johnrsemt

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I worked retail for 13 years, had good salary, but hated my job; I started EMS making less per hour, but I got this funny thing on my checks I hadn't seen for 13 years, OVERTIME. Ended up making more money than retail.
Now I work somewhere that I make $60K+ a year before OT, and expenses are low
 

NomadicMedic

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While working in DE as a medic, I made over 60k with a moderate amount of OT. The cost of living was low and the pay was more than enough to live on comfortably.

If you want to make decent money, find an agency that pays well and stay for a while.
 

ExpatMedic0

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ya if your willing to relocate anywhere for a good paying gig, its definitely possible. I think its also worth mentioning that at even at a "good paying" gig, lots of medics still have side jobs like the ones I mentioned, simply due to excess days off, depending on your shifts and call frequency of course.
 

StCEMT

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I've heard a lot of places in my area pay well (kind of including FD in this). However, I've also heard my county medics are paid very well. I know one who broke 100k last year. If I didn't have other plans, I would definitely consider sticking around here to work.
 

ExpatMedic0

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There are multiple variables to consider when analyzing how good an EMS salary is. Cost of living various dramatically from city to city, area to area, ect. You can compare and contrast some with the JEMS salary and workplace survey. However, from my own personal experience a single role transporting paramedic working for a private ambulance company will start at around 40k a year and after 5-10 years on the job and maintain 50-60k a year for the rest of a 20 year career excluding OT. That figure is not exact in anyway, just based on my own experiences on the west coast and pacific northwest. As a paramedic contractor in the gulf I made about 80-85k a year after takes(its tax exclusion) and here in Denmark guys seem to be pulling between 54k-63k a year before any overtime or taxes. When I started as an EMT I made about 15k a year, 8.00 an hour part time in 2002-2003 in southern Oregon
 

Tigger

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Cost of living is one of the big reasons I live where I do. There are many places in Colorado I would prefer to live, but it's tough to beat paying 1600 a month for a 10 year old 4 bed room house in a decent neighborhood. I made 20% more as a no experience EMT in Boston, but I could never have survived on that and had the lifestyle I wanted.
 

Carlos Danger

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I've always thought the "paramedics make no money" complaint was WAAAY overblown. Ten years ago I was doing OK supporting a family on $40k/year working two 24 hour shifts a week, and adding probably $15k or so more by working a little OT and prn jobs. I was pretty busy but still had more days off a week than someone who works a 9-5. Those types of arrangements aren't hard to find.

Yes, there are many places paramedics don't make much money. There are also places where they do pretty well. Yes, there are plenty of professions that consistently pay much better than EMS. There are multiple reasons for these things, but I can't think of any profession where compensation doesn't vary widely from place to place. I've known lots of people (including my own family) who had to relocate for better opportunities.

The bottom line is that you can do just fine as a paramedic as long as you are willing to go where the good jobs are. If you aren't willing to do that and there are only lousy jobs where you live, that's on you, not the paramedic profession.
 

Parameduck

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There are multiple variables to consider when analyzing how good an EMS salary is. Cost of living various dramatically from city to city, area to area, ect. You can compare and contrast some with the JEMS salary and workplace survey. However, from my own personal experience a single role transporting paramedic working for a private ambulance company will start at around 40k a year and after 5-10 years on the job and maintain 50-60k a year for the rest of a 20 year career excluding OT. That figure is not exact in anyway, just based on my own experiences on the west coast and pacific northwest. As a paramedic contractor in the gulf I made about 80-85k a year after takes(its tax exclusion) and here in Denmark guys seem to be pulling between 54k-63k a year before any overtime or taxes. When I started as an EMT I made about 15k a year, 8.00 an hour part time in 2002-2003 in southern Oregon

Where did you work in the Northwest? I am currently in Eugene Oregon
 

SandpitMedic

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I'm on the follow the money train as well. You just have to go where the pay doesn't suck.
 
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