The objective of this paper is to identify factors associated with compensation for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)-Basics and Paramedics and assess whether these associations have changed over the period 1999-2008.
Data obtained from the Longitudinal EMT Attributes and Demographic Study (LEADS) surveys, a mail survey of a random, stratified sample of nationally certified EMT-Basics and Paramedics, were analyzed. For the 1999-2003 period, analyses included all respondents providing Emergency Medical Services (EMS). With the addition of a survey in 2004 about volunteers, it was possible to exclude volunteers from these analyses.
Over 60% of EMT-Basics reported being either compensated or noncompensated volunteers in the 2004-2008 period. This was substantially and significantly greater than the proportion of EMT-Paramedic volunteers (<25%). The EMT-Paramedics earned significantly more than EMT-Basics, with differentials of $11,000-$18,000 over the course of the study. The major source of earnings disparity was type of organization: respondents employed by fire-based EMS agencies reported significantly higher earnings than other respondents, at both the EMT-Basic and EMT-Paramedic levels. Males also earned significantly more than females, with annual earnings differentials ranging from $7,000 to $15,000.
There are a number of factors associated with compensation disparities within the EMS profession. These include type of service (ie, fire-based vs. other types of agencies) and gender. The reasons for these disparities warrant further investigation.
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