If you’re considering the EMS work and want to become an EMT or paramedic, a good thing to do is weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this line of work, and really spend some time critically analyzing the daily life of EMTs and paramedics.
In this post I’d like to give more detail on the tremendous advantages of EMS work to help you with your decision. As with all career choices, deciding whether to pursue a given career is not a black and white decision, but rather a question of choosing the “right fit” according to your natural proficiencies, what kind of work you enjoy, the lifestyle you wish to lead, among many other variables. So let’s get into the details below:
Advantages of EMS Work
Job Security – EMS work is extremely secure, especially once you prove yourself on the job. There are many other lines of work EMTs and paramedics can transition to if they wish, such as firefighters, nurses, police officers, firefighter/paramedics, and many other allied healthcare positions. Healthcare as a whole is one of the largest and most stable industries as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS expects tremendous growth (from 15% – 32%) in most allied healthcare jobs through 2018. In fact, ten of the twenty fastest growing jobs are in healthcare. See the BLS Healthcare Career Guide for much more in depth information.
Diverse Work Environment – No two days will be the same as an EMT or paramedic. Each case you handle, which most of the time will be several (up to 20) per day will obviously be for a different person with their own individual illness or accident and medical needs.
Every Day Is Different – Similarly to the previous item, every day is different since EMTs and Paramedics are called on to assist a different person in a different location multiple times a day. There is no sitting behind a desk or computer screen doing mundane busy work like most jobs. Most EMTs experience a rush while going on calls and treating others, which is definitely not the case for the majority of jobs.
Lots of Stories to Tell – Being an EMT or paramedic is a story job. You’ll compile a huge list of interesting stories to tell your friends and family for years to come, in fact there’s a new story to tell every day.
Meet New People Everyday – Unfortunately you’ll be meeting people on potentially the worst day of their life, but the one-on-one bond EMTs and paramedic workers make with those they treat is indescribable. A lot of trust is is developed by the patient during the treatment process and don’t be surprised if you become their lifelong hero.
Helping People – Unlike other positions where you feel like just another cog in the wheel, when you have an EMT career, you’re helping others in a tangible way each and every day. This is one of the main reasons people are attracted to EMS work, and most definitively the reason why EMTs and paramedics continue working the job year after year.
Develop People Skills – There’s no better way to develop trust and relationships with people than to help them in such an impactful way. This skill can be transferred to almost any other area of life and is one of the most personally fulfilling and lucrative skills one can develop.
Good Benefits – Obviously salary and benefits will depend on the EMS agency one works for, but here is a list of the New York City EMS benefits*, which is similar to most areas:
- Wide variety of health plans with family and domestic partner coverage
- Three weeks vacation to start (increases to five weeks after eight years)
- Excellent pension benefits which include five year pension vesting and full pension benefits after 25 years of service, regardless of age
- Shift differential, meal money and overtime
- Excellent promotional opportunities
- Deferred compensation, 401K and flexible spending plans
- Veterans’ credits for those who meet the requirements
I’ve tried to cover the most significant benefits, but there are of course hundreds more less significant but very real benefits to EMS work. If you’ve considered becoming an EMT or paramedic, I encourage you to reviewing the various EMT training institutions in your area immediately.
For many, there is simply no other career as rewarding as becoming an EMT or paramedic, and the benefits truly outweigh the drawbacks.
* Source – FDNY EMS Benefits and Salary