Washington State, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois and Alaska pay the highest hourly rate for emergency medical technicians and paramedics. The annual mean wages in these states range from $46,430 per year in Alaska to $57,850 in Washington, according to May 2014 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Montana, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma and Kentucky are among the states paying the lowest salaries for these positions, ranging from $20,540 to $30,770 per year.
Other states in the lowest EMT and paramedic salary category are Kansas, Arkansas, Alabama, Ohio and West Virginia. On the other hand, Nevada, Colorado, New York, Connecticut and Maryland are among states in the top EMT/paramedic pay category.
Among metropolitan areas, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco pay EMTs and paramedics best, with annual mean wages of $63,890, $58,610 and $55,560, respectively. Among non-metropolitan areas of the country, EMTs and paramedics do best in Washington State, southwest Alaska, and the Nantucket Island/Martha's Vineyard area of Massachusetts.
Regardless of location, salaries vary based on level of training and professional designation. Salaries also vary by type of employer. Private ambulance companies generally pay less, with hospitals paying in the mid- to upper-salary ranges. Fire departments and government-operated ambulance services usually pay the best.