Career as a EMT/Paramedic

Getting a Job as an EMT/Paramedic

How does one go from graduate or certificate-holder to EMT or paramedic?

From the application and the interview to where and how you should be looking in the first place, here is our guide for getting that first (or second) gig. Along the way, we'll also ask current professionals about their real-life experiences.

The Application

No employer or position is the same, but most in this field will want to see the following materials as part of your portfolio.

Current driver’s license and ambulance driver certificate
Medical examiner’s certificate
Healthcare provider
CPR card/certification
State EMT certification
College transcript

Given the physical demands of the job, you will also be asked to take a skills-and-agility exam as well as a written exam. Oh, and there'll be a face-to-face interview too...

The Interview

Once your portfolio has been pieced together, the next step is preparing for interview questions that you might encounter. We pulled the most salient questions asked of EMT applicants, according to What would your answers be?

If someone was hurt or in danger of physical harm, and you were on duty driving by to another call, you should do what?Explain how to setup and administer a nebulizer.
You go to on a call for a patient with a valid DNR, as you take vitals, they come up all zeros. What do you do?Why do you want to work for us?
Will you be able to maintain your basic and acquire your advanced EMT license within the next year?You walk into a hospital room with a patient, but the bed’s not ready. What do you do?
What things do you need to look for while inserting an artificial airway?

Asking Your Own Questions

Typically, hiring managers will give you a chance to ask questions near the end of most interviews. What should you be asking?

What will my shift hours be as an EMT/paramedic at this job?How experienced are the other EMTs and paramedics I’ll be working with?
What are the most common emergencies EMTs/paramedics respond to at this job?What role does each EMT/paramedic play in the ambulance?
Does the ambulance crew alternate roles?What’s the maximum weight the ambulance can carry?
How many people may ride in the ambulance with a patient?Have you had any accidents while responding to emergencies?
What’s the average shift length?Why did the last EMT/paramedic leave this position?Is morale an issue for EMTs/paramedics on this job?

Job Boards for EMTs and Paramedics

Beyond making your own connections -- and leveraging your graduate program's -- putting in your application online is the most common way to go. Here are some additional best job boards for EMTs.

  • National Association of EMS Educators
  • EMS Job Center
  • National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Job Board
  • EMS Employment
  • EMS Pursuit
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Where to Be an EMT or Paramedic

Here at ValuePenguin, we have multiple definitions for the word "place." Where you work can refer to your environment, your city and your state. With that said, here are our best places for EMTs to live and work.

"Try to get as varied experience as possible. If you’ve only ever worked rurally, get into the city and vice versa. Try to find positions as helicopter paramedics and in a small team in an emergency response vehicle. The more varied experience you have, the better candidate you will be for a job."

Richard Webber, EMT

Best Cities

At ValuePenguin, we classify the best cities for professionals as those that score well in metrics that all dentists care about: number of jobs, median salary, cost of living and location quotient. We also ask a handful of EMTs about what it's like to work in their cities.

Best States

Look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data for advisement on the state level. For every profession, the BLS breaks down the following.

States with Highest EMT Employment


States with Highest per Capita Employment


States with Highest Annual Average Salary


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