EMS Salaries: How Much Do EMTs and Paramedics Make in Chicago

Becoming a paramedic is a noble career choice. Especially in a city like Chicago, the demand for EMTs and paramedics is always high. But, it’s also a job, and you need to get paid for it. Discover how much paramedics make in Chicago and what salary expectations you should have when you work in EMS.

How Much Do EMTs Make in Chicago?

In Illinois, there are four levels of EMT certification:

  • EMR
  • EMT-Basic
  • EMT-Paramedic
  • Critical Care EMT-P

Each EMT level presents its unique skill set and knowledge base. Through experience, additional training, and certifications, EMTs can advance through different levels of EMT licensure.

However, licensing and responsibilities aren’t the only differences between the levels of EMT. Different qualifications earn different salaries.

ZipRecruiter quotes the average annual salary of an EMR at $39,011 in Chicago.

According to Indeed, the average annual salary for an EMT-B working in Chicago is $30,164. That translates into an average wage of $12.93 per hour. That’s 18% below the national average.

At Elite Ambulance, EMRs earn $42,000* per year. And the annual salary of an EMT is $51,480* before taxes. We’re proud to compensate our hard-working emergency medical technicians fairly in Chicago.

How Much Do Paramedics Make in Chicago?

According to salary.com, the average yearly paramedic salary starts at $48,668 in Chicago. However, they can earn as high as $54,625.

Paramedic salaries at Elite Ambulance start at $68,640/year. And if you have a CCEMT-P (Critical Care Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic) certificate, you can earn as high as $67,000 with us.*

Wages in the field vary widely depending on several factors, including: 

  • Experience
  • Education level
  • Additional skills
  • Certifications

Illinois paramedics receive their paramedic license from the state’s Department of Public Health. The paramedic’s official title is EMT-P, and it’s the highest EMT role recognized by the state.

A paramedic will provide the same level of care as the EMT and will have completed an EMT training program. But a Chicago paramedic also receives advanced training to perform intubations, defibrillate cardiac arrest patients, and administer medications.

A paramedic gains a broader understanding of human anatomy and physiology through their training. As students, a paramedic receives extensive clinical training in hospital settings and field experience riding on ambulances. A paramedic license reflects the highest level of EMS training available.

The general requirements necessary to become a Chicago paramedic include:

  • A current EMT-Basic license from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
  • A current CPR certification
  • A letter from an employer verifying six months or more of experience working as an EMT-B
  • Letters of recommendation that outline character and strengths
  • A background check
  • Verification of immunization and blood titer test results
  • Proof of health insurance

There may be other requirements depending on the program provider.

Paramedic programs are the equivalent of two-year college degrees with 1200-1800 hours of training required to enter the EMS field as a certified paramedic.

Taking the national exam (NREMT) is required country wide as of last year. Then, you go on to get your state license. Having national certification also opens the possibility of a career in other states.

While most Chicago paramedics work on ambulances, responding to emergencies, and transporting patients, that’s not a paramedic’s only option. Certified Chicago paramedics must quickly assess patients in emergencies, promptly react, and provide on-the-spot emergency care. The job requires quick thinking, the ability to remain calm in high-pressure situations, and problem-solving skills.

Demand for certified trained paramedics and paramedics seeking to work with helicopter and air transport, air rescue groups, fire services, police and SWAT teams, ocean rescue, and other environments is growing.

Why EMT and Paramedic Salaries Differ

To become a member of the EMS staff, whether as an EMT or a paramedic, takes dedication, drive, and a desire to help others in their most desperate hour. 

Yet, salaries among EMS staff in Chicago vary greatly based on various factors: 

  • Where the EMS worker is employed
  • Whether the EMS worker is an EMT or a paramedic
  • Their experience in the field
  • What additional training and certification they may have, above and beyond the required training for their specific area

The salary gap is widest between EMTs and paramedics because their job functions are pretty different. Although both provide care to patients at the emergency scene and during transport to a medical facility, paramedics perform a more advanced level of medical care to a patient. 

While an EMT will perform basic medical procedures such as administering CPR, oxygen, or glucose to an injured patient, paramedics typically perform more complex medical procedures like hooking up IV lines, administering drugs, and other functions.

As a result, Chicago paramedics typically earn a higher wage than Chicago EMTs.

Start Your Career in EMS with Elite Ambulance

Whether you’re just about to start training, or you already have certificates and experience in your sleeve, the best place to be an EMT or paramedic in Chicago is Elite Ambulance.

We treat all our EMRs, EMTs, and paramedics with respect, and part of that is fair compensation. We’re proud to offer a salary above the national average.

So, if you’re interested in becoming an EMT, sign up for our EMT-B course with guaranteed work placement. 

Or, if you have an EMT-B or higher certification already, reach out to us to see how you can advance your career at Elite Ambulance in Chicago!



*Figures based on 50-hour workweeks, before Illinois average income tax.

Comments are closed.