How To Double Your EMT Income

Would you like to make twice as much money as you do right now? You could do it. …No, really, you could. And it wouldn’t involve getting a second job or knocking off an armored truck. You could do it by answering a single question. You probably don’t believe me. That’s OK. I expected a large percentage of my blogs readers wouldn’t buy it. I mean…I didn’t say you could earn ten percent more money or fifty percent more money. I said double. That’s a good chunk. But it’s true.

Someone told me this once and I did choose to believe it. I earnestly began trying to answer the question. And it worked for me. When I came up with the right answer, and it wasn’t even the perfect answer, it more than doubled my income.

Now you want to know the question right?

If you want to double your income, seek to answer this question relentlessly: “How can I be ten times more valuable to my employer and my industry?” That’s it.

If you relentlessly seek to add more value for your employer and your industry, you’ll make more money.

Your first reaction may be one of frustration. You may feel like the question is some sort of scam. That’s understandable. There are a lot of people out there trying to scam you. Skepticism is a rational response. I don’t blame you if you’re thinking, “That’s impossible!” If you believe it’s impossible that just means that you haven’t come up with the right answers yet.

Granted, it’s a hard question. If it was an easy question it probably wouldn’t have the power to double your income.

Here are a few of the wrong answers people get stuck on. (There are many.):

1.) Earning a degree. – Earning your degree might make you appear more valuable. It might qualify you to perform a more valuable role or function in some organizations. It certainly enriches you. But a degree, in-and-of-itself, does nothing to add real value to your work for anyone other than you. Your patients won’t pay more money for a ride to the hospital from you simply because you have a degree in your pocket. It’s a piece of paper.

2.) Working more hours. – Doing more of the same thing that you’ve already been doing is the easiest and most obvious answer. This is why I asked you to focus on being ten times more valuable. It rules out the easiest answer. You couldn’t possibly work ten times more hours or run ten times more calls. Yet, some will try.

The problem with doing more is that there is a point of diminishing returns. As you work more hours, your free time becomes more and more valuable. At some point the trade off isn’t worth it. Time is a precious asset and most of us in EMS spend to much of it in our ambulances. You need a better answer.

Here are a few good answers. (There are also many.):

1.) Increase employer recognition. – I don’t mean send your boss a thank you card. I mean, go do some stuff that makes people look at your employer in a favorable light. If your patient says, “Thank you.” at the end of the call, you’ve provided the value you are already paid to provide. If the charity event that you’ve organized makes local news stations show up in from of the local Save-Mart to talk about the great things the local ambulance service is doing for the community, now you’re adding more value.

2.) Increase employer services or reduce expenses. – If you design a method to expand your existing infrastructure to provide medical billing for three more companies or tap into a new transport market or reduce vehicle service and maintenance expenses or turn your continuing education program into a paid online CE provider or help your organization become a critical care transport service provider, now you’re providing real value.

3.) Become a knowledge matter expert. – If you become the local WMD expert or Hazmat trainer or street drug recognition expert or online education specialist or social media PIO, now you’re providing real value.

None of these things increase your value ten fold. You can’t do that over a weekend. You’ll have to be tenacious. You’ll have to show up and do it again and again. And each time that you do, you’ll become more and more indispensable to your employer. Before you know it, your paycheck will reflect your value. It works like magic.

But you have to make the first move. You can’t decide you’re going to become more valuable after you get paid more money. That’s what everyone thinks. It doesn’t work. You have to begin.

So begin.

I’d like to know what you think about that. How will you add ten times more value?

Read more stuff like this:

You Bet Your Life

The Illusion of Control

The Non-Conformist’s Guide is Here!

8 Tragic EMS Behavior Flaws to Avoid

Where Do You Put The Fear?


  1. The first part of the answer should be follow suggstions in previous post ( You bet your life) I work for more then one agency right now and wether you are the best provider or the worst, contribute or don’t, you’re getting a 2% raise at evaluation time

  2. Steve Whitehead says:

    @Steve I agree. Some folks aren’t going to be willing to pay you more no matter how talented you are. But that can be a cop-out too. “Why even try? They’ll just say thanks and give me my two percent.”

    Just because you’re stuck in a wage matrix doesn’t mean they can’t find better ways to compensate you if they want you to stay bad enough. The first thing that might happen is they might decide that your talents are better severed if you’re not on an ambulance all the time.

    If you’re providing real value it will be easier to find the next great gig. When you step outside the normal job functions, opportunities rain from the sky. Then you get to ask your current employer questions like, “This firm is willing to pay me $90.00 per hour to do X. What could we do to advance my compensation here to make staying more appealing?”

    They better have a good answer…or they can just miss you when your gone.

  3. Steve Whitehead says:

    The only caveat is, you have to be doing things that add REAL value. If you aren’t making them a bunch of money, saving them a bunch of money,or providing things that others can’t (or won’t) you can’t expect to talk big dollars. And you can’t say “if” you pay me…I’ll do these great things. You have to do them. Until you’re consistently adding real value beyond your job description, you just can’t have these kinds of conversations.

    Once you are, these conversations are easy.

  4. Wendy Howell says:

    Excellent webpage, Steve. I couldn’t remember your blog title so I googled “EMT blog” and lo and behold you were number seven on the first page! Great writing and excellent info. Great to see you in California.

  5. This reminds me of something my dad always used to say. He’d say, “You don’t want to spend quality time with your family. You want spend QUANTITY time with your family, and let work have your quality time.” Basically what he meant is that work can own you for your 40 (or however many hours) every week, and you should give them your very best while you belong to them. But then you put your foot down and spend your quantity time with your loved ones, otherwise you will be the father, uncle, brother (or mother, aunt, sister) that’s there for Christmas and Easter, and the occasional birthday party. You need quantity time to build relationships.

  6. George Sladky says:

    I have done item #1 “do some stuff that makes people look at your employer in a favorable light”…aside from smiling, being attendant and good natured with customers/patients and wishing them well at the conclusion of our service, I noticed that people don’t know what to do when an emergency vehicle gets behind him them.
    I am a member of the Sports Car Club of America and our local Region puts on a Street Survival class to teach 16-21 yr old drivers what they don’t teach in driver’s school. I persuaded my company to donate an ambulance for a couple of hours. I give a classroom lesson on emergency vehicle etiquette and then bring them out side to see the flashing lights, hear the sirens and tour the ambulance. Our club takes lots of photos and we use them to promote the class, at places like the Greater Milwaukee auto show. Don’t think it’s increased my bottom line, but I feel positive about the fact that there are 20 kids my partner won’t curse because they didn’t get out the way! Check out local auto clubs who have similar courses, they would love your involvement.


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