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A roadmap to raising paramedic pay

Chief Paramedic Mark Lockhart shares the 9-month process Durham EMS underwent to significantly increase EMS salaries

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This episode of EMS One-Stop With Rob Lawrence is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

Durham County, North Carolina, commissioners recently passed a pay increase for paramedics. The increase, which went into effect in August, took the starting hourly rate for paramedics from $20.84 to $28.25. Officials said the current staff will receive this rate and a multiplier based on their years of service to determine their final salary.

One of the catalysts for this change occurred when Durham EMS Chief Paramedic, Mark Lockhart, read an article by Lexipol Editorial Director, Greg Friese, MS, NRP, “Pay paramedics a thriving wage to end the retention crisis,” and was inspired by the approach Greg suggested. “The thriving wage initiative was born,” Lockhart noted.

Across the board (EMT, AEMT, paramedics and supervisors), the average increase is 16.8%. For paramedics, the average salary increase was 25%. “We’re still facing recruitment challenges, but our retention significantly improved,” Lockhart wrote EMS1.

In this week’s podcast, Host Rob Lawrence welcomes both Mark Lockhart and Greg Friese to discuss the process that Durham EMS went through to achieve their increase as well as the pay situation across the EMS profession at the moment.


Read more:

Pay paramedics a thriving wage to end the retention crisis

Paramedics: don’t settle for a living wage. Instead, be audacious and demand a thriving wage for your lifesaving career of community service

Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. He is currently the director of strategic implementation for PRO EMS and its educational arm, Prodigy EMS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and part-time executive director of the California Ambulance Association.

He previously served as the chief operating officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Additionally, he served as COO for Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California.

Prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 2008, Rob served as the COO for the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk County, England, and as the executive director of operations and service development for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust. Rob is a former Army officer and graduate of the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served worldwide in a 20-year military career encompassing many prehospital and evacuation leadership roles.

Rob is a board member of the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) as well as chair of the American Ambulance Association’s State Association Forum. He writes and podcasts for EMS1 and is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Connect with him on Twitter.