Report: Iowa city #1 for EMTs and paramedics

Ranking is based on analysis and comparison of salary, cost of living, job availability and local amenities in 750 US cities

By Grayson Schmidt
Ames Tribune, Iowa

AMES, Iowa — Ames is the top place in the country for EMTs and paramedics to live and work, according to a recent report by the data gathering company GoodCall Data Center.

The report is based off a study done by the data science team at GoodCall, which uses data science to create aggregated reports to help consumers make decisions about their careers and college choices, among other things.

The study is comprised of an analysis of salary, cost of living, job availability and the number of local amenities. After analyzing 750 cities across the U.S., gathering data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The U.S. Census Bureau and, it was determined that Ames was the best area for a career as an emergency medical responder.

Jeff Larson, a paramedic with Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, has been working in Ames for around 20 years and understands how this area could be recognized as the best.

“It’s a big enough city that you get a lot of different types of calls, and you never know what you’re going to come across. But then it’s not like a large city where you have lots of bad things going on,” he told the Ames Tribune. “We do cover quite a large area, besides Ames. So our response area is much more than just here in town.”

Apart from the size, Larson, who grew up in the area, said it is the people that make Ames an ideal place to live and work.

“It’s just a nice Iowa town where mostly everybody is friendly,” he said.

Ames claimed the top spot for competitive EMT and paramedic salaries, as well as affordable housing, great amenities and an attractive job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average EMT or paramedic salary in Ames is around $44,430. The city then ranked 35 out of 539 cities in terms of employment attractiveness, which measures the number of available jobs weighted with job competition in the area.

According to Paul Southerland, lead analyst at GoodCall, the study was designed to help people in the profession make the most informed decisions about where to continue their careers.

“Emergency medical technicians and paramedics are the first ones to the scene in the event of a medical emergency, and they have one of the most stressful jobs,” Southerland said.“Our goal was to identify the places where EMTs and paramedics can make a great living with affordable housing and a comfortable lifestyle.”

It is no secret that being an EMT or a paramedic can be difficult and often stressful. According to the study, they experience work-related illnesses and injuries at a much higher level than the average worker, and are also often required to work long hours and irregular schedules.

Despite all of that, Larson said he loves what he does and that he became a paramedic for the same reason as others in the profession _ to help people.

“I also kind of found a knack for being able to handle situations where people were in need,” Larson said. “I wanted to help fill that void of health care workers in this line of work.”


©2015 the Ames Tribune, Iowa

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