Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) work in an exciting, but stressful field. As first responders, these professionals make decisions on a daily basis that greatly impact the care and outcomes for patients in an emergency scenario. Emergency Medical Services also report a far higher incidence of injury and death on the job than any other equivalent profession. Most EMTs and paramedics choose the field because they love the work. With the high level of stress associated with the profession, it’s important to choose a location where the best quality of life is possible, on the job and off the clock.
Arizona offers a great life quality for Paramedics and EMTs. In the top 20 cities, four are in the state of Arizona. Of those, three are in the top 10. Of these cities in Arizona, all have a lower than average crime rate and the cost of living is on average with a paramedic/EMT’s salary.
Low population cities are heavily represented. The average population in the top 20 cities was 54,000. The overall dataset’s average was 160,000. Areas with less congestion and residents yielded a better overall quality of life for this profession.
Western states don’t feature many cities in the top 100 list. Although California’s Santa Rosa is featured in the top 10 best cities and Washington’s cities are heavily represented throughout the top 100, many western states are not represented at all. No cities from Oregon, Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming proved to be advantageous for this profession.
Southern cities are among the best for EMTs and paramedics. Of the top 20 cities represented, seven of them are southern states. Georgia is well represented on this list, with two cities in the top 10 and three in the top 20.
Top US Cities for Paramedics and EMTs
#1 – Gainesville, GA
Gainesville is located a little under 50 miles from Atlanta. It’s a predominantly blue-collar city with the largest percentage of residents working in construction and manufacturing. Gainesville enjoys a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the state of Georgia. With several hospitals and dozens of healthcare facilities, paramedics and EMTs enjoy a short commute to work and a lower than average mortgage/rent.
#2 – Johnstown, PA
Johnstown is a small city with a population of just over 21,000 residents. Healthcare is one of the chief occupations in Johnstown, making employment plentiful for those who work as a paramedic or EMT. Located about 67 miles from Pittsburgh, Johnstown houses two colleges – Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Residents enjoy an excellent quality of life in Johnstown with numerous activities, excellent schools, and an active community.
#3 – Rochester, MN
One of the larger cities to make this list, Rochester has a population of 114,008. It also boasts one of the most prestigious healthcare organizations in the world – the Mayo Clinic is located in Rochester. Rochester boasts a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the state and a lower crime rate than the national average. There are numerous hospitals located here and the most common profession among residents is in the healthcare field.
#4 – Lewiston, ME
The population of Lewiston is a little over 36,000 with a median income of $38,476. The income is lower than that of the state but the median home value is also lower, making the area comfortable and affordable. The crime rate in Lewiston is significantly lower than the national average. Here 7% of the population works in healthcare and social services. There are several colleges in the city, including Central Maine Medical Center College of Nursing and Health Professions.
#5 – Rome, GA
With a population of over 36,000, this is the largest city in the northwest of Georgia. Rome has a storied history and offers beautiful scenery. The city offers numerous historical tours and festivals for citizens and tourists to enjoy. There are several colleges located in Rome and 11 hospitals, offering many employment options for those in the medical field. The cost of living is significantly lower than the national average.
#6 – Auburn, ME
Auburn is a small city with a population of 22,912. They boast a little something for everyone with a small town friendliness. Auburn offers great parks and recreational activities, good schools, and an active community culture. The crime rate in Auburn is far lower than the national average and 7% of the residents work in healthcare. Central Maine Community College is located in Auburn, while 7 other Universities are within a drivable radius.
#7 – Kingman, AZ
Located on Route 66 in northern Arizona, Kingman boasts a great reverence to the history of the storied road, as well as it’s local art and culture. The population is 28,549 with a median income above the national average, though slightly below the state average. Mohave Community College is located in Kingman with several other universities and colleges within a short distance. There are 7 hospitals and healthcare centers in Kingman and 12% of the residents work in healthcare or social assistance.
#8 – Prescott, AZ
Prescott offers a little bit of everything for its residents. Located in the central part of the state, they see an influx of tourism and enjoy a more moderate temperature than southern Arizona. Prescott is a larger city compared to others in the top 20, with 40,958 residents. The median income is about average for the state with the median home value significantly higher. The crime rate and unemployment rate are both below the national average. 12% of the residents in Prescott work in healthcare or social services and there are several hospitals and healthcare organizations within the city.
#9 – Santa Rosa, CA
Santa Rosa has a population of 175,143. It’s a larger city but it’s probably best known for its wineries. The median income and home prices here are slightly above the average for the state, making them significantly higher than the national average. Santa Rosa enjoys a low crime rate and low unemployment. There are 10 hospitals in this city and 8% of the residents work in healthcare.
#10 – Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff has a population of 71,455. There’s plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast. Flagstaff is surrounded by mountains with plenty of pine trees, local hiking and skiing. The median income and home value here is significantly higher than the state average. It’s a tourist town, so there are plenty of local attractions year long. There are 8 medical centers and hospitals located in the city and 5% of residents work in healthcare.
#11 – Billerica, MA
Located in Middlesex County, Billerica has a population of just over 40,000. There are plenty of well-maintained state parks and forest preserves, as well as a number of historical sights. The median income and home value here is well above average for the state and nation. They also feature a practically nonexistent crime rate. There are several hospitals and care facilities located within Billerica and the quality of life here is excellent.
#12 – Albany, GA
Albany, located in the southwest part of the state, has a population of 74,905. It’s located on the Flint River, which is why the city originally sprang up, for its access. Once an agricultural center, today healthcare, manufacturing, and education are some of the most common industries among residents. There are several hospitals and nursing facilities in Albany. Recreationally, there’s plenty of family-oriented events and outdoor activities easily accessible.
#13 – Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic City only has a population of 39,415. But it’s a resort town with a regular influx of tourists and visitors who take advantage of the many attractions the city has to offer and provide a large part of the economy. The largest employer here is in the food and entertainment services field, but 5% of residents do work in healthcare. There are 9 hospitals and healthcare facilities located in Atlantic City, offering plenty of employment opportunities for those in the healthcare field. They are also centrally located with access to several colleges and universities.
#14 – Douglas, AZ
Douglas is a small city with a population of only 16,744. Douglas is at the southern part of the state, sharing a border with Mexico. The area is rich in Spanish and native history. Douglas was once a mining town. It can be appealing for those who enjoy that time period. The median income here is lower than the rest of the state but home prices and cost of living are also significantly more affordable. For those in healthcare, there several hospitals and healthcare centers located in the city.
#15 – Lake Charles, LA
Lake Charles has a population of 76,848. It’s called a city of lakes because it’s surrounded by lakes, which also makes it a great cultural center with plenty of outdoor activities as well as museums and events. With 10 hospitals and medical centers located in Lake Charles, 6% of the residents work in a health-related field.
#16 – Salisbury, MD
The population of Salisbury is 32,563. It’s a lovely coastal town, or as the website describes, “Salisbury is Maryland’s coastal college town…” Healthcare and social assistance are prominent industries, with 7% of residents working in these fields. There are several colleges and universities in traveling distance and 3 located in Salisbury. For paramedics and EMTs, there are four hospitals here and several other types of medical and nursing centers.
#17 – Tyler, TX
Tyler is in the central part of the state and has a population of 104,796. Tyler boasts more culture and innovation than other areas in the state and serves as a hub for education, technology and health services. There are ten hospitals in Tyler with 9% of the residents working in the healthcare field. There are also several universities and colleges within the city.
#18 – Gadsden, AL
This city has a population of 36,295. It’s about 50 miles away from Birmingham – close enough to travel for culture and attractions. Gadsden can boast a much lower cost of living than the national average. About 6% of the residents work in the healthcare industry and there are 5 hospitals in the city.
#19 – Greenville, NC
Greenville has a population of 91,500. Greenville has a great deal to offer in entertainment, outdoor recreation, and education. There are several colleges and universities located in Greenville, including the Brody School of Medicine. There are 7 hospitals located in Greenville and a full 10% of the residents work in a health-related field.
#20 – Ocean City, NJ
This city has a small population of 11,374. It’s a coastal area of beaches and boardwalks – a favorite spot for tourists and regular vacationers. The median home value here is far higher than the state average and the crime rate is quite a bit lower. There are eight hospitals and healthcare centers in or near Ocean City as well as several colleges and universities.
Top Ranked Cities by Population
The 645 cities and towns that were analyzed for this report had a wide range of population counts. To further analyze the data we took a look at the rankings by population breakdown. Below are the top 30 ranked cities and towns in four distinct population ranges.
These are some of the highest populated cities in the US (over 500,000), Seattle, WA came in first, followed by Washington, DC and Fort Worth, TX. Six cities in Texas made the top 30, followed by five in California, which is not surprising as these cities are major urban city centers.
These cities are larger cities with a slightly smaller population range than the previous chart (100,000 to 500,000). With a slightly smaller population size there is a greater variety in where these cities are located, however, Washington’s cities made up the largest portion of the top 30 with six cities represented.
With the decrease in the population range (30,000 to 100,000), these cities tend to be even more spread out with 15 different states represented in the top 30. Gainesville, GA took the top spot, but once again Washington was represented well with five more cities in the top 30.
With the smallest population range featured here, these cities tend to be mostly suburban or even rural. Alabama had the most representation in the under 30,000 ranking with seven cities and towns making the list.
How did your state rank in the report? Hover over the US map to see the top-ranked cities per state. Arizona came in first in our analysis followed closely by Georgia and Washington.
Salary By State
Salary was one of the primary ranking factors in the analysis. Below is a US map showing the average salary for paramedics and EMT workers in the US.
To determine the top-ranked cities in America for paramedics and EMTs, we evaluated all of the data available for 645 different cities across the nation. Our final categorization was based primarily on five categories which we weighted by level of importance to those in the profession.
35% Mean Salary of EMTs Paramedics/EMTs by City
5% FBI Crime Data
25% Location Quotient for Paramedics/EMTs (Share of employment in the City vs National Average)
15% Paramedic Job Projection
20% Cost of Living