it depends on a few things like what city and state you work in. it also depends on the company you work for, what kind of shifts they work(8,10,12,24 hr shifts), if the company is union or not and the local economy. which now-a-days sucks everywhere. the good news is that the EMS field, up to this point, is recession proof. by this i mean that i havent felt the hit of the recession. Emergency medicine is always going to be needed, there is no way to deny that these jobs will always exist. so to answer your question, i will give you some examples from my area which in the central valley in california. the economy around here has been hit pretty good just like everywhere else in the country. house prices are at an all time low. cost of living is low. at my company a medic starts of at 13.50 an hour. we work 60 hour weeks, which is two 24 hour shifts and one 12 hour shift. thats a gauranteed 20 hours of overtime every week. another local company works 36 hour weeks. three 12 hour shifts. they are a union and are gauranteed a certain salary per year. to make that salary they are paid 20 dollars an hour starting. it sounds good but you have to deal with all the union BS and the upper management at that company doesnt give a rats you know what about their employees and they show it. other places pay on a hourly scale. for example, if you work an 8 hour shift it pays $22/hr, a 10 hour shift pays $19/hr, a 12 pays $15/hr and a 24 pays $12/hr. that way no matter what schedule you get(all 12's some 10's whatever combo you can think of) everyone at the company is bringing in the same amount every month.