Saturday, April 26, 2008

Questions I've been thinking about...

There was a story on CNN recently about jobs in which you don't make a whole lot of money; I think they limited it to somewhere in the $20,000 range. I can't find it or I'd link to it.

While it wasn't the first time I'd heard it, I'm constantly surprised that ambulance drivers/medics make a salary in this range. How is it that their salary isn't higher? They are in constant demand, they are needed 24 hours a day, and they require a skill set that is costly to acquire. Presumably, as the population ages more, we'll demand them even more...on the assumption that older folks tend to use their services more often (and from personal experience, I think this is true).

High (and rising) demand and what I perceive to be a short supply. What gives? Are there a lot of people that can be ambulance drivers/medics? Shouldn't their wage be higher? Personally, I'm surprised it's not a lot higher.

One possibility is that people don't tend to stay in these jobs for a long time. They could use them as a stepping stone to a better paying job in medicine. (It's not unlike the situation with the minimum wage-- you have to take statistics about how many people work in minimum wage jobs with a grain of salt since people do not tend to persist in minimum wage role for a long time.) If this is the case, the value gained from being a paramedic offsets the low monetary compensation. That would make sense...but do they?

Do paramedics do this job along with another one?

Anyone have an answer?

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