Here’s How Much First Responders Make in Every State

·8 min read
©Noah Berger/AP/REX/Shutterstock
©Noah Berger/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The police cars, fire trucks and ambulances with the flashing lights mean one thing: somewhere, someone is in trouble. And the first responders who arrive at scenes of accidents, crimes, fire and such, put their lives on the line every day to help people and property in peril. But just how much do emergency medical technicians, paramedics, police officers and firefighters earn? As with most jobs, it depends on the state where they work.

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GOBankingRates looked at the salaries of emergency personnel in every state using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and their average salaries range widely across the country. For instance, firefighters in Mississippi  make just $32,870 -- $22,420 below the average U.S. salary for the profession. In California, on the other hand, firefighters are paid $84,930 but must contend with a higher cost of living.

So, are firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics really making enough money to put their lives on the line every day? That's a matter of opinion. To help you decide, GOBankingRates ranked and ordered the states from worst to best for emergency personnel. Find out whether or not these workers are making bank in your state.

simonkr / Getty Images
simonkr / Getty Images

50. Mississippi

  • EMT annual wage: $29,350

  • Paramedic annual wage: $41,780

  • Police annual wage: $38,940

  • Firefighter annual wage: $32,870

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ftwitty / Getty Images
ftwitty / Getty Images

49. Arkansas

  • EMT annual wage: $30,580

  • Paramedic annual wage: $38,620

  • Police annual wage: $42,430

  • Firefighter annual wage: $36,950

slobo / Getty Images
slobo / Getty Images

48. Kentucky

  • EMT annual wage: $29,250

  • Paramedic annual wage: $41,110

  • Police annual wage: $46,910

  • Firefighter annual wage: $34,060

RyanJLane / Getty Images
RyanJLane / Getty Images

47. West Virginia

  • EMT annual wage: $28,530

  • Paramedic annual wage: $39,550

  • Police annual wage: $47,160

  • Firefighter annual wage: $36,850

©Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com

46. Alabama

  • EMT annual wage: $28,030

  • Paramedic annual wage: $35,460

  • Police annual wage: $49,540

  • Firefighter annual wage: $44,920

leaf / iStock.com
leaf / iStock.com

45. Kansas

  • EMT annual wage: $26,190

  • Paramedic annual wage: $43,160

  • Police annual wage: $52,010

  • Firefighter annual wage: $40,370

michaeljung / Shutterstock.com
michaeljung / Shutterstock.com

44. Louisiana

  • EMT annual wage: $35,020

  • Paramedic annual wage: $44,740

  • Police annual wage: $44,790

  • Firefighter annual wage: $33,400

LightFieldStudios / Getty Images/iStockphoto
LightFieldStudios / Getty Images/iStockphoto

43. Georgia

  • EMT annual wage: $32,470

  • Paramedic annual wage: $43,350

  • Police annual wage: $50,710

  • Firefighter annual wage: $40,530

KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images/iStockphoto
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

42. North Carolina

  • EMT annual wage: $36,090

  • Paramedic annual wage: $42,610

  • Police annual wage: $51,860

  • Firefighter annual wage: $36,950

stevecoleimages / Getty Images
stevecoleimages / Getty Images

41. South Carolina

  • EMT annual wage: $35,140

  • Paramedic annual wage: $44,220

  • Police annual wage: $49,140

  • Firefighter annual wage: $39,750

©Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com

40. Oklahoma

  • EMT annual wage: $27,980

  • Paramedic annual wage: $41,750

  • Police annual wage: $55,740

  • Firefighter annual wage: $51,810

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franckreporter / Getty Images
franckreporter / Getty Images

39. Tennessee

  • EMT annual wage: $35,400

  • Paramedic annual wage: $46,170

  • Police annual wage: $48,530

  • Firefighter annual wage: $42,310

kali9 / Getty Images
kali9 / Getty Images

38. South Dakota

  • EMT annual wage: $32,570

  • Paramedic annual wage: $41,890

  • Police annual wage: $52,580

  • Firefighter annual wage: $49,090

©Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com

37. Maine

  • EMT annual wage: $32,710

  • Paramedic annual wage: $45,590

  • Police annual wage: $56,930

  • Firefighter annual wage: $44,920

©Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com

36. New Mexico

  • EMT annual wage: $34,620

  • Paramedic annual wage: $48,410

  • Police annual wage: $55,420

  • Firefighter annual wage: $39,940

monkeybusinessimages / iStock.com
monkeybusinessimages / iStock.com

35. Missouri

  • EMT annual wage: $33,560

  • Paramedic annual wage: $43,510

  • Police annual wage: $56,610

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,540

ChristopherBernard / Getty Images
ChristopherBernard / Getty Images

34. Wyoming

  • EMT annual wage: $32,410

  • Paramedic annual wage: $47,100

  • Police annual wage: $58,380

  • Firefighter annual wage: $44,420

©Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com

33. Idaho

  • EMT annual wage: $33,080

  • Paramedic annual wage: $47,630

  • Police annual wage: $59,340

  • Firefighter annual wage: $42,130

shaunl / iStock.com
shaunl / iStock.com

32. Michigan

  • EMT annual wage: $31,650

  • Paramedic annual wage: $43,780

  • Police annual wage: $64,380

  • Firefighter annual wage: $48,890

LPETTET / Getty Images
LPETTET / Getty Images

31. Iowa

  • EMT annual wage: $32,570

  • Paramedic annual wage: $44,650

  • Police annual wage: $65,310

  • Firefighter annual wage: $47,460

LeoPatrizi / Getty Images
LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

30. Utah

  • EMT annual wage: $32,350

  • Paramedic annual wage: $53,600

  • Police annual wage: $60,730

  • Firefighter annual wage: $42,020

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MorganLeFaye / Getty Images/iStockphoto
MorganLeFaye / Getty Images/iStockphoto

29. Vermont

  • EMT annual wage: $36,070

  • Paramedic annual wage: $47,260

  • Police annual wage: $57,780

  • Firefighter annual wage: $45,140

VAKSMAN VOLODYMYR / Shutterstock.com
VAKSMAN VOLODYMYR / Shutterstock.com

28. Montana

  • EMT annual wage: $31,940

  • Paramedic annual wage: $45,180

  • Police annual wage: $60,640

  • Firefighter annual wage: $52,990

tfoxfoto / iStock.com
tfoxfoto / iStock.com

27. Indiana

  • EMT annual wage: $32,470

  • Paramedic annual wage: $44,570

  • Police annual wage: $61,850

  • Firefighter annual wage: $53,490

©Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com

26. Ohio

  • EMT annual wage: $32,760

  • Paramedic annual wage: $41,830

  • Police annual wage: $67,110

  • Firefighter annual wage: $52,530

Tashi-Delek / Getty Images
Tashi-Delek / Getty Images

25. Arizona

  • EMT annual wage: $33,840

  • Paramedic annual wage: $45,240

  • Police annual wage: $68,060

  • Firefighter annual wage: $48,750

©Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com

24. Wisconsin

  • EMT annual wage: $32,440

  • Paramedic annual wage: $47,670

  • Police annual wage: $71,230

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,140

DigtialStorm / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DigtialStorm / Getty Images/iStockphoto

23. North Dakota

  • EMT annual wage: $34,150

  • Paramedic annual wage: $47,010

  • Police annual wage: $64,470

  • Firefighter annual wage: $52,010

pio3 / Shutterstock.com
pio3 / Shutterstock.com

22. Florida

  • EMT annual wage: $33,090

  • Paramedic annual wage: $46,710

  • Police annual wage: $66,320

  • Firefighter annual wage: $53,480

simonkr / Getty Images
simonkr / Getty Images

21. Texas

  • EMT annual wage: $34,070

  • Paramedic annual wage: $45,730

  • Police annual wage: $66,890

  • Firefighter annual wage: $53,310

IPGGutenbergUKLtd / Getty Images/iStockphoto
IPGGutenbergUKLtd / Getty Images/iStockphoto

20. Virginia

  • EMT annual wage: $36,770

  • Paramedic annual wage: $48,800

  • Police annual wage: $59,720

  • Firefighter annual wage: $51,940

Kurtly / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Kurtly / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19. Nebraska

  • EMT annual wage: $33,970

  • Paramedic annual wage: $46,890

  • Police annual wage: $62,530

  • Firefighter annual wage: $60,590

MattGush / Getty Images
MattGush / Getty Images

18. New Hampshire

  • EMT annual wage: $35,670

  • Paramedic annual wage: $52,640

  • Police annual wage: $63,670

  • Firefighter annual wage: $52,260

Tony_Bendele / Getty Images
Tony_Bendele / Getty Images

17. Pennsylvania

  • EMT annual wage: $33,450

  • Paramedic annual wage: $49,870

  • Police annual wage: $74,270

  • Firefighter annual wage: $58,400

stevecoleimages / Getty Images
stevecoleimages / Getty Images

16. Minnesota

  • EMT annual wage: $38,200

  • Paramedic annual wage: $59,180

  • Police annual wage: $76,960

  • Firefighter annual wage: $39,750

martin-dm / Getty Images
martin-dm / Getty Images

15. Nevada

  • EMT annual wage: $33,490

  • Paramedic annual wage: $53,410

  • Police annual wage: $74,940

  • Firefighter annual wage: $58,370

JANIFEST / Getty Images/iStockphoto
JANIFEST / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14. Rhode Island

  • EMT annual wage: $42,460

  • Paramedic annual wage: $46,490

  • Police annual wage: $68,580

  • Firefighter annual wage: $62,860

wsfurlan / Getty Images
wsfurlan / Getty Images

13. Delaware

  • EMT annual wage: $39,090

  • Paramedic annual wage: $57,280

  • Police annual wage: $80,620

  • Firefighter annual wage: $49,520

Mihajlo Maricic / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Mihajlo Maricic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12. Colorado

  • EMT annual wage: $35,590

  • Paramedic annual wage: $53,140

  • Police annual wage: $80,620

  • Firefighter annual wage: $68,300

bluecinema / Getty Images
bluecinema / Getty Images

11. Oregon

  • EMT annual wage: $37,040

  • Paramedic annual wage: $55,990

  • Police annual wage: $78,000

  • Firefighter annual wage: $65,590

4kclips / Shutterstock.com
4kclips / Shutterstock.com

10. Massachusetts

  • EMT annual wage: $43,160

  • Paramedic annual wage: $59,260

  • Police annual wage: $73,560

  • Firefighter annual wage: $65,650

400tmax / Getty Images
400tmax / Getty Images

9. Illinois

  • EMT annual wage: $44,460

  • Paramedic annual wage: $58,240

  • Police annual wage: $82,800

  • Firefighter annual wage: $61,310

MattGush / Getty Images/iStockphoto
MattGush / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8. Connecticut

  • EMT annual wage: $41,120

  • Paramedic annual wage: $62,210

  • Police annual wage: $76,360

  • Firefighter annual wage: $68,140

©Unsplash
©Unsplash

7. New York

  • EMT annual wage: $41,120

  • Paramedic annual wage: $57,320

  • Police annual wage: $80,590

  • Firefighter annual wage: $72,670

tomazl / Getty Images
tomazl / Getty Images

6. Alaska

  • EMT annual wage: $51,330

  • Paramedic annual wage: $51,480

  • Police annual wage: $87,510

  • Firefighter annual wage: $57,320

FangXiaNuo / Getty Images
FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

5. Maryland

  • EMT annual wage: $50,770

  • Paramedic annual wage: $59,520

  • Police annual wage: $77,890

  • Firefighter annual wage: $61,340

ands456 / Getty Images
ands456 / Getty Images

4. Hawaii

  • EMT annual wage: $55,600

  • Paramedic annual wage: $49,138

  • Police annual wage: $80,050

  • Firefighter annual wage: $67,540

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com

3. California

  • EMT annual wage: $42,420

  • Paramedic annual wage: $58,190

  • Police annual wage: $102,920

  • Firefighter annual wage: $80,990

kali9 / Getty Images
kali9 / Getty Images

2. Washington

  • EMT annual wage: $37,500

  • Paramedic annual wage: $82,810

  • Police annual wage: $92,390

  • Firefighter annual wage: $76,280

FangXiaNuo / Getty Images
FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

6. New Jersey

  • EMT annual wage: $40,360

  • Paramedic annual wage: $71,180

  • Police annual wage: $91,690

  • Firefighter annual wage: $84,930

More From GOBankingRates

Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting of this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined how much first-responders earn in every state, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics for May 2021 (latest data available) for the mean annual wages of three core first-responder jobs in all 50 U.S. states: (1) police and sheriff's patrol officers; (2) emergency medical technicians; (3) paramedics; and (4) firefighters. Each job's salary was scored, added up and ranked from worst paying states to best. All data compiled on March 8, 2023.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Here’s How Much First Responders Make in Every State