So I was looking through my latest JEMS magazine and I noticed something. Emergency Medical Dispatchers seem to make almost $7,000 more than an EMT-I nationally on average. I got to thinking, why is this? The first thing that comes to mind is that I dont know any dispatchers who volunteer to do their job (do it for free). I do, however know many EMTs who volunteer to do their job (do it for free).
Anyone thing of any other reasons for this difference in salary?
That is one reason.
Another reason is that in many communities, dispatch services are provided by another organization - often a law enforcement agency, or some other public agency, that may pay better than a small ambulance service.
A third reason is that in some EMS agencies, dispatchers are "system status controllers" who must first be paramedics, or EMTs, before being promoted to dispatch positions. This was a feature of many of the large former public utility model systems - being a dispatcher required being an experienced field provider first. Some of those also have varying degrees of supervisory authority, scheduling officer duties, etc.
Also, they are often paid by different agencies, i.e. they are government employees as opposed to employees of a fire company or hospital.