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State Department: Connecticut

If you’re an EMS worker who is thinking of relocating or just wants to learn more about life across the U.S., EMS World’s State Department is worth a look. We start with “snapshots” of featured states, then bring you exclusive guidance from local EMS leaders. Our goal is to highlight everyday aspects of potential destinations from a prehospital provider’s point of view.

Connecticut Snapshot

  • Approximate number of EMS providers: 12,800 EMTs, 270 AEMTs, 2,500 paramedics
  • Average straight-time wages: EMT $23.27/hour, paramedic $28.38/hour1
  • Cost of living index: 128.8 (U.S. average = 100)10
  • Recertification cycle: 3 years for EMTs and AEMTs; paramedics licensed annually
  • National Registry certification: Required for initial certification and licensure
  • Opportunities for volunteers: Many opportunities, especially in rural areas
  • Large EMS employers: AMR, American Ambulance, Hunter's Ambulance, Ambulance Service of Manchester/Aetna
  • Degrees for paramedics: Not an issue
  • Link to state EMS website
  • Approximate state population: 3,573,000
    • Change since 2010: 0%
    • Average population per provider: 229
  • State area: 5,543 square miles  
    • Average population per square mile: 645
    • Rank (↓): 4
  • Most populous cities (approximate): Bridgeport 148,000; New Haven 131,000; Stamford 129,000; Hartford 123,000
  • Violent crime one-year change: Bridgeport +27%, Stamford -19%, Hartford 0%2
    • State violent crime rank (↑): 53
    • State property crime rank (↑): 93
  • Health rank (↓): 34
  • Top state income tax: 7.0%6
  • Average sales tax: 6.3%6
  • Average property tax: 1.62%6,7
  • Median home value: $241,9008
    • One-year change: +2.4%8
  • Median monthly rent: $1,7008
  • Average cost of electricity: $0.21/kwh9
  • Average temperatures: Summer 69ºF, Winter 29ºF5

Rustic Relaxation, Urban Entertainment

Connecticut sits at the intersection of New England and the Manhattan-centric tristate area—two dissimilar regions. Residents of Connecticut to the northeast of New Haven mostly favor packed powder, Ipswich clams, broad A’s, and the Boston Red Sox, while those to the southwest embrace a more metropolitan New York/New Jersey vibe.

According to Connecticut’s EMS director, Raffaella “Ralf” Coler, her state’s proprietary charm and proximity to prominent commercial hubs are notable advantages. “I like the access to Boston and New York,” the 34-year EMS veteran says. “The food is great, and there’s plenty for a shopaholic like me to do, but Connecticut has lots to offer, too. You can ski in the morning and go to a museum in the afternoon. If you’re still feeling cultural after that, there’s the theater and opera.”

More-rustic attractions include 40 wineries, over 100 farmers’ markets, and the Freedom Trail, which features 130 sites in 50 towns. “And there are major casinos if you’re into that sort of thing,” Coler adds. “You can drive anywhere in Connecticut within two hours."

Part of what makes Connecticut distinctive is its contrasts. The state is the third-smallest but fourth-most densely populated; it has the second-largest gap in average income between the top 1% and everyone else; and it offers 250 miles of shoreline less than three hours from Boston and New York City. For EMS personnel there’s plenty of on-the-job variety, too—urban and rural, career and volunteer—with a few quirks incoming caregivers should note.

Hospitals: More Than Destinations

Hospitals in conventional EMS systems are primarily endpoints of transports. Mutual interests encourage cooperation with prehospital personnel, but in many states such relationships are informal and lack strategic imperative.

In Connecticut hospitals aren’t just destinations for EMS; they’re sponsors. “They oversee all of our clinical levels and are responsible for delivery of care,” says Coler. “They make sure prehospital personnel are trained and follow protocols. They’re an integral part of our system.”

You can’t work in Connecticut EMS without medical sponsorship. Usually, your agency’s sponsor becomes yours and provides all the continuing education you need for renewal. If you’re a paramedic, that’s an annual exercise—one that’s simplified by retaining national certification.

Most sponsors derive content from the National Registry, although an NREMT card isn’t required beyond initial certification—yet. “I’ve just submitted legislation that would make Connecticut a Registry state,” says Coler, who is a paramedic and RN. “It would require providers to maintain NREMT credentials throughout their careers. That bill is going to be considered this year.”

Paramedics are licensed by Connecticut; other levels are recertified every three years at no charge. There are 30-hour and 53-hour refresher courses for EMTs and AEMTs, respectively.

Opportunities for Caregivers

Getting reciprocity is easy if you’re nationally registered or certified in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or any state whose criteria are at least as rigorous as Connecticut’s.

If you decide to volunteer, you’ll have lots of company. “Volunteering is a big part of EMS in Connecticut, especially in rural areas with lower call volumes,” Coler says. “Over 80% of our agencies have at least some volunteers.

“Connecticut offers lots of options to EMS providers, regardless of certification or experience. It’s also an awesome state for raising a family. Whether you’re looking for an urban, suburban or rural setting, it’s just a great place to live and work.”

References

1. EMS World. EMS World Salary Survey 2018, http://www.ems-stats.com.

2. FBI. Uniform Crime Reporting System, 2017 National Incident Based Reporting System, https://ucr.fbi.gov/nibrs/2017.

3. Ibid., 2016.

4. America’s Health Rankings, United Health Foundation. 2018 Annual Report, www.americashealthrankings.org/learn/reports/2018-annual-report.

5. Current Results. Average Annual Temperature for Each U.S. State, www.currentresults.com/Weather/US/average-annual-state-temperatures.php.

6. Tax Foundation Facts and figures, https://files.taxfoundation.org/20180411102900/Facts-Figures-2018-How-Does-Your-State-Compare.pdf.

7. Ibid., Property Taxes Paid as a Percentage of Owner-Occupied Housing Value.

8. Zillow. United States Home Prices & Values, www.zillow.com/home-values/.

9. Choose Energy. Electricity Rates by State in 2018, www.chooseenergy.com/electricity-rates-by-state/.

10. Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Cost of Living Data Series, 2018 Annual Average, https://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/.

Mike Rubin is a paramedic in Nashville and a member of EMS World’s editorial advisory board. Contact him at mgr22@prodigy.net.

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