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State Department: Georgia

If you’re a paramedic or EMT who’s thinking of relocating, or you’d just like to learn more about life across the U.S., EMS World’s State Department is worth a look. We start with data-driven “snapshots” of each state, then add a few paragraphs about regional practices and lifestyle. Our goal is to highlight everyday aspects of potential destinations from a prehospital provider’s point of view.

Georgia Snapshot

  • Link to state EMS website
  • Average straight-time wages: EMT $15.52/hour, paramedic $16.75/hour1
  • Approximate state population: 10,519,000
    • Change since 2010: +9%
  • State area: 59,425 square miles  
    • Average population per square mile: 177
    • Rank (↓): 17
  • Most populous cities (approximate): Atlanta 486,000; Augusta 197,000; Columbus 194,000
  • Violent crime one-year change: N/A2
  • State violent crime rank (↑): 303
  • State property crime rank (↑): 443
  • Health rank (↓): 394
  • Average temperatures: Summer 79ºF, Winter 48ºF5
  • Top state income tax: 6%6
  • Average sales tax: 7.1%6
  • Average property tax: 0.94%6,7
  • Median home value: $188,5008
    • One-year change: +10%8
  • Median monthly rent: $1,4008
  • Average cost of electricity: $0.11/kwh9
  • Cost of living index: 91.2 (U.S. average = 100)10

Countryside and Commerce

My first road trip as an adult was a mid-1970s drive from New York to Florida with family and friends. The route was simple: Cross the Hudson River into Jersey, find I-95, then head south until palm trees outnumbered cheesy billboards.

There was only one problem: just south of Brunswick, Ga., the four-lane highway ended abruptly and became a country road. We drove about 30 miles to the Florida line through the most rural surroundings we’d ever seen. It was as if our little group of moderately sheltered northerners had stumbled onto the set of Gone with the Wind—minus the regal plantations. For us Georgia was mostly forests and fields with the occasional sun-bleached shack.

The Georgia of 2019 is quite different. Yes, I-95 now runs all the way through, but more important, the largest state east of the Mississippi has become a hub for manufacturing, finance, and technology, centered in Atlanta. That metropolitan region, with 55% of Georgia’s 10-million-plus population, hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics and is home to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport—the busiest in the world. It’s no surprise big companies like Coca-Cola, Delta, UPS, Home Depot, and Honeywell have headquarters in the Peach State.

With two major mountain ranges in the north, 100 miles of seashore to the southeast (including Savannah, the fourth-most-active port in the U.S.), and 48 state parks, there are lots of ways to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re more of the armchair athletic type, there are professional teams in four of the five major sports.

Georgia’s climate is warm and humid. Tornadoes are relatively common but not usually as severe as in the Midwest. Hurricanes heading up the East Coast can cause problems, too; blizzards, not so much.

Historically the state has been a major player during turbulent times. The newest of the original 13 colonies that revolted against British rule, Georgia was also one of seven states to form the Confederacy in 1861 and the last to rejoin the Union in 1870.

From an EMS perspective, Georgia is a Registry state, meaning certification is a prerequisite for new providers. Other than that Georgia has no reciprocity arrangements with other EMS systems. If you’re already a nationally registered paramedic, EMT, or AEMT, working in Georgia becomes more of an administrative process than an educational one.

License renewals are linked to NREMT deadlines—March 31st every other year. Maintaining national registry satisfies Georgia’s biennial continuing education requirement: 24 general hours, 8 in pediatrics, 4 in trauma, and 4 cardiovascular. Paramedics also need ACLS.

The state’s 10 EMS regions stretch from Appalachia to the Atlantic. That’s enough variety to last a whole career. If you crave a subtropical climate, favor a mix of mountains, urban sprawl and seashore, and know something about birthing babies, Georgia may be just the place for you.


1. EMS World. EMS World Salary Survey 2018,

2. FBI. Uniform Crime Reporting System, 2017 National Incident Based Reporting System,

3. Ibid., 2016.

4. America’s Health Rankings, United Health Foundation. 2018 Annual Report,

5. Current Results. Average Annual Temperature for Each U.S. State,

6. Tax Foundation Facts and figures,

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

8. Zillow. United States Home Prices & Values,

9. Choose Energy. Electricity Rates by State in 2018,

10. Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Cost of Living Data Series, 2018 Annual Average,

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

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