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.
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.