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State Department: Kansas

If you’re a paramedic or EMT who’s thinking of relocating or would 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.

Kansas Snapshot

  • Link to state EMS website
  • Average straight-time wages: EMT $17.55/hour, paramedic $20.971
  • State area: 82,278 square miles     
  • Approximate state population: 2,912,000
    • Rank (↓): 35
    • Change since 2010: +2%
  • Most populous cities (approximate): Wichita 391,000, Overland Park 191,000, Kansas City 153,000
  • Violent crime one-year change: Wichita +18%, Overland Park +3%, Kansas City N/A2
  • State violent crime rank (↑): 323
  • State property crime rank (↑): 363
  • Health rank (↓): 274
  • Average temperatures: Summer 76ºF, Winter 32ºF5
  • Top state income tax: 5.7%6
  • Average sales tax: 8.7%6
  • Average property tax: 1.28%6
  • Median home value: $141,5007
    • One-year change: +3.2%7
  • Median monthly rent: $1,0107
  • Average cost of electricity: $0.13/kwh8
  • Cost of living index: 89.6 (U.S. average = 100)9
  • Unemployment: 3.2% (U.S. average = 3.7%)10
  • Best states rank (↓): 2211
  • Approximate annual retirement cost per household: $56,00012

Where the Buffalo Roam

“Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam…”

If you’re a child of the ’50s like me, you know what comes next:

“Where the deer and the antelope play…”

All together now:

“Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.”

For you youngsters who think Roy Rogers was just a fast-food joint, those are the lyrics to “Home on the Range,” a famous American folk tune and the state song of Kansas. I mention that because when I was a kid, I assumed “Home on the Range,” Dodge City, and Wild Bill Hickock were native to Texas, TV’s cowboy mecca. Sorry, Kansans, I was very young at the time. All three belong to your state.

At least I know Kansas’ largest metropolitan area is mostly in Missouri. I’m talking about Kansas City (the bigger one). I wonder if commuters from the other side of the border tell each other, “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” I have a feeling Kansans are sick of hearing that.

If you head west instead of east from the Kansas-Missouri line, you’ll notice the Sunflower State’s topography changing from hills and forests to flat plains. Overall Kansas’s population has been increasing at a decreasing rate, possibly due to mechanization of the state’s No. 1 industry, agriculture. Or maybe the 50 tornadoes Kansas averages each year are siphoning its citizens across the rainbow to…never mind.

With soccer as the only major-league sport in Kansas, college basketball and, to a lesser extent, college football are the most popular athletic events. Going to those games must have been less fun from 1881 to 1948, when prohibition was the law of the land.

If neither sports nor the outdoors is your thing, you could become a crazed fan of the state’s most famous rock band. You’ll have to guess its name. No, it’s not Toto. Carry on.

Commonsense EMS

My only experience with Kansas EMS involves an overnight reunion in Leavenworth—the city, not the prison—with two high school pals nine years ago. On my way from the airport, an 18-year-old in an SUV rear-ended my rental, provoking an emergency services cascade that featured an EMT offering me transportation to a local ER in case I was hurt in some way neither of us knew. It was the same logic I’d tried on many asymptomatic trauma victims with persuasive mechanisms of injury.

Funny how we practice prehospital care pretty much the same across the U.S., yet we concoct so many different versions of administrative policy. Some of those parochial rules don’t make much sense to me.

Take national registry. Most states, including Kansas, require it for initial certification or licensure, but Illinois, New York, Montana, and North Carolina use their own guidelines instead. Why?

Then there’s the EMS Compact, a 2012 initiative that encourages states to recognize EMS credentials from across their borders. Kansas is one of only 18 members. It would be a shame if there were no more participation than that when the Compact goes live in 2020.

Kansas EMTs, AEMTs, and paramedics renew every two years via cognitive and psychomotor exams or continuing education. That’s not unusual, but some of the particulars may be different from what you’re used to. For example, minimum hours specified for those three levels are 28, 44, and 60, respectively, with mandated core, local, and individual components.

For those of you considering relocation, the most useful information I found on the Kansas website is this link to local EMS jobs. I wish every state did that.

Happy trails.


1. EMS World. EMS World Salary Survey 2018,

2. FBI. Uniform Crime Reporting System, 2018 National Incident Based Reporting System,

3. U.S. News and World Report. Public Safety Rankings,

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 2019,

7. Zillow. United States Home Prices & Values,

8. Choose Energy. Electricity Rates by State,

9. Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Cost of Living Data Series, 2019,

10. State Unemployment Rate in the U.S. The Content Marketing Trend Study, 2019,

11. Best States 2019: Ranking Performance Throughout All 50 States. U.S. News & World Report. 2019.

12. Hill C. This is exactly how much it will cost to retire well in every state in America. 06/28/19.

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

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