Emergency Medical Technician Careers


A healthcare provider that focuses on providing critical and urgent medical services in times of emergencies is known as an emergency medical technician. Most commonly EMTs (emergency medical technicians) drive ambulances that are part of hospitals or medical centers. However, some EMTs are part of fire departments, technical rescue squads, or police departments.

Emergency medical technicians are trained with the basic life-saving medical skills and are able to administer such techniques once reaching the scene. Their main focus is to keep the victim or patient in a stabilized condition so that they can receive more comprehensive and thorough care at the hospital’s emergency room. Most commonly the EMTs is required to perform procedures such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), defibrillation, pain management, blood-loss control, shock prevention and breathing stabilization.

Related Reading: How to Get a Degree in Emergency Medicine

The career of an emergency medical technician is fast paced, full of action and not to mention extremely satisfying as you get the opportunity to save lives and make a positive difference. If you enjoy working with a variety of professionals and meeting new people, then you should become an emergency medical technician.

Education Requirements

In order to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician, you need to first have at least a high school diploma. Following, you can enroll in an accredited EMT program or a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification program. To become a certified Emergency Medical Technician however, you need to also attain a certification, which is required in all states.

Licensure and Certification

Most states accept the certification exam that is offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). There are some states however, that provide a choice for completing an NREMT or their own state exam. The candidates qualify for licensure on completion of the NREMT certification.

There are three levels for the EMT that combine coursework and on-the-job training:

EMT Level 1 (Basic): To pass this level individuals are supposed to successfully complete a cognitive and psychomotor exam. In addition to that, they are supposed to complete 200-250 hours of laboratory practice, ambulance experience, emergency room practice or fieldwork. Subjects like cardiac arrest, bleeding, fractures, or emergency childbirth are covered in this level.

EMT Level 2 and 3 (Intermediate): Individuals are supposed to undergo approximately 80+ additional hours of instruction. Graduates from this level are prepared to undertake advanced procedures like anti-shock treatments, trauma, and other medical emergencies.

EMT Paramedic: This is the most advanced Emergency Medical Technician qualification and to enter the EMT Paramedic program, you must have first cleared EMT Level 1 (Basic).  Most EMT courses are two-year associate degree programs and graduates of this program are qualified to perform emergency procedures.

Job Duties

Emergency Medical Technicians are also called paramedics and their job depends on their position level, which is determined by the certification levels mentioned below. The general job duties of an EMT include responding to and providing emergency medical attention to critical patients who are suffering from accidents or cardiac arrest. They also provide medical assistance like CPR and treatment for wounds. They work under the supervision of physicians to treat patients, ensure safe transport for patients in an ambulance, monitor vitals during emergency and transfer patients to healthcare facilities. In addition to that they report their all their findings, suggest treatments to the staff, prepare patient care reports and ensure the maintenance of medical equipment.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) predicts a growth of 33% in the next decade for the employment of Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics. This means that there will be approximately 75,000 new positions open for certified EMTs in the next decade. This growth rate appears to be much faster than other occupations. There will also be a need for part-time and volunteer EMTs for emergency situations in rural areas.

Considering the increase in natural disasters and car crashes, such emergencies will require a higher demand for Emergency Medical Technicians. There will also be an increase in the elderly population, which results in a higher number of age-related emergencies like heart attack or strokes, resulting in a greater need for EMTs.

Salary Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Emergency Medical Technicians earn a median annual wage salary of $30,360. Depending on the level and experience, EMTs can earn up to $51,370 annually.

Emergency Medical Technicians or Paramedics usually work full-time but some may also be required to work overtime. They all are required to be flexible with their availability and should be able to work nights and weekends.

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