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Become An Emergency Medical Technician

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Working As An Emergency Medical Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $52,799

    Average Salary

What Does An Emergency Medical Technician Do

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings. People’s lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care provided by these workers. EMTs and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities.

A 911 operator sends EMTs and paramedics to the scene of an emergency, where they often work with police and firefighters.

Duties

EMTs and paramedics typically do the following:

  • Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical assistance, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or bandaging a wound
  • Assess a patient’s condition and determine a course of treatment
  • Provide first-aid treatment or life support care to sick or injured patients
  • Transport patients safely in an ambulance
  • Transfer patients to the emergency department of a hospital or other healthcare facility
  • Report their observations and treatment to physicians, nurses, or other healthcare facility staff
  • Document medical care given to patients
  • Inventory, replace, and clean supplies and equipment after use

When transporting a patient in an ambulance, one EMT or paramedic may drive the ambulance while another monitors the patient’s vital signs and gives additional care. Some paramedics work as part of a helicopter’s or an airplane’s flight crew to transport critically ill or injured patients to a hospital.

EMTs and paramedics also transport patients from one medical facility to another. Some patients may need to be transferred to a hospital that specializes in treating their particular injury or illness or to a facility that provides long-term care, such as a nursing home.

If a patient has a contagious disease, EMTs and paramedics decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and may need to report the case to the proper authorities.

The specific responsibilities of EMTs and paramedics depend on their level of certification and the state they work in. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) provides national certification of EMTs and paramedics at three levels: EMT, Advanced EMT, and Paramedic. Some states, however, have their own certification programs and use similar titles.

An EMT, also known as an EMT-Basic, cares for patients at the scene of an incident and while taking patients by ambulance to a hospital. An EMT has the skills to assess a patient’s condition and to manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies.

An Advanced EMT, also known as an EMT-Intermediate, has completed the requirements for the EMT level, as well as instruction in more advanced medical procedures, such as administering intravenous fluids and some medications.

Paramedics provide more extensive prehospital care than do EMTs. In addition to doing the tasks of EMTs, paramedics can give medications orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs)—which monitor heart function—and use other monitors and complex equipment.

The specific tasks or procedures EMTs and paramedics are allowed to perform at any level vary by state.

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How To Become An Emergency Medical Technician

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics must complete a postsecondary educational program. All states require EMTs and paramedics to be licensed; requirements vary by state.

Education

Both a high school diploma or equivalent and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification typically are required for entry into postsecondary educational programs in emergency medical technology. Most of these programs are nondegree award programs that can be completed in less than 1 year; others last up to 2 years. Paramedics, however, may need an associate’s degree. Programs in emergency medical technology are offered by technical institutes, community colleges, and facilities that specialize in emergency care training.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs offers a list of accredited programs for EMTs and paramedics, by state.

Programs at the EMT level include instruction in assessing patients’ conditions, dealing with trauma and cardiac emergencies, clearing obstructed airways, using field equipment, and handling emergencies. Formal courses include about 150 hours of specialized instruction, and some instruction may take place in a hospital or ambulance setting.

Programs at the Advanced EMT level typically require about 400 hours of instruction. At this level, candidates learn EMT-level skills as well as more advanced ones, such as using complex airway devices, intravenous fluids, and some medications.

Paramedics have the most advanced level of education. They must complete EMT and Advanced EMT levels of instruction, along with courses in advanced medical skills. Community colleges and technical schools may offer these programs, which require about 1,200 hours of instruction and may lead to an associate’s degree. Paramedics’ broader scope of practice may include stitching wounds or administering intravenous medications.

High school students interested in becoming EMTs or paramedics should take courses in anatomy and physiology.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certifies EMTs and paramedics. All levels of NREMT certification require completing a certified education program and passing the national exam. The national exam has both written and practical parts.

All states require EMTs and paramedics to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, an individual who has NREMT certification qualifies for licensure; in others, passing an equivalent state exam is required. Usually, an applicant must be over the age of 18. Many states require background checks and may not give a license to an applicant who has a criminal history.

Although some emergency medical services hire separate drivers, most EMTs and paramedics take a course requiring about 8 hours of instruction before they can drive an ambulance.

Important Qualities

Compassion. EMTs and paramedics must be able to provide emotional support to patients in an emergency, especially patients who are in life-threatening situations or extreme mental distress.

Interpersonal skills. EMTs and paramedics usually work on teams and must be able to coordinate their activities closely with others in stressful situations.

Listening skills. EMTs and paramedics need to listen to patients to determine the extent of their injuries or illnesses.

Physical strength. EMTs and paramedics need to be physically fit. Their job requires a lot of bending, lifting, and kneeling.

Problem-solving skills. EMTs and paramedics must evaluate patients’ symptoms and administer appropriate treatments.

Speaking skills. EMTs and paramedics need to clearly explain procedures to patients, give orders, and relay information to others.

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Emergency Medical Technician Videos

Hidden Camera - What Would You Do? EMTs refuse to help lady

Emergency Medical Technician & Paramedic programs

EMS - A day in the life

Emergency Medical Technician Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Paramedic 6.2 years
Firefighter/Medic 5.7 years
Fire Medic 5.0 years
Top Careers Before Emergency Medical Technician
Volunteer 9.5%
Cashier 7.5%
Internship 5.4%
Technician 4.9%
Paramedic 4.5%
Manager 3.6%
Server 3.3%
Supervisor 3.3%
Dispatcher 3.2%
Top Careers After Emergency Medical Technician
Paramedic 15.4%
Technician 6.0%
Volunteer 5.8%
Instructor 4.3%
Driver 3.4%
Dispatcher 3.3%
Internship 3.2%
Supervisor 3.1%
Owner 2.9%

Do you work as an Emergency Medical Technician?

Emergency Medical Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

59.4%

Female

39.4%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.8%

French

6.5%

German

3.0%

Portuguese

2.9%

Russian

2.8%

Mandarin

2.3%

Chinese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Italian

1.9%

Hindi

1.5%

Korean

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Polish

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Dakota

1.0%

Urdu

0.7%

Hebrew

0.6%

Carrier

0.6%

Cantonese

0.6%

Gujarati

0.5%
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Emergency Medical Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.8%

Columbia Southern University

10.6%

Liberty University

6.3%

The Academy

6.2%

Kaplan University

5.6%

Grand Canyon University

5.4%

Community College of the Air Force

5.0%

Eastern Kentucky University

4.3%

Community College of Allegheny County

4.3%

Excelsior College

4.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.1%

Glendale Community College

3.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.6%

Camden County College

3.5%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

3.3%

Walden University

3.2%

Palomar College

3.2%

Ashford University

3.1%

Northeastern University

2.9%

College of the Canyons

2.9%
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Majors

Medical Technician

28.5%

Nursing

14.0%

Fire Science And Protection

8.9%

Business

7.9%

Criminal Justice

6.6%

Biology

4.5%

Psychology

3.1%

Health Care Administration

3.0%

General Studies

2.8%

Medicine

2.8%

Medical Assisting Services

2.4%

Physician Assistant

2.2%

Management

2.1%

Homeland Security

1.9%

Education

1.8%

Health Sciences And Services

1.7%

Kinesiology

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.4%

Nursing Assistants

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

36.2%

Bachelors

24.4%

Associate

16.2%

Certificate

10.6%

Masters

9.0%

Diploma

1.4%

License

1.2%

Doctorate

1.0%
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Emergency Medical Technician Videos

Hidden Camera - What Would You Do? EMTs refuse to help lady

Emergency Medical Technician & Paramedic programs

EMS - A day in the life

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Real Emergency Medical Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Manager Contract Administration EMT Florida Power and Light Company Juno Beach, FL Oct 01, 2010 $92,000
EMT Manager Anthony Anazonwu Houston, TX Oct 01, 2009 $52,000
Advanced Field Paramedic/Emt Deutsch Williams Brooks Derensis and Holland, PC MA Jan 26, 2010 $45,914
Advanced Field Paramedic/Emt Eamaritan Ems, LLC MA Jan 12, 2010 $45,538
Advanced Field Paramedic/Emt Samaritan Ems LLC MA Jan 12, 2010 $45,538
Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic Acadian Ambulane Service, Inc. Humble, TX Apr 21, 2014 $37,566
EMT Paramedic American Medical Response Ambulance Services, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Jun 01, 2016 $34,632
Emergency Medical Technician Greater Cincinnati Veterinary Specialists, PSC. KY May 01, 2012 $33,413

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Top Skills for An Emergency Medical Technician

  1. Ambulance Transport
  2. Patient Care Reports
  3. Emt-B
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitor ill or injured person s condition status and perform any necessary medical interventions during ambulance transport.
  • Generated Patient Care Reports after each incident using laptops and specialized computer programs.
  • Acted within EMT-Basic scope of practice in response to emergent & non-emergent calls on both ALS & also BLS units.
  • Developed working relationship with multiple Fire Departments and assisted in training and maintaining personnel.
  • Provided safety for community and efficiently controlled property and environmental damages.

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Top 10 Best States for Emergency Medical Technicians

  1. Alaska
  2. Hawaii
  3. Minnesota
  4. Connecticut
  5. Washington
  6. Oregon
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Iowa
  9. Maryland
  10. Tennessee
  • (34 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (404 jobs)
  • (158 jobs)
  • (235 jobs)
  • (162 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (265 jobs)
  • (302 jobs)

Top Emergency Medical Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Emergency Medical Technician Employers

Emergency Medical Technician Videos

Hidden Camera - What Would You Do? EMTs refuse to help lady

Emergency Medical Technician & Paramedic programs

EMS - A day in the life

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