Congratulations on your search for a rewarding career! Is EMT an excellent job? It turns out that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are in high demand! It is a career where you can punch the clock and enjoy a healthy paycheck. There’s no way around it: it is a demanding career that saves lives and jobs commuters enjoy. It’s not that EMTs are the only people that perform in an emergency. Still, their job is a vital part of hospitals and the community.
What is an EMT?
EMT stands for Emergency Medical Technician. Training enables you to apply an emergency medical procedure to stabilize a critical condition and save his life. As we’ll explore later, it’s different from a paramedic, which can apply more techniques to attend to the patient.
An EMT requires about 180 hours of formal instruction.
If you want to see it as a hierarchy, it would be something like this:
EMR >>> EMT >>> AEMT >>> Paramedic
First, you start as an EMR, then progress to EMT, AEMT, to finally become a paramedic.
What is an EMR?
EMR means Emergency Medical Responder. It’s the first and most basic responder in the hierarchy. An EMR can provide immediate life-saving care to patients in a critical state. They can stabilize a patient while higher-level EMS personnel arrive and usually assist them.
What is an AEMT?
AEMT stands for Advanced Emergency Medical Technician. In some states, the industry refers to them as EMT-Intermediate. An AEMT can provide critical patients with primary and limited advanced emergency medical care and transportation.
An AEMT requires about 400 hours of formal instruction.
An AEMT can perform interventions with the basic and advanced equipment typically found in an ambulance.
They can also administer some intravenous fluids and medications.
What is a Paramedic?
A paramedic is an advanced-level emergency medical responder. They are the next level in the hierarchy above an EMR and a few levels below a doctor.
An EMT requires about 1200 hours of formal instruction.
A paramedic possesses the complex knowledge and skills necessary for patient care and transportation. In addition, paramedics function as part of a comprehensive EMS response under medical oversight.
They train and study to perform interventions using the advanced equipment you typically find inside an ambulance. For example, they can give medications orally or intravenously, monitor electrocardiograms (EKGs), and operate more complex equipment.
What types of EMT training exist?
An EMT certificate is no good if you don’t have the training to apply the knowledge!
There are four main types of EMT training:
- Basic Life Support
- Advanced Life Support
- Critical Care Paramedic
There are many ways to get an EMT certification and many schools to study.
What jobs can you get with EMT certification?
It just depends on what you want to do after certification. For example, you can translate life support skills into Security, Law Enforcement, and nursing.
Some EMT-certified jobs you can get certification include fireman, ambulance driver, and trauma physician.
Some jobs that you can’t get with an EMT certification without completing additional coursework include physician, veterinarian, or nurse.
How long does it take to get EMT certified?
You don’t need a four-year degree to become an EMT. Most EMT certifications take less than two years to achieve.
EMTs first learn primary emergency care. After that, they standardize their knowledge by completing a National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) course. Then, finally, they move on to the emergency-care levels of training.
EMT school may last between 3 weeks to 8 months, depending on all the courses. But, other factors can affect the time to finish the training and become certified. These factors might be your income, family background, and education level.
What is the NREMT?
The NREMT is the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. It’s a national body that provides a valid certification for all states.
It works nationwide to provide standard testing and certification for all EMT levels. Once you become licensed, you can work in any state across the US.
What prerequisites are there for taking an EMT certification course?
There are more than 400 EMT schools in the United States. Furthermore, each school tends to vary in training and testing policies. However, some common prerequisites are:
- At least be 18 years or older
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a high school completion certificate, or at least 10th grade (depends on the school and state laws).
- Must be able to communicate fluently in English. You may have an advantage if you also speak other languages.
- Don’t have a criminal record (depends on the school and state laws).
- Complete a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification.
- Receive vaccines against tetanus, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). In addition, Covid-19 vaccines are becoming mandatory in some states as well.
- Register at the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
How do you get EMT certified?
To get EMT certified, one must complete the following steps:
- Pass the national licensure exam
- Complete a nationally accepted state-specific EMT course
- Pass a state-specific licensure exam
You require around 180 hours of theory to get ready for certification.
After being certified, an EMT has to complete 150 hours of field training before starting work.
How hard is the EMT test?
Testing consists of two parts:
- The National Registry EMT cognitive (knowledge) examination
- A state-approved psychomotor (skills) examination
You can take the test two years after completing the EMT training courses.
While the EMT basic level (EMR) is the easiest, few individuals can pass it. As you increase in level, testing becomes progressively more complex.
The test covers all the course components and shows that you are knowledgeable.
For example, 4,880 individuals undertook the EMT test in Texas last year. Unfortunately, only 2,893 (59%) were able to pass the test on their first attempt.
The national US average statistic for those who pass the test are:
- First Responder (EMR): 79%
- EMT: 78%
- Advanced EMT: 73%
- EMT Paramedic: 85%
How much does the EMT test cost?
The NREMT testing costs an application fee of USD 98.00. Once paid, you can’t transfer to another individual or ask for a reimbursement.
If you fail the exam, you’ll have to pay the application fee again.
How much do EMS certifications cost?
As you climb up the EMS hierarchy, the certification costs also increase. These are the current prices for each certification attempt:
- First Responder (EMR): USD 85.00
- EMT: USD 98.00
- Advanced EMT: USD 136.00
- EMT Paramedic: USD 152.00
How long does EMT certification last?
All certifications are valid for 24 months. Therefore, you have to certify again not to lose your accreditation every two years.
What are the EMT course contents?
While some schools may vary their approach, the following are the mandatory topics that the courses will need to cover:
- Airway / Respiration / Ventilation – (minimum 1.5 hrs)
- Trauma – (minimum 1.5 hrs)
- Trauma Triage
- Central Nervous System (CNS) Injury
- Hemorrhage Control
- Medical – (minimum 6 hrs)
- Special Healthcare Needs
- OB Emergencies
- Infectious Diseases
- Pain Management
- Psychiatric and Behavioral Emergencies
- Toxicological Emergencies – Opioids
- Neurological Emergencies – Seizures
- Endocrine Emergencies – Diabetes
- Immunological Emergencies
- Operations – (minimum 5 hrs)
- At-Risk Populations
- Ambulance Safety
- Field Triage—Disasters/MCIs
- EMS Provider Hygiene, Safety, and Vaccine
- EMS Culture of Safety
- Pediatric Transport
- Crew Resource Management
- EMS Research
- Evidence-Based Guidelines
- Cardiovascular – (minimum 6 hrs)
- Post-Resuscitation Care
- Ventricular Assist Devices
- Cardiac Arrest
- Pediatric Cardiac Arrest
EMT vs. Paramedic
What is the difference between EMT and a Paramedic?
As we stated earlier, a Paramedic is higher in the hierarchy. The main difference is the combination of field experience and more studying hours.
While an EMT can get certified with around 180 hours of training, a paramedic usually undergoes more than 1200 hours.
What is the role of a first responder?
A first responder must be versatile, think on their feet, and solve problems. They are the first to arrive at a scene, assess the situation rapidly, and assist those in need.
They need to stabilize a critical patient and prepare them for transport. For non-critical patients can sometimes provide immediate care directly in the field.
Non-medically, they sometimes need to move around heavy items. For example, they’ll have to cut through metal to liberate a trapped individual. In general, they must respond to whatever situation presents during the emergency.
US Firefighters usually train as EMTs as part of their career because most emergencies are not fire-related but medically related.
What is the role of an EMT or Paramedic?
Some of their duties include:
- Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical assistance. It can range from something minor as bandaging a wound to having to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- 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 a healthcare facility
- Report their observations, patient condition, and treatment provided to the healthcare facility staff
- Document any medical care provided to patients
- Inventory, replace, and clean supplies and equipment after use
Is EMT an excellent job?
This section will explore how much you can earn as an EMT and the market demand. In addition, we’ll review who might become your employer, among other work-related subjects.
How much does an EMT make?
The US national median pay is USD 36,650 per year or 17.62 per hour.
Remember that this is an average, and it varies wildly between states and workplaces.
How much does being an EMT pay per state?
The top 5 paying states for EMTs are:
- Hawaii: $ 28.16 per hour – $ 58,580 annually
- Washington: $ 27.36 per hour – $ 56,910 annually
- Maryland: $ 25.69 per hour – $ 53,440 annually
- Alaska: $ 24.05 per hour – $ 50,030 annually
- California: $ 23.21 per hour – $ 48,280 annually
The following map can give estimates for annual mean wages across America.
Are EMTs in high demand?
There are more than 260,000 EMTs and Paramedics jobs in the US. The combination of a fast-growing industry and the unfortunate death toll that Covid-19 brought to the profession make this profession one in high demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the profession to grow an average of about 20K job openings per year in the next ten years. This statement makes it one of the fastest-growing professions in America.
Who employs EMTs?
The largest employers for EMTs, again based on the BLS statistics, are:
- Ambulance services: 46%
- Local government, excluding education and hospitals: 28%
- Hospitals; state, regional, and private: 19%
How many hours do EMTs work?
In general, EMTs and paramedics work full time. However, some jurisdictions or situations might work over 40 hours a week.
You can expect to work overnight, on weekends and holidays, to answer emergencies.
It depends on the shift that you get assigned.
In some work environments, you’ll find that you’ll start with the night shift. And as you progress in your career, they will eventually promote you to the day shift.
Again, shifts may not be 8 hours, but 12 or even 24-hour shifts, depending on the state and work location. The latter will typically involve working fewer days, freeing up your time to pursue other endeavors.
What soft skills are best for EMTs and paramedics?
- Compassion: You must understand a patient’s needs and provide emotional support.
- Interpersonal skills: Teamwork, especially in tense situations, is essential to a good outcome.
- Listening skills: Listening to a patient to rapidly assess the situation and their injuries.
- Physical strength: There will be some kneeling, bending, and lifting during emergencies.
- Problem-solving skills: evaluate the patients’ symptoms and provide the most appropriate treatment.
- Speaking skills: communicate clearly to patients and colleagues and relay information to other specialists.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are health care providers who deal with medical-related emergencies. Their job focuses on saving lives. To work as an EMT, you need certification which qualifies you to provide emergency care in any state in the United States. The EMT exam is a complex, multiple-choice test you can take once you complete your formal training. The job pays well and is in high demand, with no sign of slowing down.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg! Know that an EMT career can be both challenging and fulfilling. You’ll be out there saving lives and making a difference!