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Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Job Description - What Does an EMT Do?

The job description for an EMT is based on standards set by the National Registry of Emergency Technicians (NREMT) The NREMT is a national organization that develops guidelines for the skills and minimum competency of EMTs.

Although 46 states follow NREMT guidelines, the guidelines are not mandatory and so there may be some differences in the EMT job description depending on the state you work in.

The basic job description of an EMT is someone who drives an Ambulance to the scene of a medical emergency, asses the patient's condition and provides Basic Life Support to those in need of urgent medical attention. They will then stabilize the patient and transport them to an appropriate medical facility.

EMTs must be able to remain calm and work efficiently under pressure as people's lives often depend on an EMTs quick reactions in stressful situations.

EMT's are limited to non-invasive medical procedures. They are often called to non-life threatening emergencies to transport patients to a hospital and to assist higher level medical professionals in more extreme emergencies.

Some of the procedures EMTs perform are:

• Patient assessment⁄management of a trauma patients and medical patients
• Cardiac arrest management⁄AED
• Bag-valve-mask ventilation of a apneic patient
• Spinal immobilization
• Long bone fracture immobilization
• Joint dislocation immobilization
• Traction splinting
• Bleeding control⁄shock management
• Upper airway adjuncts and suction
• Mouth-to-mouth ventilation with supplemental oxygen
• Supplemental oxygen administration to a breathing patient

To become an EMT you must enroll in an accredited EMT training program. EMT training requires 150 hours of coursework that includes classroom and hands-on education. Training programs are available in multiple locations including Community Colleges, Private Medical Schools and Firefighter Academies.

The cost of an EMT training course varies depending on your state and school but you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $2000. The cost includes applications, tuition, lab fees and background checks. Depending on your situation, financial aid may be available to offset the cost.

After passing your training program you will need to pass a state approved EMT examination before applying for an EMT license in your state.

An EMT who wants more responsibility, and the ability to perform more advanced life saving techniques would go on to get certified as a higher level EMT.

The next level of EMT is Advanced EMT (AEMT). Like the name implies, an AMET is licensed to perform more advanced medical procedures including intubation (airway ventilation) and starting IVs. Becoming an AEMT requires an additional 150 hours training and you must pass a state approved AEMT certification examination.

The highest level of EMT certification is Paramedic. A Paramedic's job description adds more invasive medical procedures and the ability to administer pharmaceutical drugs to patients. In order to become a Paramedic you must enroll in a Paramedic training program. Paramedic training requires 1200 hours of accredited education and passing a state approved Paramedic certification examination.

It is not necessary to move up to AEMT in order to become a Paramedic. You can go directly from EMT to Paramedic but it is highly recommended that you work in the field as an EMT for a few years before pursuing a Paramedic license.

The life of an EMT can be exciting and rewarding. Sometimes it seems like the most difficult part is navigating through your state's EMS website to find out what the requirements are to get your EMT license and start working.


To find out the specific requirements for getting your EMT license in your state visit How to Become an EMT.

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