Career Profile - Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics are necessary parts of emergency care in
hospitals, and represent a fast growing employment opportunity in one of America's only
remaining growth industries. Though EMTs and Paramedics work strange hours, they are
responsible for the expedient and educated care of people in need.
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics are the first people on the scene for
immediate medical attention to events like accidents, gunshot wounds and heart attacks.
They provide on site care, attempt to stabilize the patient and transport to a medical facility.
Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians usually work in concert with other 911
dispatched servicemen, like firefighters and policemen. When called, EMTs and paramedics
are responsible for analyzing the situation and attempting to stabilize the patient. They
do primary diagnostic work, determining the nature of the present condition and checking
for any existing medical problems, then transport the injured party to a hospital, where
emergency room doctors take over.
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics begin their education with a high school
diploma. Workers must attend a training program, but do not need a college degree to
enroll. All states require training and education, but the amount of each varies by region.
Employers are most likely to hire EMTs and Paramedics with higher levels of experience,
and advanced certifications. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians is the
largest provider of certifications, though some states also offer private programs. In
general, the certification is divided into five stratum: First Responder, EMT-Basic,
EMT-Intermediate, which is subdivided into 1985 and 1999, and Paramedic. EMT-Basic is the
lowest level, and paramedic is the highest.
Emergency Medical Technicians with Basic certification are allowed to provide
transport, care for the patient at the scene of the accident and during transit, and is
trained to manage conditions. Basic level EMTs, like the other levels, are allowed to
maintain respiratory and cardiac function during an emergency, and are also qualified to
deal with trauma, like broken bones. The next level, EMT Intermediate, requires more
education and training in order to perform more complicated procedures, as dictated by
state law. EMT-Paramedics have the highest level of education of Emergency Medical
Technicians. They can administer medication, use equipment and can perform procedures.
Emergency medicine is a strenuous line of work. EMTs need to be physically prepared for
the position, and should be able to life heavy loads and perform additional demanding
tasks as well, in rain or shine. Because of the strange hours and inhospitable conditions,
work as an EMT is not recommended for the faint of heart. Furthermore, paramedics and
technicians need to be able to make rational decisions quickly in order to save a life.
Anyone interested in the field should be comfortable with the responsibility for a
EMTs and Paramedics who work in the public sector, rather than pursue employment
through a private hospital, typically earn a better wage and have better benefits. The
average EMT earns approximately $30,870 a year, as reported in 2007.