Medical Technicians and Paramedics
Training and Education
|Recommended Degree Level||Certificate or Higher|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||232,860|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||4.6%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||12,080|
What's needed: A high school diploma or GED qualification is a required prerequisite for beginning the specialized training courses to become a certified EMT. Training courses are available for EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and Paramedic certification and include a wide range of hands-on experiences that cover a comprehensive range of emergency situations. Coursework may take up to two years and may include classroom work as well as internships and on-the-job training.
What you study:
Your classes will vary depending upon the level of certification you seek. However, most EMT training programs will include some or all of the following courses:
- Specialized driver's training and licensing for driving an ambulance
- Training in medical equipment and procedures used in emergency situations
- Patient assessment
- Trauma care and first aid training
- Stabilization for fractures and spine injuries
- Defibrillation techniques
You may also receive training in facilitating childbirth and infant care procedures.
Shows a short introduction of what Emergency Management Technicians (EMTs) do. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
As an emergency medical technician, you may be known as a med-tech, an EMT or a paramedic. Regardless of your title, you'll be responsible for handling the following tasks:
- You will serve as a first responder to accident scenes and injuries in private homes and commercial establishments.
- You'll perform triage in larger accidents to organize the efficient use of medical resources to treat patients effectively.
- You will make initial diagnoses and offer emergency treatment for patients on the scene and inside the ambulance.
- You'll prepare the patient for moving into the ambulance and transport to the nearest medical facility.
A typical day will begin with an inspection of the ambulance or mobile treatment center to ensure that you have all the needed materials. You'll replace any items that are missing and check the functionality of your equipment. At any moment, a call could come in that will take you directly to the scene of a medical emergency. Your people skills will be a valuable asset as you work to calm patients and their families in a stressful situation and discuss the details of the medical emergency or accident with those present at the scene.
Once you've evaluated the condition of the patients, you will determine the best course of emergency treatment in each case. You and your fellow EMTs will then arrange to transport the patients to the most appropriate medical facility in the area for further treatment while managing their care en route.
You may also handle the transportation of patients from one medical facility to another during the course of your day. You'll monitor their condition to keep them stable throughout the journey and provide medical treatment as necessary while on the way to the new treatment center.
Certifications and Licensing
Every state in the U.S. requires licensing and certification for EMTs and paramedics. To achieve certification with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, applicants must pass a standardized written examination. Some states require a separate certification examination in order to obtain a license to practice as an EMT.
Full-time versus part-time:
Most EMTs work full-time hours, and overtime is required in most EMT and paramedic positions. Additionally, shift work is the norm in most job environments.
EMTs and paramedics perform most of their duties in emergency situations and may work at the scene of accidents, in private residences or anywhere that immediate medical attention is required.
Working as an emergency medical technician can be a rewarding and exciting way to make a living. These websites can offer some added insight into the daily activities and responsibilities that go along with these fast-paced and challenging careers.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Consult this government-maintained site to get a general overview of the salary ranges, job responsibilities and likely career paths for individuals in the paramedic and EMT fields. The site also offers detailed information on the working environment and the necessary educational qualifications for entry-level med-tech positions.
- American Ambulance Association -- The AAA was established in 1979 as the premier trade organization for ambulance companies and their staff members. Students and practicing EMTs can find information on upcoming meetings, planned advocacy activities and job postings for positions within the ambulance services industry. This can provide valuable insight into possible employment opportunities and networking in this career field.
- National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians -- This is one of the largest membership organizations for EMTs. NAEMT's website provides in-depth information for aspiring and current EMTs regarding continuing education opportunities within the industry. Students can also peruse health and safety tips for EMTs.
- National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians -- The leading certification body for EMTs and paramedics, NREMT, offers this website with a great deal of detailed information for students on the requirements for certification as an EMT. Since certification is usually a prerequisite for licensing, this information can be very useful in planning out an appropriate course of study.
- National Association of State EMS Officials -- Currently, every state in the U.S. requires that emergency services providers be licensed. The NASEMSO website provides information for any aspiring EMTs about the specific licensing requirements for their state and their planned career path. This detailed information can help anyone better prepare for these requirements throughout their studies.
- Emergency Medical Services -- Sponsored by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the EMS website offers students access to standardized data on the industry and can be a valuable source of information on educational opportunities for both initial studies and continuing coursework.