What does an EMT do? As an Emergency Medical Technician, you’re a first responder providing medical assistance for those who are sick or injured. You can be called to any variety of emergency scenes, whether it’s a car accident, weather-related disaster, or someone having a heart attack or stroke, to name just a few scenarios. The long story short is that you save lives.
There are different levels of EMTs:
- EMRs or First Responders: At this level, you will be controlling bleeding, giving oxygen, and performing CPR and other very basic care using minimal life-saving equipment.
- EMT Basic: You’ll take care of patients at the scene of the emergency and also en-route to the medical facility. You are trained and equipped to handle certain traumas such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Advanced EMT: You’ll have a bit more training beyond the EMT basic, allowing you to start IVs and administer some medicines.
- Paramedic: To be a paramedic, you’ll need an associate’s degree. Not only are you trained and able to do everything the EMTs do, but you can also provide more patient care.
Depending on the state you’re in will determine your exact job responsibilities. However, on a basic level you will monitor and assess the patient, manage many different forms of injuries from burns to breaks, and deliver babies when necessary. You will transport patients via an ambulance, transfer patients to and from medical facilities, and report and document the medical care you’ve given. Find an EMT training program.
EMT Career Path
Most EMTs and paramedics complete a certificate or degree program. Here is what you’ll need to do if you’re thinking of becoming an EMT.
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Go through an accredited EMT program. These last anywhere from one to two years.
- Once you finish your training, you’ll need to get licensed. Check with your state for the requirements because they will vary.
- Take an additional 8 hours of training so you can drive the ambulance.
- To move up and become a paramedic, you must get an associate’s degree.
How Much Money do EMTs Make?
You’ll probably be working more than 40 hours per week, sometimes with shifts lasting between 12-24 hours. You’ll earn over $35,000 on average, with those who have been in the career around ten years making close to $60,000. There is a faster than average employment growth expected for EMTs and paramedics through 2029. The aging population—bringing more emergencies such as heart attacks—is what is driving this growth.