Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics Career Description
A career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic can be very exciting and fulfilling. People's lives are in their hands daily and they are held in high regard by the general public. It's a job that requires one to be quick on his/her feet and think fast in stressful situations. Because of the importance this career holds it requires a lot of training in order to become a EMT or paramedic.
The incidents EMT's and Paramedics are called upon vary from automobile accidents, heart attacks, drowning, childbirth and gunshot wounds. EMTs and paramedics work closely with 911 operators and police or fire departments. When arriving at the scene they assess the situation and the extent of injury or illness. They must then decide whether to provide care or transport the patient to the hospital. Should the patient need to be transported the the hospital, the EMT then helps transfer patients to the emergency department, report the situation to the emergency room staff, and provide additional medical treatment needed.
How to Become an Emergency Medical Technician
There are different levels of EMTs, however all must know how to assess the emergency scene, control bleeding, assist with childbirth, apply splints, administer oxygen and perform CPR and other basic life support skills. Although a GED or high school diploma is needed to begin the process, you'll need to complete an accredited EMT program, usually a 6-month to 2-year certificate, diploma or associate degree program depending on the level of certification. EMT Basic is the first level of the Emergency Medical Technician system. An EMT I-Basic program will provide you with plenty of hands-on experience in how to perform physical exams, assess trauma, administer oxygen, perform airway maintenance and semi-automatic defibrillation, and administer medication.
The EMT Intermediate (EMT II and EMT III) have more advanced training and thus have more responsibilities. They are allowed to administrate intravenous fluids, use of manual defibrillators to give life-saving shocks to stopped hearts, and applicate advanced airway techniques and equipment to assist patients experiencing respiratory emergency. Paramedics (EMT-paramedic) have the most training and administer more emergency medications and perform a wider variety of procedures.
EMTs of all levels must have good physical strength and skills. It is important that they have good vision and are emotionally stable. EMTs work in all types of conditions and weather and are often required to do considerable kneeling, bending, and heavy lifting. EMTs employed by fire departments work 40-50 hours per week; those employed by hospitals frequently work between 40-60 hours per week; and those employed by private ambulance services work between 45-50 hours per week.
The US Department of Labor predicts career opportunities for EMTs will grow faster than average through the year 2014. Paid EMTs will continue to replace unpaid volunteers because of population growth and urbanization. Employment opportunities are available with fire and police departments, hospital emergency departments, ambulance services, and clinics. The best opportunities will be for those individuals who have advanced certification because of the higher level of care needed before arriving at the hospital.
How Much Does an Emergency Medical Technician Make - Emergency Medical Technician Salaries
According to the American Medical Association EMT salaries range between $40,000-$46,000 annually.