How to Become an EMT

How to Become an EMT

Every day around the country medical emergencies occur. In these situations, people’s lives depend on the competence and fast reaction of emergency medical technicians (EMTs). EMTs are highly trained medical staff that provides care to people involved in a variety of medical emergencies.

What does an EMT do?

EMTs provide emergency care to patients when incidents occur and if needed quickly transport patients to the closest medical facility. They care for patients from many different incidences such as heart attacks, automobile accidents, falls, gunshot wounds, emergency childbirth, and other occurrences that require immediate medical care. EMTs are dispatched to the incident scene by 911 operators and then assess the condition of the injured and follow the proper medical procedures.

EMTs typically work in teams with other EMTs or paramedics. Usually when transporting a patient, one EMT drives and the other provides care. EMTs help transfer the patients to the emergency department at the medical facility. They give report on the status and care of the patient.

What kind of training does an EMT need?

EMTs need at least a high school diploma to enter a formal EMT training program. EMTs complete training at the EMT-Basic or the EMT-Intermediate level. The basic level provides instruction on emergency skills and equipment and students complete coursework and gain practical experience in an ambulance or emergency room. Students learn more advanced skills in the intermediate program. Graduates of both programs must pass a written and practical test that is administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) or a state certifying agency.

All states require EMTs to be certified. Most states require NREMT certification and others administer their own certification test. EMTs must become recertified every two years. They must also complete continuing education to stay up to date with their medical skills and new technology.

What are the prospects for a career as an EMT?

Employment for EMTs is expected to grow faster that average for occupations, increasing 19% from 2006 to 2016 (1). An aging population and the need to replace unpaid EMT volunteers will drive job growth.

Job prospects are projected to be good especially for EMTs with advanced education and certifications. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace EMTs who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do EMTs make?

As of September 2009, the middle 50% of EMTs earned annual salaries between $25,633 and $33,111. The top 10% earned annual salaries of more than $36,781 (2).

A career as an EMT is a great choice for people interested in providing emergency care to patients. EMTs must be emotionally stable, have good eyesight and accurate color vision, and be able to lift and carry heavy things. They must also have good coordination and dexterity. Being able to work in stressful situations is essential, as many patients need immediate care that is a matter of life or death.

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