Paramedic Jobs – Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician
Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) provide medical care in emergency incidents such as car crashes, gunshot wounds, and heart attacks.
Paramedics and EMTs respond to calls and travel to the scene of these accidents, where they provide immediate medical help and prepare to transport the injured individuals to a medical facility.
The difference between a paramedic and an EMT is that a paramedic has more advanced training and qualifications, and is therefore permitted to provide more extensive medical treatment.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of an EMT or Paramedic
Emergency medical services are a 24-hour operation, so most EMTs and paramedics work irregular shift. Paramedics and EMTs work in teams, and when an accident occurs, a 911 operator will dispatch an emergency medical services team to the site of the emergency. After arriving at the scene, EMTs and paramedics must assess the patient, determine the first steps of treatment, and provide the emergency care appropriate for the situation. Often they help transport the patient to a hospital for further treatment.
The specific duties of an EMT or paramedic depend on his or her level of training. In the United States, there are five levels of certification for emergency medical service providers: first responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate 1985 and 1999, and Paramedic (the highest level). Paramedics are permitted to carry out procedures that lower levels are not, including oral and intravenous administration of drugs and the insertion of endotracheal intubations.
General Requirements and Training
In most states, a high school diploma is a requirement to enter a formal emergency medical technician training program. Students start at EMT-Basic, and can work their way up to paramedic. Some students complete one or two EMT levels, obtain a license, and begin working right away. Many EMTs return to school so they can move up to the level of paramedic, which offers increased wage and employment opportunities. After completing the EMT-Paramedic level, a one to two-year course offered at most community colleges and technical schools, students must take the NREMT examination to become certified paramedics.
Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual earnings for EMTs and paramedics as $29,330. Payscale.com also combines the earnings statistics for EMTs and paramedics in a single category, reporting the average salary of EMTs/paramedics with one to four years experience as $10.00 to $14.02 per hour, compared to $13.16 to $20.07 hourly after twenty years on the job. Salary.com differentiates between EMT and paramedic salaries, reporting that the average EMT earns $25,598 to $33,071 annually, compared to the average paramedic’s salary of $33,924 to $43,940.