EMT Job Description

EMT job descriptionJob overview

  • On average, emergency medical technicians make around $14 per hour
  • There are three levels of training for emergency medical technicians
  • With training, EMTs can become paramedics

What do EMTs do?

Most people can go their entire career without making a life-or-death decision at work. Most emergency medical technicians (EMT) can't go a single day without making one.

EMTs are first responders in the event of medical emergencies. They respond to any medical emergency, but the most common are car accidents, childbirth, violent traumas, heart attacks and accidents.

Emergency medical technicians are usually dispatched by emergency operators (9-1-1). After arriving on the scene, they work with other emergency personnel (fire fighters and police) to stabilize and transport patients to hospitals best equipped to treat them.

How much do EMTs make?

The average salary for all emergency medical technicians is about $14 per hour. Emergency medical technicians with more experience or in areas with high demand can earn up to $24 per hour.

What are the education requirements to be an emt?

To become an EMT you'll need a high school diploma or GED and formal emergency training. There are three levels of EMT training. The EMT-basic covers a variety of different tasks including dealing with fractures, bleeding, cardiac emergencies and respiratory emergencies. To complete the basic coursework you'll need to pass the state written and practical exam.

The EMT-intermediate training requires the basic training and the addition of 30 to 350 training hours. You'll also learn to administer intravenous fluids, some medications and manage more advanced equipment.

Paramedic is the highest level of training. Paramedics are trained, usually at community colleges, in anatomy and physiology. In some cases, paramedics are awarded associates degrees for their training and finish the program prepared to take their NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) to become a licensed paramedic.

Career paths for EMTs

Many emergency medical technicians choose to stay in their roles for extended periods of time, but advancement opportunities do exist. Some EMTs decide to become managers and administrative directors, while others pursue careers in teaching. Those who grow tired of the demanding field can become dispatchers or physician assistants. Many people also work as EMTs as a first step into healthcare jobs such as registered nurses or doctors.

The future of EMTs

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects an increase in emergency medical technician positions over the 2008-2018 decade. The increased need for emergency medical technicians is largely due to aging baby boomers. In addition to higher call volume, EMTs also have to spend longer with each patient once they reach the emergency room due to overcrowding and insurance paperwork. The longer each EMT spends with each patient, the more need there is for additional personnel to handle other calls.

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