Last updated: September 1, 2020
How to Become an EMT
How to Become an EMT
Emergency Medical Technicians are mobile medical personnel. Not only do they save the lives of community members, but they get to perform their essential work outside of the four walls of the hospital. While EMTs are vital to the city, there is a difference between EMT with basic designation (EMT-B) and paramedics.
EMTs respond to emergencies and 911 calls as first responders in collaboration with paramedics, police, and firefighters. When deciding whether you should become an EMT, there are a lot of factors to consider. This article will discuss the educational requirements, skills, and salary required to become an EMT.
What is an EMT-Basic?
Did you ever wonder who answers a 911 call? EMT-B is an entry-level emergency medical technician that responds to emergencies and stabilizes patients while they are in the community. They typically require medical supervision by a physician or medical director. The main tasks for an EMT include:
- Splint fractured bones
- Immobilize spinal injuries
- Stop blood flow in the field
- Transport of injured people to the hospital
- Transfer of patients from one hospital to another
- Perform of CPR as needed
Skills to Be Successful
Becoming an EMT means that you have little notice of what you are walking into and often work in challenging environments. EMTs have an adrenaline-pumping career where they often deal with the unknown. Because of this intense pressure, EMTs need specific skills to ensure their success:
- Conflict and stress management
- Communication for listening, understanding, and speaking
- Physical stamina and fitness
What do you need to attend EMT school?
For starters, future EMTs must be at least 18 years old with a high school degree. Most clinical sites have additional specific requirements for students entering the program, including:
- background check
- complete immunization
- American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS) CPR certification.
What are the educational requirements?
The EMT program involves classroom course work that focuses on anatomy, physiology,pathophysiology, and medical trauma treatment. The program also covers resuscitation, airway management, medical terminology, special patient populations, and emergencies.
EMTs also attend simulations and directed care in labs. Future EMTs also obtain in-person experience during ambulance ride alongs and clinical rotations in emergency departments.
First, you will attend an accredited emergency medical services program that typically takes the course of one college semester. EMTs do not receive a college degree, but they will receive a certificate.
What are the certifications or licensures needed to become EMT?
An EMT must complete an emergency medical services provider course and then sit for the National Registry exam. After passing the exam, they must achieve certification through their state board to practice.
What is the difference between an EMT and a paramedic?
Paramedics and EMTs work in distinct roles and have a significantly different scope of practice. The major difference is the amount of training and education. EMTs need 120-150 hours of training, while paramedics get 1200 to 1800 hours of instruction in an intense program.
For example, EMT-Bs provide emergency medical treatment for those who need immediate stabilization and transfer them to a hospital. Some EMS professionals start as EMTs and go on to become paramedics because of the increase in pay. Paramedics also have advanced skills and can carry out more complex medical procedures en route to the hospital. Some paramedics provide these complex skills in the emergency department.
Where do EMTs work?
EMTs work in a variety of different environments:
- Private ambulance services
- Concerts and sporting events
- Fire and police departments
- Hospital emergency departments
- Urgent care
What is the salary and job outlook of an EMT?
The Bureau of Labor Services projects a 7% growth for EMTs over ten years, which is much faster than the national average of all occupations. Not only are they in demand, but EMT-Bs make an average of $36,867 per year. Being an EMT prepares you with valuable skills to further your career in healthcare.
Many EMTs opt to further their education to continue to a different job in the medical field. The career shift will often enable them to make more money, such as an emergency department nurse who averages $76,100 or a physician assistant that makes $107,843 each year.
The Bottom Line
EMTs have an exciting career where every day looks different. Each day EMTs have the potential to save lives and serve your community. With such an incredible skill set, some EMTs opt to use their background to move into other valuable medical careers. Becoming an EMT is a rewarding occupation with significant opportunities for advancement. Obtain your CPR certification today and take the first steps towards this life-changing profession.