The emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedic
specialty is excerpted along with a sampling of resources from the all new 4th
edition of Health Care Job Explosion! and features EMT and
paramedic technicians' working conditions, job outlook, training, employment,
earnings, and related occupations. Related health care jobs are featured in the
same format as presented for EMTs in the text version of Health Care Job
Explosion! Occupational groups are divided into primary and related occupations
so that individuals can investigate other fields for additional job
opportunities. EMT jobs and paramedic jobs are available in most
communities and they range form paid positions to voluntary services.
Health Care Job Explosion features over 1,400 career
exploration and job vacancy resources. Resources are grouped with each
occupation and a sample of related resources are included with the first
People’s lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care of
emergency medical technicians ( EMTs) and paramedics—EMTs with additional
advanced training to perform more difficult prehospital medical procedures.
Incidents such as automobile accidents, heart attacks, drownings, childbirth,
and gunshot wounds all require immediate medical attention. EMTs and paramedics
provide this attention as they care for and transport the sick or injured to a
In an emergency, EMTs and paramedics typically are dispatched to the scene by a
911 operator, and often work with police and fire department personnel. Once
they arrive, they determine the nature and extent of the patient’s condition
while trying to ascertain whether the patient has preexisting medical problems.
Following strict rules and guidelines, they give appropriate emergency care and,
when necessary, transport the patient. Some paramedics are trained to treat
patients with minor injuries on the scene of an accident or at their home
without transporting them to a medical facility. Emergency treatment for more
complicated problems is carried out under the direction of medical doctors by
radio preceding or during transport.
EMTs and paramedics may use special equipment, such as back-boards, to
immobilize patients before placing them on stretchers and securing them in the
ambulance for transport to a medical facility. Usually, one EMT or paramedic
drives while the other monitors the patient’s vital signs and gives additional
care as needed. Some EMTs work as part of the flight crew of helicopters that
transport critically ill or injured patients to hospital trauma centers.
At the medical facility, EMTs and paramedics help transfer patients to the
emergency department, report their observations and actions to emergency room
staff, and may provide additional emergency treatment. After each run, EMTs and
paramedics replace used supplies and check equipment. If a transported patient
had a contagious disease, EMTs and paramedics decontaminate the interior of the
ambulance and report cases to the proper authorities.
Beyond these general duties, the specific responsibilities of EMTs and
paramedics depend on their level of qualification and training. To determine
this, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) registers
emergency medical service (EMS) providers at four levels: First Responder,
EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT- Para-medic. Some states, however, do their
own certification and use numeric ratings from 1 to 4 to distinguish levels of
The lowest-level workers—First Responders—are trained to provide basic emergency
medical care because they tend to be the first persons to arrive at the scene of
an incident. Many firefighters, police officers, and other emergency workers
have this level of training. The EMT-Basic, also known as EMT-1, represents the
first component of the emergency medical technician system. An EMT-1 is trained
to care for patients at the accident and while transporting patients to the
hospital under medical direction. The EMT-1 has the emergency skills to assess
patient conditions, manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies.
The EMT-Intermediate (EMT-2 and EMT-3) has more advanced training that allows
the administration of intravenous fluids, the use of manual defibrillators to
give lifesaving shocks to a stopped heart, and the application of advanced
airway techniques and equipment to assist patients experiencing respiratory
emergencies. EMT-Paramedics (EMT-4) provide the most extensive prehospital care.
In addition to carrying out these procedures, paramedics may administer drugs
orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform
endotracheal intubations, and use monitors and other complex equipment.
EMTs and paramedics work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather.
They are required to do considerable kneeling, bending, and heavy lifting. These
workers risk noise-induced hearing loss from sirens and back injuries from
lifting patients. In addition, EMTs and paramedics may be exposed to diseases
such as hepatitis-B and AIDS, as well as violence from drug overdose victims or
mentally unstable patients. The work is not only physically strenuous, but can
be stressful, some-times involving life-or-death situations and suffering
patients. None the less, many people find the work exciting and challenging and
enjoy the opportunity to help others.
EMTs and paramedics employed by fire departments work about 50 hours a week.
Those employed by hospitals frequently work between 45 and 60 hours a week, and
those in private ambulance services, between 45 and 50 hours. Some of these
workers, especially those in police and fire departments, are on call for
extended periods. Because emergency services function 24 hours a day, EMTs and
paramedics have irregular working hours.
EMTs and paramedics held about 192,000 jobs in 2004. Most career EMTs and
paramedics work in metropolitan areas. Volunteer EMTs and paramedics are more
common in small cities, towns, and rural areas. These individuals volunteer for
fire departments, emergency medical services (EMS), or hospitals, and may
respond to only a few calls for service per month or may answer the majority of
calls, especially in smaller communities. EMTs and paramedics work closely with
fire-fighters, who often are certified as EMTs as well and act as first
responders. A large number of EMTs or paramedics belong to a union.
Full-time and part-time paid EMTs and paramedics were employed in a number of
industries. About 4 out of 10 worked as employees of private ambulance services.
About 3 out of 10 worked in local government for fire departments, public
ambulance services, and EMS. Another 2 out of 10 were found in hospitals,
working full time within the medical facility or responding to calls in
ambulances or helicopters to transport critically ill or injured patients. The
remainder worked in various industries providing emergency services.
Formal training and certification is needed to become an EMT or paramedic. A
high school diploma is typically required to enter a formal training program.
Some programs offer an associate degree along with the formal EMT training. All
50 states have a certification procedure. In most states and the District of
Columbia, registration with the NREMT is required at some or all levels of
certification. Other states administer their own certification examination or
provide the option of taking the NREMT examination. To maintain certification,
EMTs and paramedics must re-register, usually every 2 years. In order to
reregister, an individual must be working as an EMT or paramedic and meet a
continuing education requirement.
Training is offered at progressive levels: EMT-Basic, also known as EMT-1;
EMT-Intermediate, or EMT-2 and EMT-3; and EMT-Paramedic, or EMT-4. EMT-Basic
course-work typically emphasizes emergency skills, such as managing respiratory,
trauma, and cardiac emergencies, and patient assessment. Formal courses are
often combined with time in an emergency room or ambulance. The program also
provides instruction and practice in dealing with bleeding, fractures, airway
obstruction, cardiac arrest, and emergency childbirth. Students learn how to use
and maintain common emergency equipment, such as backboards, suction devices,
splints, oxygen delivery systems, and stretchers. Graduates of approved EMT
basic training programs who pass a written and practical examination
administered by the state certifying agency or the NREMT earn the title "
Registered EMT-Basic." The course also is a prerequisite for EMT-Intermediate
and EMT-Paramedic training.
EMT-Intermediate training requirements vary from state to state. Applicants can
opt to receive training in EMT-Shock Trauma, wherein the caregiver learns to
start intravenous fluids and give certain medications, or in EMT-Cardiac, which
includes learning heart rhythms and administering advanced medications. Training
commonly includes 35 to 55 hours of additional instruction beyond EMT-Basic
coursework, and covers patient assessment as well as the use of advanced airway
devices and intravenous fluids. Prerequisites for taking the EMT- Inter-mediate
examination include registration as an EMT-Basic, required classroom work, and a
specified amount of clinical experience.
The most advanced level of training for this occupation is EMT- Paramedic. At
this level, the caregiver receives additional training in body function and
learns more advanced skills. Extensive related coursework and clinical and field experience is
required. Because of the longer training requirement, almost all EMT- Paramedics
are in paid positions, rather than being volunteers. Refresher courses and
continuing education are available for EMTs and paramedics at all levels.
EMTs and paramedics should be emotionally stable, have good dexterity,
agility, and physical coordination, and be able to lift and carry heavy loads.
They also need good eyesight (corrective lenses may be used) with accurate color
Advancement beyond the EMT-Paramedic level usually means leaving fieldwork. An
EMT-Paramedic can become a supervisor, operations manager, administrative
director, or executive director of emergency services. Some EMTs and paramedics
become instructors, dispatchers, or physician assistants, while others move into
sales or marketing of emergency medical equipment. A number of people become
EMTs and paramedics to assess their interest in health care, and then decide to
return to school and become registered nurses, physicians, or other health
Employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics is expected to
grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2014, as full-time
paid EMTs and paramedics replace unpaid volunteers. As population and
urbanization increase, and as a large segment of the population—aging baby
boomers—becomes more likely to have medical emergencies, demand will increase
for EMTs and paramedics. There will still be demand for part-time, volunteer
EMTs and paramedics in rural areas and smaller metropolitan areas. In addition
to jobs arising from growth, openings will occur because of replacement needs;
turnover is relatively high in this occupation because of the limited potential
for advancement and the modest pay and benefits in private-sector jobs.
Job opportunities should be best in private ambulance services. Competition will
be greater for jobs in local government, including fire, police, and independent
third-service rescue squad departments, in which salaries and benefits tend to
be slightly better. EMTs and paramedics who have advanced certifications, such
as EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic, should enjoy the most favorable job
prospects as clients and patients demand higher levels of care before arriving
at the hospital.
Earnings of EMTs and paramedics depend on the employment setting and geographic
location as well as the individual’s training and experience. Median annual
earnings of EMTs and paramedics were $25,310 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent
earned between $19,970 and $33,210. The lowest 10 percent earned less than
$16,090, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $43,240. Median annual
earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of EMTs and paramedics
in May 2004 were: Local government, $27,710; General medical and surgical
hospitals, $26,590; Other ambulatory health care services, $23,130.
Those in emergency medical services who are part of fire or police departments
receive the same benefits as firefighters or police officers. For example, many
are covered by pension plans that provide retirement at half pay after 20 or 25
years of service or if the worker is disabled in the line of duty.
There are 121 total resources presented in the paperback version of
Health Care Job Explosion! 4th edition by Dennis V. Damp for medical
technicians including EMTs and paramendics. Resources include Job Ads, Job
Hotlines, Job Fairs, Placement services, Associations, Books, Directories and
Internet (Web) Sites. Your local library may have this book in their reference
section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus shipping with all major
credit cards from our toll free service at
1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only).
International Association of Flight Paramedics (IAFP) - 4835 Riveredge Cove,
Snellville, Georgia 30039; 770/979-6372. The web site (http://www.flightparamedic.org)
has job ads and links to other job sites.
JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services) - JEMS Communications;
Job s listed on line by state. Check college library stacks for this.
MERGInet - (http://www.merginet.com)
Resources for emergency, fire and rescue professionals include an EMS classified
Municipal/County Executive Directory - Carroll Publishing Company, 4701
Sangamore Road, #S-155, Bethesda, MD 20816; 800/336-4240. (http://www.carrollpub.com)
Published twice a year, the municipal directory lists 7,900 municipalities and
their officials; the county directory lists all the more than 3,000 counties and
their officials. Check your local library; the contact information is not on the
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) - 132-A East
Northside Drive, Clinton, MS 39056; 800/34-NAEMT, 601/924-7744. (http://www.naemt.org,
firstname.lastname@example.org) Membership is for nationally registered or state
certified EMTs. A few jobs currently listed on web site. Directory on web of
Resume Writing Service - Professionally package your health care
resume for entry level, standard, and executive positions.
The following health technician occupations are featured in the all new 4th
edition of Health Care Job Explosion!.
Each of the following occupations are featured exactly like the
Dental Hygienist occupational description and
includes resources for each listing. Your local library may have this book in
their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus $5.75
shipping with all major credit cards from our toll free service at
1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only). This
book is also available at all major bookstores.