These programs are often completed in three weeks to four months, and students can learn basic life support, first aid, wound care, and emergency rescue procedures. These programs combine classroom education with clinical training and typically require students to complete a minimum number of hours training in real-life, on-the-job settings. All EMTs must obtain certification to gain employment in the field.
To begin an EMT certificate program, students must have a high school education or equivalent, current CPR certification, minimum GPA, completion of science-related courses, previous volunteer experience and be at least 18 years of age.
Certificate Programs in Emergency Medical Technology
These programs cover basic issues related to human illness and injury as well as how to handle medical emergencies. Students also learn how to use common tools of the job. Common course topics include these:
- Emergency medical care
- Trauma assessment
In addition to coursework, students learn common skills such as these:
- Performing CPR
- Administering medicine
- Providing wound care
- Establishing respiratory air flow
- Conducting patient interviews
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Emergency services, fire departments and other government agencies are common employment spots for emergency medical technicians, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS expects an above-average growth rate for EMT and paramedic careers from 2014-2024, with a 24% increase in employment during that span (www.bls.gov). An aging population and rotating personnel within the industry will help fuel this job growth.
The BLS states that the mean annual salary for EMTs of all levels, including paramedics, was $35,430 in 2015. The bottom-paid ten percent made $20,860 or less annually, which is slightly over $10.00 per hour. However, EMTs in the top-paid ten percent made $55,110 or more per annum. Heavily populated metropolitan areas employ more EMTs than other locations. Washington D.C., Alaska, and the state of Washington paid their EMTs the best average salaries in the United States in 2015.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
Students who complete an EMT certificate program must obtain certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, or NREMT (www.nremt.org). The NREMT administers an exam in order to obtain certification required for gaining employment. Students who pass the exam must complete continuing education coursework as part of a recertification process once a year. EMTs may also need to meet additional state requirements in order to be legally eligible for employment.
EMTs can complete additional emergency services education in order to enhance their education, potential income, and career opportunities. EMTs can become paramedics, the highest level of EMT available, by completing a paramedic training program and passing additional certification. Some EMTs may also attempt to enter other healthcare-related careers, such as nursing. Healthcare careers are among the most booming industries throughout the coming decade.
In a short amount of time, students can earn an EMT certificate and enter a career slated for continued growth. The curriculum for EMT certificates is intense, preparing students for certification and the physical and demanding roles they will fill.