Critical Care Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a critical care technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Critical care technicians are first responders at the scene of emergencies. They require training and licensing at one of three levels: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, or EMT-Paramedic. Each of these levels requires the completion of specific training courses and passing an exam.

Essential Information

Critical care technicians arrive on the scene to assist during health emergencies. These professionals can treat a variety of injuries or physical ailments, as well as transport patients to a hospital for extended treatment. Critical care technicians generally need to complete a formal educational training program and acquire a state license before working in the field.

Required Education Postsecondary training program
Licensure Required by state law
Other Requirements Continuing education required for license renewal
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 24% for all emergency medical technicians and paramedics
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $31,980 for all emergency medical technicians and paramedics

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), emergency medical workers, including critical care technicians, can work over 40 hours a week and sometimes at odd or irregular hours (www.bls.gov). A critical care technician generally works outdoors and indoors regardless of any weather condition. The BLS notes that technicians in this field can experience a great deal of physical labor including extended periods of heavy lifting, bending and kneeling. Critical care technicians can also be exposed to harmful diseases, violence from patients, stress, and injuries.

Job Duties

Critical care technicians are trained professionals who respond quickly and competently to medical emergencies. When entering an accident scene, a critical care technician quickly assesses the problems and begins implementing medical aid. Problems a critical care technician are trained to respond to include heart attacks, falls, childbirth, gunshot wounds, assaults, and automobile accidents.

Additional job duties are based on the amount of training and experience of the technician. For example, critical care technicians with paramedic training can perform procedures like endotracheal intubations, as well as use complex equipment like electrocardiograms. The primary duty of a critical care technician is to assist a patient long enough to get them to a hospital for extended treatment.

Job Requirements

A high school diploma is required to enter into formal training programs for critical care technicians. These workers can choose from three different levels of training, which include EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and Paramedic. A critical care technician needs at least a basic level of training, but the BLS notes that employers may recommend additional training. The training length for these programs varies; however, an examination is a general graduation requirement. Students learn how to perform emergency care for patients suffering from fractures, cardiac arrest, airway obstruction, and bleeding.

Critical care technicians typically need to receive licensure through the state as paramedics or EMTs. The licensure examination is normally done through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (www.nremt.org). Some states have their own examination and others allow applicants to choose either one. Every few years this state licensure has to be renewed through refresher courses or fulfilling continuing education requirements.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS projects that the employment of EMTs and paramedics will likely grow by about 24% during the 2014-2024 decade. The median annual salary earned by such workers was estimated as $31,980 in May 2015 by the BLS. Those emergency medical workers employed by surgical and medical hospitals earned an average salary of $36,700 in 2015, per the BLS.

Critical care technicians respond to a variety of health emergencies, and sometimes work long, strenuous hours. They need only a high school diploma, but must complete EMT training and pass an exam to receive a license. These professionals earn a median salary of about $32,000 a year, and their job growth outlook is predicted to be much faster than the market over the coming decade.

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