Medical Technician - EMT - Paramedic Career Education Overview

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

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Emergency medical technicians begin the treatment of patients before they reach the hospital. They need to complete a paramedic certificate or associate's degree program, as well as becoming certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. In some states they are also required to be licensed.

Essential Information

Emergency medical technicians (EMT) are the personnel who help stabilize patients before they reach the hospital. A paramedic EMT has been trained at the most advanced level of emergency medical services. Aspiring paramedics must complete EMT-Basic training before enrolling in a paramedic training program; some degree programs incorporate both levels of training into the curricula. All paramedics must be licensed by the state in which they work.

Required Education Completion of a paramedic certificate or associate's degree program
Certification/Licensing Must be certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians; licensing required in all states
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 24% for EMTs and paramedics
Median Salary (2015)* $31,980 for EMTs and paramedics

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Education Overview

Paramedic medical technicians are the highest level of medical emergency personnel. They respond to emergency situations, and are trained to provide medical care such as freeing blocked airway passages or distributing medicine orally and intravenously.

All EMT medical technicians must have a current cardiovascular resuscitation (CPR) certification. In order to become an EMT-Paramedic, students must first complete EMT-Basic training and then EMT-Paramedic training. Students have the option of completing an EMT-Intermediate program, but this is not required to become an EMT-Paramedic.

EMT-Basic Program Information

EMT-Basic programs introduce students to fundamental life-saving skills. Students learn how to approach the scene of an accident and stabilize the injured person. Classes cover topics in breathing, patient assessment and trauma operations.

EMT - Paramedic Program Information

Training programs for EMT-Paramedics can be found at universities, community colleges and technical schools. In many cases, they take up to two years to complete and result in an Associate of Science in Medical Technology or similar degree. Students complete clinical experiences and coursework in disaster preparedness, pharmacology, anatomy cardiac emergencies.

Certification Information

After completing every EMT training program, students must take proficiency exams in order to qualify for a license. All states require their paramedics to be licensed professionals. The National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians provides exams for each level of EMT, through paramedic. Some states have their own respective licensing exam that aspiring EMT-Paramedics must pass.

Once a student has successfully completed an exam and become certified, the individual must renew their license through continuing education every 2-3 years, in order to maintain their credentials. Common continuing education courses include:

  • Childbirth, infant and childcare
  • New types of medication
  • Advanced patient prep and assessment
  • Life support responsiveness
  • Traumatic respiratory situations
  • Unique medical issues and emergencies

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 24% job growth for EMTs and paramedics in the years 2014-2024. The BLS reported in May 2015 that paramedics and EMTs earned a median annual salary of $31,980.

Emergency medical technicians respond to emergency situations with the goal of stabilizing patients before they reach the hospital. All emergency medical technicians are required to be trained in CPR, be certified, and, in some states, they may also need to be licensed. From 2014-2024, jobs for EMTs and paramedics are expected to grow at a much faster than average rate for all occupations.

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