Advancement Opportunities for EMTs

Emergency medical technicians are important providers of basic health care in emergency situations. EMTs may wish to advance their careers by seeking further training in specialized medical careers, or by pursuing positions of an organizational or management nature.

Career Growth Opportunities for Emergency Medical Technicians

Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are entry-level providers of emergency health care. They typically begin their career with a short educational course of study and frequently work on ambulances to provide immediate care in emergency situations. Emergency medical technicians may wish to further their ability to provide patient care by exploring other medical specialties or administrative positions.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education
Paramedic $45,236 (2018)** 15% (EMT's and Paramedics) Paramedic Education Program
Emergency Management Director $72,760 (2017)* 8% Bachelor's Degree
Registered Nurse $70,000 (2017)* 15% Nursing Diploma or Degree
Physician Assistant $104,860 (2017)* 37% Master's Degree
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatcher $39,640 (2017)* 8% On-the-job training and possible certification

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **

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Career Information


Paramedics build on the skills learned as an EMT to become highly specialized providers of emergency care. Paramedics may administer medication in emergency situations and are skilled in topics such as airway management and emergency resuscitation. Good judgement and physical stamina are essential to these professionals who may work for hospitals or private ambulance companies. To become a paramedic, one must have previously attended an EMT program and have experience in that field. They must then enroll in a paramedic certification program of over 1,000 hours in length, which is often through an associate's or bachelor's degree program.

Emergency Management Director

EMTs have developed skills in thinking through and reacting to emergency situations. A career as an emergency management director might be a great next step. Emergency management directors help government agencies and nonprofit organizations to plan for and respond to natural disasters or other emergency situations. Examples of emergencies that these professionals might manage include hurricanes, floods, or terrorist attacks. To pursue a career as an emergency management director, a bachelor's degree as well as several years of experience is required.

Registered Nurse

EMTs who enjoy providing care to patients may wish to pursue further education to become a registered nurse, or RN. RN's provide patient care, educate patients about medical conditions, and support families. They may also provide wellness and preventative services and collaborate with the entire medical team to provide patient care. This care is provided in a wide range of settings, including doctor's offices, hospitals, and schools. To become an RN, one must obtain a diploma or degree in nursing and licensure through the state.

Physician Assistant

Emergency medical technicians who wish to advance in their ability to provide patient care may wish to study to become a physician assistant, or PA. According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the career of PA is one of the fastest-growing in the country. A physician assistant is often the main health care provider and works with other medical professionals to diagnose illnesses, treat patients, and prescribe medications. Hospitals and physician's offices are the most frequent settings for the work of a PA. To become a PA, a master's degree program is required that includes about 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. Each state will require licensure as well.

Police, Fire and Ambulance Dispatcher

EMTs may have developed excellent communication skills to understand the nature of a medical emergency. As such, expanding into a role as a dispatcher may be a good fit. Dispatchers work at public safety answering points. They screen calls to emergency numbers and send the appropriate first responder to the scene. The ability to be calm and elicit appropriate information from callers is critical. These positions require a high school diploma and on-the-job training; certification may be required.

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