EMT-Basic Training Program Overview
In the field of emergency medical services, there are four levels: Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), and paramedic. All of these professionals respond in emergencies, but they are trained to provide different levels of care. A paramedic is the most advanced, while EMTs are trained to provide basic care. To become an EMT, you must take a training class and then get certified. Note that the EMT level used to be known as EMT-Basic or EMT-b, and some courses still use that name.
EMT-B Training Program Coursework
In an EMT basic course, EMTs learn about the response for types of emergencies involving airways and ventilation, cardiac arrest, trauma, obstetrics and gynecology, and more. These courses are usually comprised of about 120 to 150 hours in total but can be longer. In addition to classroom training, they include hands-on learning. They may learn skills including:
- Managing bleeding
- Taking vital signs
- Splinting and joint immobilization
You can find schools with EMT training programs throughout the country. Community colleges, medical centers, fire and police departments and more offer accredited EMT training programs. These programs can be found on the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs website.
EMT-Basic Training Program Admission Requirements
To enter an EMT training program, applicants will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. They may need to be older than 18, at least by the time the program ends. Courses usually require a CPR certification. They may also ask for a background check and drug screening, proof of personal health insurance, and vaccine history. Some courses may have other unique requirements, like passing a reading comprehension exam.
EMT-B Certification and Advancement
Once students complete an EMT training course, they need to get licensed to work in their state. Most states award licensure to EMTs who have become certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. This process involves completing a cognitive exam, which tests all parts of EMT care, in addition to a practical exam in which applicants perform the emergency procedures that they learned in their training class. In some states, students may have to complete a state-issued exam instead.
To renew their NREMT certifications, EMTs must get certified again every two years. They can do this by completing continuing education or by retaking the cognitive exam.
To advance to higher levels of AEMT and paramedic, an applicant must be a certified EMT first. Then, they can take AEMT or paramedic training programs, which are given by the same kinds of institutions as the EMT programs. Some paramedic programs can result in an associate's degree.
EMT Career Overview
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent and completion of an EMT-B course|
|Required Certification||National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician certification or state equivalent|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||7%*|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)||$34,320*|
Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
EMT Job Description
EMTs are first responders in emergencies when someone calls 911. EMTs need the skills to provide basic emergency care to patients before they get to the hospital. They are able to do things like take a patient's vitals, manage bleeding, immobilize joints and more. They know how to use the tools and equipment in an ambulance to do this. The tasks they perform depend on the state. Shifts can take place at all times of the day and night, including weekends, and can be 12 to 24 hours long. EMTs can be employed by ambulance services, local governments, and public or private hospitals.
EMT Salary and Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that EMTs and paramedics earn a median salary of $34,320 as of 2018, and employment in this career field is expected to grow by 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than average. This growth is likely due to an aging population. Although many people work full time as EMTs, they can also be volunteers.