Certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) work as first responders, assessing and treating individuals who need medical attention during emergency situations. They undergo training and certification through different program levels starting from basic, intermediate to paramedic. During the certification process and throughout their career, certified EMTs gain extensive experience in clinical work.
To apply for EMT programs you will need to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or the GED equivalent. Oftentimes, a CPR certification, criminal background check and health exams are also required before admission.
EMT Certificate Programs
The number of hours required in EMT certificate programs vary depending on the level the student is taking but classes are usually done in a hospital or ambulance setting. Courses can include physiology, pharmacology, trauma assessment, anatomy and patient stabilization. Students also learn how to:
- Apply splints
- Take vital signs
- Control bleeding
- Operate stethoscopes
- Use oxygen and airway devices
- Use extrication tools
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), stated that careers are expected to grow at a rapid rate of 24% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Job growth is aided by an increase in calls due to an increase in the age of the general population. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all EMTs was $31,980 in May 2015.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
After completing the EMT-Basic certificate program, graduates should apply for certification with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The NREMT certification exam is a computer-based test that asks cognitive and psycho-motor questions involving basic emergency services care. Recertification is required every year and certified EMTs must pursue continuing education courses in order to retain their certification. Individual states may also have specific requirements for EMT personnel.
After earning an EMT-Basic certificate, students may go on to complete an EMT-Intermediate certificate program. An EMT-Basic certificate is commonly required for admissions to such a program, which can expand on basic EMT education by incorporating concepts like trauma management, airway management, patient assessment and advanced anatomy. EMT-Intermediate professionals are commonly qualified to carry out more advanced procedures than EMT-Basics, but the responsibilities vary from state to state.
The highest level of EMT available is the paramedic level, which can be reached through additional certification with the NREMT and the completion of an EMT-Paramedic certificate or an associate degree program in paramedic technology. Paramedics may be qualified to perform more advanced medical procedures, including intubations and administering medicine.
A certified EMT plays an important role in providing medical assistance during emergency situations. They undergo training and assessment by progressing from basic, intermediate to paramedic certification levels.