EMT Information for Aspiring EMTs

Sep 10, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an emergency medical technician (EMT). 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.

EMT training is available at different levels. New EMTs start with beginner classes then progress to intermediate and advanced EMT work. Associate programs in paramedicine are also available before an EMT pursues their state license.

Essential Information

An EMT is a medical professional who responds to accidents and other situations where individuals or groups of people require prompt medical attention. The primary goal of an EMT is to provide emergency medical care and quickly transport patients to the nearest medical facility. Three levels of EMT education are available, including basic, intermediate and paramedic. All states require EMTs to be licensed. Employment opportunities should be good for EMTs and paramedics; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts faster than average job growth in this field for the next few years.

Required Education EMT training course at the basic or intermediate level; associate's degree for paramedics
Other Requirements All states require licensing
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 7%
Median Salary (2018)* $34,320

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

Educational Options

State training requirements and licensure processes for EMTs vary. Courses, particularly those for aspiring paramedics, generally are offered through technical and community colleges.

EMT-Basic Training

Aspiring EMTs enrolled in this course learn the skills needed to provide basic patient care in a variety of emergency medical situations. Some of the topics discussed include cardiac arrest, proper control of bleeding, patient assessment, emergency childbirth and respiratory trauma. Students also receive training in moving patients from the scene of an accident and using emergency medical equipment.

EMT-Intermediate Training

EMT-intermediate training courses expand on the knowledge and skills learned at the basic level. Students explore emergency pharmacology, medication administration, clinical decision-making, shock and burns. They also might study pediatric, geriatric and obstetrical emergencies. Students generally complete a series of clinical rotations that test their knowledge, as well as their leadership and psychomotor abilities.

Associate's Degree in Paramedicine

Associate's degree programs in paramedicine typically can be completed in two years of full-time study. They generally include clinical rotations and an internship, in addition to lectures and laboratories. Courses cover topics such as advanced life support, medical documentation and terminology, patient assessment, medical mathematics and general pharmacology.

Licensure and Certification Requirements

All states require licensure before a person can begin work as an EMT. Currently, most states utilize certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) as a licensing requirement. Once an EMT has obtained his or her license, it must be kept current. Generally, this requires completion of continuing education courses.

EMTs are medical professionals who respond to emergency medical situations. Therefore, they must be well trained in trauma, emergency pharmacology and basic patient care. EMTs can pursue EMT specific courses or they can go for a degree in paramedicine.

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