An emergency medical technician (EMT) is a first responder to accidents, natural disasters and medical emergencies. EMTs work with police and fire departments, and they are typically dispatched by 911 operators. A prospective EMT can get entry-level training through an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic program. Students wishing to advance can opt for EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic programs, both of which require additional training. All programs include clinical experience and training. Prior to entrance into an EMT program, students must have a high school diploma or GED, as well as CPR certification. Entrance into an EMT-Intermediate or Paramedic program requires students to successfully pass EMT-Basic training.
Emergency Medical Technician-Basic Program
An EMT-Basic training program provides graduates with the basic skills needed for entry-level positions in emergency medical services. EMT courses were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which ensures that coursework meets the standards of the Highway Safety Act of 1966 (amended). Students learn basic skills, such as patient assessment and diagnosis, oxygen administration, cardiac arrest management, bleeding control and shock management. Students must complete a specified amount of hours of clinical experience on an ambulance.
Applicants are required to have a physical examination from the past year and provide documentation of tuberculosis testing, hepatitis screening and proof of immunizations against childhood diseases. Students are required to have health insurance and are often subjected to background checks. EMT-Basic training is the first level of training for EMTs. Along with coursework, students gain clinical experience through internships in hospital emergency rooms and during ambulance runs. Courses include:
- Site assessment
- Trauma assessment
- Accessing the scene
- Infants and adolescents
- Ambulance operations
- Airway evaluation
EMT-Intermediate Training Program
The EMT-Intermediate training program is designed to teach students advanced life support (ALS) treatment for trauma victims and people in need of emergency medical care. Heart defibrillation, intravenous applications and drug administration are the focus of the course. Students gain clinical experience through internships at hospital emergency rooms and in ambulances.
Students must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. EMT-Basic certification is required. EMT-Intermediate training generally requires 30 hours of training beyond EMT-Basic coursework. Focus of the program is on ALS treatment. Successful completion of the program allows graduates to sit for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians EMT-I certification exam. Courses include:
- EMT-I basics
- Human systems
- Emergencies - trauma
- Emergencies - medical
- Administration of medications
EMT-Paramedic Training Program
Training in an EMT-Paramedic program covers advanced medical skills, anatomy and physiology. Students participate in clinical experience and field work. Programs may focus on moral, legal and ethical issues and the well-being of the paramedic.
Applicants must be certified as an EMT-Basic, be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. Students must have had a negative TB scan in the past 12 months and must show documentation of immunizations. Students learn the full spectrum of ALS skills and take coursework in gynecological conditions, psychiatric and behavioral emergencies, pediatrics and pre-hospital environment.
- Advanced practice for paramedics
- Assessment based management
- Medical emergencies
- Emergency medical services operations
- Airway management
- Patient assessment
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment for emergency medical technicians is expected to grow by 24% during the 2014 through 2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS states that EMTs and paramedics earned a median annual wage of $31,980 for 2015.
Successful completion of an EMT-Basic program prepares graduates to sit for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians examination. Certification is required by all 50 states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). EMT-Basic program graduates looking to advance and acquire new skills can seek EMT intermediate training, while EMT-Intermediate graduates can seek EMT-Paramedic courses. Those with an EMT paramedic degree may choose to pursue degrees in the healthcare and medical field.
Students of these EMT-paramedic school programs learn the medical skills needed to be first responders and provide emergency medical services to sick and injured people. The career outlook for certified EMTs is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate, so students of these programs may look forward to many career opportunities.