Job Description - EMT and Paramedic:
When a person suddenly becomes ill or is injured in an accident, he or she must receive medical treatment immediately. An EMT (short for Emergency Medical Technician) or paramedic is trained to administer this on-site emergency care. Upon arriving on the scene, he or she assesses the patient's injuries or illness, provides emergency treatment and then the EMT or paramedic transports the patient to a medical facility for further treatment. The duties of EMTs and paramedics often overlap, but paramedics are trained to deliver more advanced care than EMTs are.
Employment Facts - EMT and Paramedic:
There were 210,700 EMTs and paramedics employed in 2008.
Educational Requirements - EMT and Paramedic:
One must have a high school diploma before training to become an EMT or paramedic. There are three levels of training for those who want to work in this field: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and Paramedic. At the EMT-Basic level, coursework consists of emergency skills and patient assessment. Students being trained at the EMT-Intermediate level learn how to use advanced airway devices and administer intravenous fluids and some medications. Paramedics receive the most advanced training which may result in an associate degree. The coursework at this level includes anatomy, physiology and advanced medical skills.
Other Requirements - EMT and Paramedic:
To work as an EMT or paramedics, one must be licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state, but most require EMTs and paramedics to pass the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) Exam. Generally, licenses must be renewed every two to three years. Some states have their own certification exams which EMTs and paramedics must pass in order to practice.
Advancement Opportunities - EMT and Paramedic:
A paramedic may eventually become a supervisor, operations manager
, administrative director or executive director of emergency services. Some EMTs and paramedics become instructors, dispatchers or physician assistants.
Job Outlook - EMT and Paramedic:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment for EMTs and paramedics will grow about as fast as the average through 2018.
Earnings - EMT and Paramedic:
EMTs and paramedics, in 2009, earned median hourly wages of $14.42 and a median annual salary of $30,000.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much an EMT or paramedic currently earns in your city.
A Day in an EMT and Paramedic's Life:
On a typical day an EMT or paramedic's tasks might include:
- assessing the nature of a patient's illness or injuries
- using special equipment to immobilize a patient before transporting him or her to a medical facility
- checking a patient's vital signs
- driving an ambulance
- reporting his or her observations about a patient to hospital emergency room personnel
In addition to those tasks, paramedics may also:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos101.htm (visited February 17, 2010).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/29-2041.00 (visited November 17, 2010).
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