Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) play such and important role and have become critical to our lives. On a daily basis, they provide potential life-saving procedures in times of emergencies.
You’ve seen ambulances racing (safely) down the road in order to quickly get to an emergency situation, whether it’s a road accident, a slip or fall, a heart attack or many other types of emergencies.
If you are considering entering into this field and you’ve just started looking for information, here are some of the top things that you should understand about what is takes and means to become an EMT.
1. There Are 3 EMT Levels of Certification — You’ve probably heard of an Emergency Medical Technician or you may have even heard of a Paramedic. What you may not have known is that there are varying levels of EMTs, with Paramedics being the highest level of the EMTs. There are three main categories of EMTs: EMT Basic, EMT Intermediate, and EMT Paramedic. Here are some brief descriptions of each:
- EMT Basic is the lowest level of EMT Certification, having a basic set of skills required in an emergency.
- EMT Intermediate has two sub levels (EMT I/85 and EMT I/99). It is considered the mid-level for the career of an EMT and they can perform more advanced emergency procedures than an EMT Basic.
- EMT Paramedic is the highest level of certification for EMTs and they can perform the most advanced emergency medical procedures of all of the EMTs in a non-medical facility.
2. EMT Jobs Are Growing — Emergencies happen all the time and as the population grows, it’s doubtful that the need for emergency personnel will diminish. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the EMT field is a growing field and is expected to continue growing. Their projections are up to 2018 and there is expected to be an additional 19,000 jobs for EMTs during that time.
3. Certification Requirements Vary by State — All 50 states in the US can have different requirements for what they consider the minimum for becoming a certified EMT. One thing they all have in common though, is the fact that they all must meet the minimum requirements set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
4. Long Road to Become a Paramedic — Now you know that there are multiple levels of EMTs and that the highest level is Paramedic. Becoming a certified Paramedic is the hardest level to attain. It requires that you are already an EMT, which itself requires many hours of classroom training. On top of that, you must obtain another 1,000 hours of classroom training and clock in some clinical hours in operating rooms and other field jobs to get more real life, on the job type experience.
5. Working Hours Can Be Long and Irregular — Emergencies can happen any time, so it’s a 24 hour job. This requires that some EMTs will be working odd hours to cover the work shifts that are in the middle of the night. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is not uncommon for EMTs to work more than 40 hours, and in some cases for Paramedics working with a hospital, up to 60 hours. Take this into consideration for the type of work style that you are most comfortable with.