Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are the first responders on scene for 911 calls requiring emergency medical care. Incidents ranging from automobile accidents to heart attacks warrant the immediate attention of EMTs to care for the sick or injured patients. People’s lives often depend on the quick reaction of EMTs and paramedics, who must complete formal EMT training and obtain licenses in their state in order to practice. If you would like to learn how to provide vital attention during emergencies and help transport the sick or injured to medical facilities, consider taking EMT classes.
Levels of EMT Training
The prerequisites for EMT school are typically a high school diploma or GED and a CPR certification. You do not need to have previous medical experience to become an EMT. Formal training is offered at community colleges, technical institutes, and emergency care training facilities.
There are several different levels of training available for EMTs, including First Responder, EMT-Basic, Advanced EMT, and Paramedic. First Responders have the basic skills required to work in the emergency medical system. Paramedics have the most advanced level of training, as they must complete both EMT-Basic and Advanced EMT programs, as well as pursue advanced medical skills training.
EMT-Basic training requires about 100 hours of specialized training, while Advanced EMT programs require about 1,000 hours of training. Paramedic programs require about 1,300 hours of training, take up to two years to complete, and culminate in an associate’s degree in applied science. EMTs must pursue training and licensure separately to drive an ambulance.
What EMT Classes Entail
EMT classes build the knowledge and skills to care for patients through lectures, skills labs, interactive presentations, and simulations. Programs consist of practical, hands-on skills training, clinical and field ride-alongs, and final testing. The didactic portion of EMT courses can be completed online, but you have to pursue hands-on skills training and clinical training in the field. Topics that EMT students may be required to study include:
- Basic anatomy and physiology
- EMS systems
- Medical/legal considerations
- Intravenous access and therapy
- Assessment & management of shock/trauma
- Assessment & management of medical emergencies
- Subcutaneous and intramuscular injections
All states require EMTs and paramedics to be licensed, but licensing requirements vary from one state to another. In most states, individuals who have EMT or paramedic certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) qualify for licensure but in some states, passing an equivalent exam in their state is required.
Job Outlook for Graduates of EMT School
Upon arriving to the scene of a medical emergency, EMTs are responsible for assessing a patient’s conditions, administering treatment, and accompanying patients by ambulance transport to an emergency healthcare facility. In 2012, the median annual wage of EMTs and paramedics was $31,020.
Graduates of EMT programs are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of EMTs is expected to grow by 33% from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than average for all occupations. Emergencies like natural disasters, car accidents, and violence will continue to increase the demand for qualified EMTs.
From responding to emergency calls to providing medical services, the quick reaction and competent care of EMTs can save lives. If you would like to work alongside police, fire fighters, and other emergency workers while responding to what are oftentimes life-or-death situations, consider pursing EMT training. While the work can sometimes be physically strenuous and emotionally stressful, it can also sever to be a rewarding career choice.
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