Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic

Pros


  • This type of work helps care for people who have usually experienced a seriously traumatic accident or event.
  • Expected job growth is excellent for the future.
  • Those who work in this job have a lot a variety, and every day will be different experience for these workers.

Cons

  • There will be stressful situations in this job. You will be needed to work at sites of accidents, gunshot wounds, and so on.
  • The work that is done in this job will require that you bend, lift and stand for long periods of time.
  • This is dangerous work. There is a chance you may be injured or contract an infectious illness while on the job.

Overview

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics are first responders when there is an emergency situation requiring medical support. Some of the incidents that are responded to by these health professionals can include car accidents, shootings and heart attacks or strokes. Once at an emergency site, they work to stabilize victims that are sick or injured and work to transport them to a hospital.

When emergency medical technicians and paramedics respond to a scene, they will attempt to quickly diagnose medical problems with victims and provide critical care if need be. Once they have established who needs care, they will use equipment such as backboards and straps to secure patients. They will monitor vital signs, apply bandages, administer medication and stop bleeding, if needed. Their work is fast paced, and is done as a medical response team. Once they have arrived at a hospital with patients, they will report observations to the medical professionals there. They also must make detailed reports on their duties while in action in case this information may need to be used by law enforcement authorities.

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics usually have varying duties while working as part of a team. While they do spend time driving ambulances, they all must work outdoors in a wide array of weather conditions. They will also perform other duties outside of responding to emergencies, such as transporting patients from different medical facilities whether it is by car or by helicopter.

Education

To become a emergency medical technician or paramedic, one must at least have a high school diploma in order to get the specialized training to become one. The training is tiered into three levels: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and Paramedic. At the basic level, students learn trauma and emergency skills that are important to fieldwork. Once the training program has been completed a state licensing examination must be passed. This is the minimum requirement to enter the field, and the other levels of training can be completed later on.

Job Prospects

There are good job prospects for emergency medical technicians and paramedics. This can be attributed to an aging population. It is predicted that a growing amount of elderly people will cause call volume to increase for emergency medical response. Also, more medical facilities are specializing in particular medical practices which means that the need for medical transport professionals will continue to grow. These factors combined with the fact that older generations of emergency medical technicians and paramedics will retire soon means that there will be a good amount of opening for this type of work in the future.

Advancement Opportunities

In addition to the advanced training levels that can be achieved, there are a lot of opportunities for advancement in this career. Because of the stressful situations that emergency medical technicians and paramedics are put in, many employers realize that those who perform well in this occupation make great leaders who can be trusted with higher responsibilities. They can be found as managers, directors and even medical executives.