Think You Want to be an EMT or Paramedic? Five Facts to Know Before You Start
EMTs and paramedics are responsible for saving thousands of lives every year since they are usually the first on the scene for any emergency—be it a heart attack or a plane crash. Though this is an intense and pressure-packed career path, it is also a very rewarding job. If you think you want to be an EMT or paramedic, read on to get the facts before you start on the road to become one.
EMT’s vs. Paramedics
Before you choose one of these careers, you should know that they are not the same thing, and there are different levels of EMT’s and paramedics. An EMT-Basic is able to provide treatment to individuals at the scene of an accident, and are also able to care for the injured person during the time they are being transported by ambulance to a hospital. They work under the direction of more experienced medical personnel. The next level are EMT-Intermediates who have more advanced skills, but the tasks they can perform will be determined by the state where they are working.
Paramedics are able to provide a higher level of emergency care than an EMT. They can give oral and intravenous medications, and can interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs). They can also perform more advanced procedures and operate very complex equipment. The scope of their tasks are also determined by the state in which they are working.
Both EMT’s and paramedics have to go through a post-secondary educational program and become licensed. The organization that certifies emergency responders is the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). They provide certification programs for paramedics as well as EMT’s at the Basic and Intermediate level. There are certain states that provide their own certification programs for emergency responders, and these states provide their own titles and names for those who are certified in their emergency responder programs.
Paramedics and EMT’s work indoors, and outdoors in all types of weather. Both of these jobs require a lot of bending, kneeling and heaving lifting, and are generally required to be in good physical shape. One special thing about being an EMT or paramedic is that you have the chance to work with a variety of different patients suffering from a wide variety of injuries and ailments. EMTs and paramedics face every type of patient, from those with communicable diseases to people who are mentally unstable. Obviously, as emergency response professionals, EMT’s and paramedics will be places in stressful, time-sensitive situations that will often be life-or-death scenarios.
EMTs and paramedics must be skilled in using a variety of specialized equipment. They will know how to use backboards to immobilize an injured person. EMTs and paramedics are also able to use oxygen kits, sterile burn sheets, splints, head immobilizers, cervical collars and much more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for paramedics and EMTs was approximately $31,000 in the year 2012. The top ten percent earned over $53,000 a year. According to the BLS, the need for EMTs and paramedics is expected to increase over 22 percent between 2012 and 2022.
As you can see, pursuing a career as an EMT or paramedic is a great career for those who want an active, significant, fast-paced, and interactive job that is also rewarding and provides enough to make a living. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with these positions, but if you are the type of person who thrives on pressure and can react quickly, this might just be the job for you. The information for this article was provided by the professionals of 911 Industrial Response Inc. who specialize in safety services and training.