Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Paramedics Job Description
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are usually the first medical specialists to see patients who have been in accidents, disasters, victims of violent crime or have suffered other medical emergencies, such as having a heart attack or stroke. Often, the medical care provided by EMTs and paramedics is vital to keeping a patient alive while they are transported to hospitals. Transportation of patients is also the responsibility of people in this field.
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics Job Duties
Unlike most professions, EMTs and paramedics spend almost all of their time in the field, assessing the condition of patients, giving them proper treatment and transporting them to a medical facility. Their work must be done no matter the weather or the location of the emergency. It is a physically and potentially emotionally demanding field.
An emergency medical technician or paramedic job description would include:
• Responding quickly to 911 emergency calls involving accidents, disasters or medical emergencies
• Quickly assessing a patient’s medical condition and taking a course of action
• Using procedures and guidelines given them by physicians who oversee their work
• Helping transport patients to medical facilities, a task that may involve using backboards and restraints to keep a patient still
• Maintaining supplies and equipment for medical emergencies
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics Job Outlook
Fast growth is expected in this field over this decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of jobs for EMTs and paramedics will grow 33% by 2020, much faster than other occupations. Part of the factors in this projection, according to the BLS, are that the number of car crashes, natural disasters and violent crime will continue to create demand for emergency workers. There are also part-time job opportunities for EMTs and paramedics in rural areas.
As of 2010, according to the BLS, the median pay for EMTs and paramedics was $30,360 a year.
EMT and Paramedics Training and Certification
The education needed to become an EMT or paramedic depends on the level of the job attained. According to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, there are three main levels:
• EMT-Basic, who has the skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac and trauma emergencies.
• EMT-Intermediate or Advance-EMT, who has the EMT-Basic skills plus advanced skills such as administering intravenous fluids and some medications.
• Paramedics, who have more pre-hospital care training and experience than EMTs. In addition to EMT skills, paramedics also can give medications both orally and intravenously and use more advanced equipment such as electrocardiograms.
All of these levels require completing a training program. For an EMT-Basic, there are about 100 hours of training required, plus instruction in assessing patient’s condition, handling medical emergencies and using field equipment. The Advanced-EMT level requires 1,000 hours of training as well as instruction on more advanced field duties, such as administering some types of medication. In addition to all the EMT training, paramedics programs require 1,300 hours of training that make take about 2 years to complete.
All emergency workers, regardless of location, must be certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, which requires completing all the training programs and passing an exam.
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