Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) respond to health care crises such as heart attacks, unexpected childbirth, car accidents, and fires. EMTs use their knowledge and skills to provide basic and advanced life support to seriously ill or injured patients before these patients reach the hospital. Under the direction of a physician, EMTs are told how to proceed with medical care. They perform CPR, control bleeding, place splints on broken bones, and check pulse and respiration.
The EMT-Intermediate has more advanced training that allows administration of intravenous fluids, and use of advanced airway techniques and equipment to assist patients experiencing respiratory emergencies.
EMTs and EMT-Intermediates work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather. EMTs work 40+ hours per week. Some of these workers, especially those in police and fire departments, are on call for extended periods. Because emergency services function 24 hours a day, EMTs have irregular working hours that require a significant time commitment.
The EMT’s work is not only physically strenuous, but may also be stressful, involving life-or-death situations and suffering patients. Nonetheless, many people find the work exciting and challenging, and enjoy the opportunity to help others.
Employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2014, as full-time paid EMTs and paramedics replace unpaid volunteers. As population and urbanization increase, and as a large segment of the population—aging baby boomers—becomes more likely to have medical emergencies, demand will increase for EMTs and paramedics.
Formal training and certification is needed to become an EMT or EMT-Intermediate. Training is offered at progressive levels: EMT-Basic, Intermediate, or Paramedic. EMT-Basic represents the first level of skills required to work in the emergency medical system. EMT-Intermediate training requirements vary from state to state. Basic EMT education requires 140 hours of training along with 20+ hours of clinical observation time on ambulances and in local emergency rooms.
Certification is required in the state of Connecticut. Prerequisite: Connecticut requires U.S. D.O.T., EMT-B training program; State practical and written exam.
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
P.O. Box 1400
Clinton, MS 39056
National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
PO Box 29233
Columbus, OH 43229