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Medical Support

Emergency Medical Technician

Career data updated last on 9/22/2014
Emergency Medical Technician

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are members of the emergency medical care team. They use their knowledge and skills to provide basic and advanced life support to seriously ill or injured patients before these patients reach the hospital. They are involved in patient rescue and they transport patients by ambulance or aircraft to appropriate medical centers. At the medical facility, EMTs and paramedics help transfer patients to the emergency department, report their observations and actions to emergency room staff, and may provide additional emergency treatment. After each run, EMTs and paramedics replace used supplies and check equipment. If a transported patient had a contagious disease, they decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and report cases to the proper authorities.

In addition to these general duties, the specific responsibilities of EMTs and paramedics depend on their level of qualification and training. To determine this, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) registers emergency medical service (EMS) providers at four levels: First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic. Some states, however, do their own certification and use numeric ratings from 1 to 4 to distinguish levels of proficiency.

Salary $21.22 hourly- $45,990- annually
Significant Points

Population growth and urbanization will increase the demand for full-time paid EMTs and paramedics rather than for volunteers. In addition, a large segment of the population—the aging baby boomers—will further spur demand for EMT services as they become more likely to have medical emergencies. There will still be demand for part-time, volunteer EMTs and paramedics in rural areas and smaller metropolitan areas.

Specializations

Advancement beyond the EMT-Paramedic level usually means leaving fieldwork. An EMT-Paramedic can become a supervisor, operations manager, administrative director, or executive director of emergency services. Some EMTs and paramedics become instructors, dispatchers, or physician assistants, while others move into sales or marketing of emergency medical equipment. A number of people become EMTs and paramedics to assess their interest in healthcare, and then decide to return to school and become registered nurses, physicians, or other health workers.

Work Environment

EMTs may be employed by ambulance, rescue or aero medical services, in specialty areas of hospitals and by private industry, educational institutions and government agencies. On ambulances, EMTs usually work in teams of two and may be exposed to a variety of weather conditions. They work closely with police and fire departments, search and rescue teams with ski patrols, mining companies, law enforcement, fire departments or parks/recreation services.

EMTs and paramedics employed by fire departments work about 50 hours a week. Those employed by hospitals frequently work between 45 and 60 hours a week, and those in private ambulance services, between 45 and 50 hours. 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 and paramedics have irregular working hours that add to job stress.

High School Prep

A high school diploma or equivalent is required with courses in biology, math and chemistry recommended. A valid driver's license and a good driving record are also required.

Academic Requirements

EMTs complete a 100-hour training program at a community college, a university, or a municipal or county emergency medical service organization. Students in the community college or university curriculum become eligible at different levels in their education to take the exams given by the Emergency Medical Services Division of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Formal training and certification is needed to become an EMT or paramedic.

All 50 States have a certification procedure. In most states and the District of Columbia, registration with the NREMT is required at some or all levels of certification. Other states administer their own certification examination or provide the option of taking the NREMT examination. To maintain certification, EMTs and paramedics must reregister, usually every 2 years. In order to reregister, an individual must be working as an EMT or paramedic and meet a continuing education requirement.

Schools/Organizations

Aims Community College-Fort Lupton Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Aims Community College-Greeley Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Aims Community College-Loveland Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Arapahoe Community College
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Colorado Mountain College
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Diploma-1 year Paramedic
Colorado Northwestern Community College
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Community College of Aurora
Certificate Degree Certificate
Community College of Denver-Lowry Campus
Diploma-1 year Paramedic
Delta-Montrose Technical College
Certificate Degree Certificate
Front Range Community College Boulder Campus
Certificate Degree Certificate
Front Range Community College Larimer Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Front Range Community College Westminster Campus
Certificate Degree Certificate
Mesa State College
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Morgan Community College
Certificate Degree Certificate
Northeastern Junior College
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Pikes Peak Community College
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Pueblo Community College-Pueblo Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Red Rocks Community College
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Southwest Colorado Community College West Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Southwest Colorado Community College East Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Trinidad State Junior College-Trinidad Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate
Trinidad State Junior College-Valley Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Certificate Degree Certificate

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