If you're already an EMT, you know what it's like to be involved in intense situations where people (both patients and fellow co-workers) are counting on you to make the right decisions. These types of crucial, high-adrenaline events likely bring out the best in you, as you work quickly to evaluate what needs to be done and in what order.
But what if you feel like you can do more? If you're thinking about taking on more responsibility, then check out the steps you'll need to take in your field to make a change.
How To Move Up
A career as a paramedic is typically the next logical step up from an EMT. Many of the tasks are the same, so people feel comfortable sliding into the next role. Every state has different requirements, and it depends on the level of training you currently have. However, generally speaking, you'll need to become both certified and licensed by your state to become a paramedic.
Certification means passing a paramedic exam via computer. Licensing will involve a background check and overall verification of your skills. If you're an EMT as opposed to an advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT), then the next step would be to start learning college-level math and science. You may need more than 1,000 hours worth of courses to become a paramedic in your state. This type of prep means that you'll not only have the right practical skills but also the theory and anatomy behind what you do.
You'll need to have mastered the standard EMT duties of CPR, basic stabilizing methods, and oxygen administration before you can start performing paramedic duties like IVs or tracheal intubation. EMTs are not allowed to break the skin when they work, but paramedics can perform these tasks.
When To Move Up
You can expect to do about two years of training in an EMT role before you advance. Ideally, the sooner you make the decision, the better. Some people even volunteer in high school to be an EMT. Starting early puts you on a more focused trajectory.
However, if you've already been at your job for two years and are now deciding that you want to become a paramedic, don't worry. Even if you weren't actively seeking the information, you've probably heard of programs that your co-workers have done and can learn from them. Ask your supervisor for advice and a recommendation for the program you decide on.
Benefits Of Advancing Your Career
You have a huge advantage if you know the basics of paramedic duties, and you should always strive to take on as much responsibility as possible when you work. Doing so keeps you engaged and gives you achievable goals to work for, arguably the most important factor of being satisfied with your job. You will also have more opportunities to make the right decisions during emergency situations that can ultimately save someone's life. So, when you are ready to make the move to paramedic—or even to become an EMT—get into classes near you.