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EMT Career Paths, Career Options

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are first responders to medical emergencies, and as one, you have to make split-second decisions that could result in life or death. A day in the life of an EMT can be both thrilling and stressful. Emergency medical tech training courses will prepare you for your chosen career.

EMT Educational Requirements

All states require emergency medical technicians to have a high school diploma or GED and be a minimum of 18 years old with a driver’s license. To be a working EMT, you must be certified. Because some heavy lifting may be unavoidable, an EMT should be in relatively decent physical shape. Being able to maintain your emotions and stay alert and aware of your surroundings are a couple of qualities necessary to a successful technician.

EMT Training

The three levels of emergency technicians require different amounts of training.

  1. EMT training: You will have approximately 120 hours of training in the EMT path. You will learn how to respond to fractures, bleeding, cardiac emergencies, childbirth, and natural disasters. Instruction will include anatomy, lifting and moving people, airway and trauma management, and patient assessment. You may be required to hold a certificate in CPR prior to beginning your education, although some schools do offer CPR as part of your studies.
  2. AEMT training: This level of training will run between 30-300 hours depending on your state’s requirements. On this intermediate level, expect more in-depth courses to train in life support, medication, and administering an IV. Internships may be expected in this level of training.
  3. Paramedic training: This is the highest level of EMT training and can take up to two years to complete. The coursework is generally taken through a community college or trade school and will lead to an associate degree in applied science. Courses include both general education along with classes specific to a paramedic. Expect to take medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and psychology, among many other courses. There is also field training to gain on-the-job knowledge and experience.

EMT Certifications

Once you have completed the EMT training, it’s time to become certified. You must be able to pass the NREMT certification exam in order to get a job as an emergency medical technician. Each level of schooling has its own NREMT exam to take. The exam will include a written portion as well as competency and demonstration portions. Once you have it, the EMT license will need to be renewed every two to three years.

Make Your Own Career

The way you handle your career as an emergency technician is up to you. Start out as an EMT and stay there, or get all your training at once and enter the field as a paramedic. The choice of how you grow, make money, and help others is all yours; what makes sense for you?

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