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What's The Difference? EMT Vs. Paramedic

In an emergency situation, very few patients stop to think about whether they are being cared for by an emergency medical technician (EMT) or a paramedic. EMTs and paramedics both care for sick or injured patients. Their lives depend on your quick reactions and efficient care. And while there are many similarities like these between the two careers, there are also distinctions—the biggest difference being the level of training.

EMT Training

EMTs receive 120 to 150 hours of training in order to become certified. EMT training covers the most important elements of emergency medical training. EMT is the most common certification in the emergency medical services field, and what most people refer to when referencing EMS careers.

Paramedic Training

After successfully completing EMT training and receiving an EMT certification, EMTs can go on to become a paramedic by earning a certification for that level. You will build on knowledge gained from the EMT program and learn about supportive care such as administering medications and starting intravenous (IV) lines. Paramedic training ranges from 1,200 to 1,800 hours. Like the EMT certification, it consists of lectures, hands-on training, and clinical and field internships.

Medical Care

Beyond the two levels of training, the biggest difference between an EMT and a paramedic is the medical care that can be administered. Many states do not allow basic EMTs to break a patient’s skin, which includes starting IVs and giving shots. Paramedics can administer shots, use advanced airway management to support breathing, and are trained to use over 30 different types of medications.

Get Started Quickly

If you’re looking to enter the medical field at ambulance speed, you may want to consider becoming an EMT. EMT training is substantially shorter and can always be advanced with a paramedic certification. Fill out our short form to find a school near you, and a career specialist will contact you directly.

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