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How to Become an Ambulance Technician

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An ambulance technician (also known as an Emergency Medical Technician or EMT) is a rewarding career. To become an ambulance technician takes schooling and dedication.

Decide what kind of ambulance technician you want to become. An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) takes a few months of schooling. A paramedic (EMT-P) can take more than a year of education, sometimes even up to two years.

Develop and strengthen your people skills. Make sure you are not afraid of blood or other bodily fluids.

A basic ambulance technician or EMT can take vital signs, give oxygen, and perform a few other simple life-saving tasks. A paramedic can perform invasive procedures, start IV's, give medications, read heart rhythms and other complicated jobs.

Find an EMT class in your area. Whether you want to stick with being a basic ambulance technician, or move on to paramedic school, you will still have to start out as an EMT-B. Local hospitals, community colleges and fire departments are good places to find EMT classes.

After graduating from EMT class, and passing your state's licensing exam, you are eligible to work on a private ambulance service, a hospital-based service, or even some fire department ambulances (depending on where you live). You may have to apply to be a firefighter in order to work on a fire department ambulance.

Make sure you keep your driving record clean, and avoid a criminal record. Most ambulance companies and fire departments will not hire an ambulance technician with a record of bad driving or committing crimes.

Tip

Remember there is a difference between a basic EMT and a paramedic. EMT's can only perform simple life-saving skills. Paramedics are highly-trained professionals with skills similar to emergency room nurses.

About the Author

Audrey Esposito is a retired firefighter/paramedic in suburban Chicago. She is a hospital paramedic educator and quality coordinator, writing professionally since 1984. Esposito has written for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, "Fire Apparatus" magazine, "Fire Chief" magazine and several other publications. She holds a Master of Science in management/organizational behavior from Benedictine University.

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