Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are trained in basic medical care, including first aid and other life-saving techniques. There are several different types of EMTs, based on a level system. The upper level EMTs undergo more schooling and are qualified to perform more advanced care than lower level EMTs.
Emergency Medical Technicians
All EMTs work as pre-hospital care providers. They attend to the medical needs of patients who are unable to make it to the hospital as-is, or who need medical attention immediately. EMTs are dispatched by 911 operators to scenes where needed, such as car crashes, heart attacks, home fires and childbirth. They often work with law enforcement and firefighters to aid patients. EMTs are concerned with providing required medical attention and transporting the patient to the hospital for further care from doctors and physicians.
Basic emergency medical technicians are qualified to provide medical care to individuals who are unable to get to a hospital and need immediate care. A basic EMT’s primary duty is to stabilize patients to transport them to a hospital. She performs life-saving techniques such as CPR and is typically qualified to treat poisoning and help with childbirth. A basic EMT must complete a high school diploma and training program in emergency medical technology. She must also pass a qualifying exam to earn licensure, which must be renewed every two to three years. (See References 2)
Intermediate emergency medical technicians complete more schooling than basic EMTs and are qualified to give more advanced and specialized care. An intermediate EMT specializes in either shock trauma, which means he can administer IV fluids, or cardiac, which enables him to analyze heartbeat patterns and administer heart medication. An intermediate EMT completes 35 to 55 additional hours of schooling and may also perform clinical training, after which he must also pass an examination to earn his license.
Paramedic emergency medical technicians are usually the first responders on the scene of a medical emergency situation. Paramedic EMTs are qualified to use lifesaving equipment to perform medical procedures including tracheal intubations, electrocardiography and oxygen delivery. A paramedic EMT usually completes either basic or intermediate EMT training before graduating from a paramedic EMT program. Paramedic EMTs can also attend secondary schooling to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. At the end of her schooling, she must pass an examination to obtain her license.
2016 Salary Information for EMTs and Paramedics
Emts and paramedics earned a median annual salary of $32,670 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, emts and paramedics earned a 25th percentile salary of $25,850, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $42,710, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 248,000 people were employed in the U.S. as emts and paramedics.