What Do EMTs and Paramedics Do?
If you’re quick on your feet and work well under pressure, this may be the job for you. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics care for the sick or injured, and people’s lives often depend on the care and quick reaction time of these healthcare workers. EMTs and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities.
The specific responsibilities of EMTs and paramedics depend on their level of certification and the state they work in. There are four levels of expertise, including EMR, EMT, Advanced EMT and Paramedic.
- Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical assistance
- Assess a patient’s condition and determine a course of treatment
- Provide first-aid treatment or life support care to patients
- Transport patients safely in an ambulance
- Transfer patients to the emergency facility
- Share observations and treatment of patient to physicians, nurses or other healthcare staff
- Document medical care given
- Check that the ambulance is properly equipped and mechanically sound
- Replace or clean supplies and equipment
A high school diploma or equivalent and certification of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills are required for entry into training programs. Most entry level emergency medical technology programs can be completed in less than a year, but each level of expertise requires more training. Paramedics often require an associate degree and EMT certification. Technical institutes, community colleges, universities, and facilities that specialize in emergency care training facilities offer these training programs.
All states require EMTs and paramedics to be licensed, but the requirements vary.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs offers a list of accredited programs for EMTs and paramedics, by state.
- Are compassionate
- Have excellent interpersonal skills
- Are physically fit
- Work well under pressure
- Have strong problem-solving skills