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Public Service EMTs and Paramedics
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$32,700 - $64,600 21,000+

What Does a Paramedic Do? What Does an EMT Do?

If you like helping people and work well in a fast-paced, changing environment, either of these in-demand jobs could be a good fit for you. 

Paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are often the first medical personnel to reach a sick or injured person. 

They respond to emergency calls, transport patients to medical facilities and perform emergency medical care onsite or enroute to the hospital. The medical team’s quick reaction time is critical and often results in lives saved. 

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 emergency medical responder (EMR), EMT, Advanced EMT and paramedic. We’ll go into more detail on these levels below.

EMS calls can range from a life-saving emergency to a mundane health need, but the response team is always focused and ready to help.

These jobs require a steady, calm demeanor, especially when a patient isn’t rational or the situation gets out of hand.

If that sounds like a career you'd enjoy, keep reading to learn more. 

paramedics stabilize a female patient on a gurney in front of an ambulance
The response time of EMTs and paramedics can determine the difference between life and death for a patient. (Credit: Michael Jung/Shutterstock)


  • Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical care
  • Assess a patient’s condition and determine what medical procedures are needed
  • Provide first-aid treatment to patients (Depending on role, this may include life support)
  • Transport patients by ambulance to a medical facility quickly and safely
  • Share observations with healthcare staff
  • Document medical care 
  • Check that the ambulance is properly equipped and mechanically sound
  • Keep supplies and equipment updated and clean

How To Become a Paramedic or EMT: FAQs

The bottom line:

For someone who is level-headed and loves helping others, this line of work is worth exploring. There are always new opportunities to learn more and gain new skills. In fact, there’s no limit to how far you can rise in the medical profession! If this sounds interesting, check out SkillPointe’s training options near you.

Ryan Hollingsworth, EMT ambassador

What is it like to be a paramedic?

Ryan Hollingsworth loves that his job in emergency medical services (EMS) allows him to help people, no matter the circumstances. 

"We see people in their weakest and darkest times," he says. "In EMS, we get to help change people’s lives and even sometimes save their lives." 

Of course, there are mundane calls as well. But he loves the unpredictability.

As he puts it: "There's no such thing as a routine in EMS."

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