- Employment is projected to grow faster than the
average as paid positions replace unpaid volunteers.
- Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
need formal training and certification, but requirements vary by State.
- Emergency services function 24 hours a day so
emergency medical technicians and paramedics have irregular working hours.
- Opportunities will be best for those who have
earned advanced certifications.
Peoples lives often depend on the quick reaction
and competent care of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics.
Incidents as varied as automobile accidents, heart attacks, slips and falls,
childbirth, and gunshot wounds all require immediate medical attention. EMTs and
paramedics provide this vital service as they care for and transport the sick or
injured to a medical facility.
In an emergency, EMTs and paramedics are typically
dispatched by a 911 operator to the scene, where they often work with police and
fire fighters. (Police and detectives and firefighting occupations are discussed
elsewhere in the Handbook.) Once they arrive, EMTs and paramedics assess
the nature of the patients condition while trying to determine whether the
patient has any pre-existing medical conditions. Following medical protocols and
guidelines, they provide appropriate emergency care and, when necessary,
transport the patient. Some paramedics are trained to treat patients with minor
injuries on the scene of an accident or they may treat them at their home
without transporting them to a medical facility. Emergency treatment is carried
out under the medical direction of physicians.
EMTs and paramedics may use special equipment, such
as backboards, to immobilize patients before placing them on stretchers and
securing them in the ambulance for transport to a medical facility. These
workers generally work in teams. During the transport of a patient, one EMT or
paramedic drives while the other monitors the patients vital signs and gives
additional care as needed. Some paramedics work as part of a helicopters flight
crew to transport critically ill or injured patients to hospital trauma centers.
At the medical facility, EMTs and paramedics help
transfer patients to the emergency department, report their observations and
actions to emergency department staff, and may provide additional emergency
treatment. After each run, EMTs and paramedics replace used supplies and check
equipment. If a transported patient had a contagious disease, EMTs and
paramedics decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and report cases to the
EMTs and paramedics also provide transportation for
patients from one medical facility to another, particularly if they work for
private ambulance services. Patients often need to be transferred to a hospital
that specializes in their injury or illness or to a nursing home.
Beyond these general duties, the specific
responsibilities of EMTs and paramedics depend on their level of qualification
and training. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT)
certifies emergency medical service providers at five levels: First Responder;
EMT-Basic; EMT-Intermediate, which has two levels called 1985 and 1999; and
Paramedic. Some States, however, have their own certification programs and use
distinct names and titles.
The EMT-Basic represents the first component of the
emergency medical technician system. An EMT trained at this level is prepared to
care for patients at the scene of an accident and while transporting patients by
ambulance to the hospital under medical direction. The EMT-Basic has the
emergency skills to assess a patients condition and manage respiratory,
cardiac, and trauma emergencies.
The EMT-Intermediate has more advanced training.
However, the specific tasks that those certified at this level are allowed to
perform varies greatly from State to State.
EMT-Paramedics provide the most extensive
pre-hospital care. In addition to carrying out the procedures of the other
levels, paramedics may administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret
electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations, and use monitors
and other complex equipment. However, like EMT-Intermediate, what paramedics are
permitted to do varies by State.
Work environment. EMTs and paramedics
work both indoors and out, in all types of weather. They are required to do
considerable kneeling, bending, and heavy lifting. These workers risk
noise-induced hearing loss from sirens and back injuries from lifting patients.
In addition, EMTs and paramedics may be exposed to diseases such as hepatitis-B
and AIDS, as well as violence from mentally unstable patients. The work is not
only physically strenuous but can be stressful, sometimes involving
life-or-death situations and suffering patients. Nonetheless, many people find
the work exciting and challenging and enjoy the opportunity to help others.
EMTs and paramedics employed by fire departments
work about 50 hours a week. Those employed by hospitals frequently work between
45 and 60 hours a week, and those in private ambulance services, between 45 and
50 hours. Some of these workers, especially those in police and fire
departments, are on call for extended periods. Because emergency services
function 24 hours a day, EMTs and paramedics have irregular working hours.
Training, Other Qualifications,
Generally, a high school diploma is required to
enter a training program to become an EMT or paramedic. Workers must complete a
formal training and certification process.
Education and training. A high school
diploma is usually required to enter a formal emergency medical technician
training program. Training is offered at progressive levels: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate,
At the EMT-Basic level, coursework emphasizes
emergency skills, such as managing respiratory, trauma, and cardiac emergencies,
and patient assessment. Formal courses are often combined with time in an
emergency room or ambulance. The program provides instruction and practice in
dealing with bleeding, fractures, airway obstruction, cardiac arrest, and
emergency childbirth. Students learn how to use and maintain common emergency
equipment, such as backboards, suction devices, splints, oxygen delivery
systems, and stretchers. Graduates of approved EMT-Basic training programs must
pass a written and practical examination administered by the State certifying
agency or the NREMT.
At the EMT-Intermediate level, training
requirements vary by State. The nationally defined levels (EMT-Intermediate 1985
and EMT-Intermediate 1999) typically require 30 to 350 hours of training based
on scope of practice. Students learn advanced skills such the use of advanced
airway devices, intravenous fluids, and some medications.
The most advanced level of training for this
occupation is EMT-Paramedic. At this level, the caregiver receives training in
anatomy and physiology as well as advanced medical skills. Most commonly, the
training is conducted in community colleges and technical schools over 1 to 2
years and may result in an associates degree. Such education prepares the
graduate to take the NREMT examination and become certified as a Paramedic.
Extensive related coursework and clinical and field experience is required.
Refresher courses and continuing education are available for EMTs and paramedics
at all levels.
Licensure. All 50 States require
certification for each of the EMT levels. In most States and the District of
Columbia registration with the NREMT is required at some or all levels of
certification. Other States administer their own certification examination or
provide the option of taking either the NREMT or State examination. To maintain
certification, EMTs and paramedics must recertify, usually every 2 years.
Generally, they must be working as an EMT or paramedic and meet a continuing
Other qualifications. EMTs and
paramedics should be emotionally stable, have good dexterity, agility, and
physical coordination, and be able to lift and carry heavy loads. They also need
good eyesight (corrective lenses may be used) with accurate color vision.
Advancement. Paramedics can become
supervisors, operations managers, administrative directors, or executive
directors of emergency services. Some EMTs and paramedics become instructors,
dispatchers, or physician assistants; others move into sales or marketing of
emergency medical equipment. A number of people become EMTs and paramedics to
test their interest in health care before training as registered nurses,
physicians, or other health workers.
EMTs and paramedics held about 201,000 jobs in
2006. Most career EMTs and paramedics work in metropolitan areas. Volunteer EMTs
and paramedics are more common in small cities, towns, and rural areas. These
individuals volunteer for fire departments, emergency medical services, or
hospitals and may respond to only a few calls per month. About 30 percent of
EMTs or paramedics belong to a union.
Paid EMTs and paramedics were employed in a number
of industries. About 4 out of 10 worked as employees of private ambulance
services. About 3 out of 10 worked in local government for fire departments,
public ambulance services, and emergency medical services. Another 2 out of 10
worked full time in hospitals within the medical facility or responded to calls
in ambulances or helicopters to transport critically ill or injured patients.
The remainder worked in various industries providing emergency services.
Employment for EMTs and paramedics is expected to
grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. Job prospects
should be good, particularly in cities and private ambulance services.
Employment change. Employment of
emergency medical technicians and paramedics is expected to grow by 19 percent
between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Full-time paid EMTs and paramedics will be needed to replace unpaid volunteers.
It is becoming increasing difficult for emergency medical services to recruit
and retain unpaid volunteers because of the amount of training and the large
time commitment these positions require. As a result, more paid EMTs and
paramedics are needed. Furthermore, as a large segment of the populationaging
members of the baby boom generationbecomes more likely to have medical
emergencies, demand will increase for EMTs and paramedics. There also will still
be demand for part-time, volunteer EMTs and paramedics in rural areas and
smaller metropolitan areas.
Job prospects. Job prospects should
be favorable. Many job openings will arise from growth and from the need to
replace workers who leave the occupation because of the limited potential for
advancement, as well as the modest pay and benefits in private-sector jobs.
Job opportunities should be best in private
ambulance services. Competition will be greater for jobs in local government,
including fire, police, and independent third-service rescue squad departments
which tend to have better salaries and benefits. EMTs and paramedics who have
advanced education and certifications, such as Paramedic level certification,
should enjoy the most favorable job prospects as clients and patients demand
higher levels of care before arriving at the hospital.
Earnings of EMTs and paramedics depend on the
employment setting and geographic location of their jobs, as well as their
training and experience. Median annual earnings of EMTs and paramedics were
$27,070 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $21,290 and $35,210.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,300, and the highest 10 percent
earned more than $45,280. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the
largest numbers of EMTs and paramedics in May 2006 were $23,250 in general
medical and surgical hospitals and $20,350 in ambulance services.
Those in emergency medical services who are part of
fire or police departments typically receive the same benefits as firefighters
or police officers. For example, many are covered by pension plans that provide
retirement at half pay after 20 or 25 years of service or if the worker is
disabled in the line of duty.
According to the book description
of En Route: A Paramedic's Stories of Life, Death, and Everything in Between,
Stephen Kelly Grayson has seen the best of us at our worst. When hearts stop
working, when blood alcohol levels exceed limits we shouldnt contemplate, when
bodies are extricated from car wrecks, hes been there to pick up the pieces,
save our lives, and watch us slip away. His touching stories of life and death
and the hilarious ones of times in between are here to give us an insight of
what happens after we call 911, the ambulance doors close, or even what happens
inside the ER when the nurse shows the family to the waiting room.
According to the book description
of Workbook for Mosby's Paramedic Textbook, Updated to reflect the new 2005
emergency cardiac care guidelines! This easy-to-use study guide reinforces the
basic principles and skills needed to successfully practice in the field. This
exceptional workbook follows Mosby's Paramedic Textbook, Revised 3rd Edition, on
a chapter-by-chapter basis in an easy-to-use, self-pacing format. Chapters
contain patient care scenarios, multiple-choice questions with rationales,
review questions, matching, and fill-in-the-blank questions, and more. Also
included is a thorough review of anatomy and physiology, basic math tutorials,
and much more!
More than 2,200 questions in a
variety of formats - including multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank,
labeling exercises, and short answers - help students learn and understand
essential concepts. All questions have answers with rationales, and the answers
are cross-referenced to the objectives in the book. Perforated flash cards (32
drug cards and 22 ECG cards) make reviewing convenient and fun. NREMT skills
sheets are included to aid in skills review and practice. Updated to reflect the
new 2005 emergency cardiac care guidelines. A new case study section called
"Wrap it Up" features questions at the end of each chapter. Chapter summaries
from the textbook reinforce key concepts.
According to the book description
of Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine, In this unforgettable, dramatic
account of one man's experience as an EMT, Peter Canning relives the
nerve-racking seconds that can mean the difference between a patient's death and
survival, as Canning struggles to make the right call, dispense the right
medication, or keep a patient's heart beating long enough to reach the hospital.
As Canning tells his graphic, gripping war stories--of the lives he saved and
lost; of the fear, the nightmares, and the constant adrenaline-pumping thrill of
action--we come away with an unforgettable portrait of what it means to be a
According to the book description
of Barrons Paramedic test prep manual, it prepares applicants to qualify for a
paramedic license. Presented here are three full-length model examsone in the
book and two more on the CD-ROM. Each consists of multiple-choice questions with
answer sheets and answer keys for self-testing. Subject review chapters cover
the following paramedical topics: airway and breathing, cardiology, medical,
obstetrics/gynecology/pediatrics, and operations. The author also offers helpful
According to the book description
of Paramedic Exam, To get an EMT-Paramedic certification, candidates must not
only complete a rigorous course of study, but also take and pass the EMT-Paramedic
certification exam. This book offers the most current test prep for the exam
sponsored by the National Registry of EMTs. In addition to the four practice
exams and the official Practical Skills Exam of the National Registry of EMTs,
this edition also includes a list of professional EMT associations and
organizations, educational and training resources, and certification
requirements for each state.
According to theWorkbook
Essentials of Paramedic Care it, presents the knowledge of emergency care in an
accurate, standardized, and clear manner. This book is based upon the 1998 USDOT
National Standard Curriculum for the EMT Paramedic, helping readers prepare to
be excellent care providers in any emergency situation. Clearly written and
well-organized, this book covers the fundamentals of paramedic practice
including pathophysiology, pharmacology, medication administration, and advanced
airway management; assessment skills; trauma emergencies; medical emergencies;
and neonatal, pediatric, geriatric, home health care, specially challenged
patients, incident command, ambulance service, rescue, hazardous material, and
crime scene operations. For paramedics and those working in the field of
advanced prehospital care.
According to the description of
REAs Interactive FlashcardŽ book for the EMT-Paramedic exam, it helps students
check their test-readiness before taking this crucial exam. Our flashcard book
is the perfect refresher and offers a quick and convenient way to practice
answering questions. Written by an expert in the fire and EMS arenas, these
flashcards give students full scenarios to evaluate in a multiple-choice format,
just like the actual test.
This recommended study aid
contains more than 350 must-study questions that cover all official test
categories found on the EMT-Paramedic exam, including Airway & Breathing,
Cardiology, Medical, Obstetrics & Pediatrics, Scene Size-Up, and Trauma. Our
handy icons help students locate questions by subject, so they can review and
test their knowledge in specific areas. The book also provides fascinating fun
facts about the medical/EMT profession and its history.
The Premium Edition with CD-ROM
also contains four timed quizzes with detailed explanations of answers to
challenge test-readiness. As an added bonus, weve also included four full-color
anatomy charts covering: Anatomy & Physiology; The Skeletal System; The
Cardiorespiratory System; The Muscular System. Unlike most flashcards that come
loose in a box, our flashcards are bound in an organized, portable book that
makes studying a breeze. Students can write their answer on the front of the
card, and then compare it to the answer on the back of the card. This concise
question and answer format makes it easy to find the right answer, and we even
give details explaining why the answer is correct. Fully indexed for smarter
study, this book is an indispensable asset for anyone preparing for the EMT-Paramedic