Whenever there’s a natural disaster, accident or incident there are professionals responsible for helping and rescuing the victims as quickly and safely as possible. These professionals work from ambulances, fire engines, helicopters and are also based in hospitals. The professionals working in emergency health care are either emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics.
An emergency medical technician (EMT) and a paramedic are considered by many people as one and the same. While their skills and work tasks complement each other they are different in a number of important areas.
It is advisable for people considering their future career and also for people considering a career change to investigate and review the training and requirements for each occupation. Research the duties of an EMT and compare them with the duties of a paramedic along with the training and education requirements for each position to discover which appeals most to you.
There are different levels of emergency medical technicians, which vary from state to state. The first level is EMT Basic, some states have an EMT Intermediate level and the highest level is EMT Paramedic. All EMTs and paramedics are required to complete training programs and certification based on national and state requirements.
EMT Education and Training Requirements
The training program for students studying for the EMT Basic certification will take between six months and two years and requires between one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty hours to complete. These programs include classroom lectures, practical skills and out in the fieldwork experience. EMTs are trained to provide patients with basic emergency treatment on route to a hospital.
To enroll in the EMT Basic course a student must be at least eighteen years of age and have a high school diploma.
Paramedic Education and Training Requirements
As a paramedic provides patients with the highest level of care been they reach hospital they are put through a much more in-depth training program that can take up to two years and requires between one thousand two hundred and one thousand eight hundred hours to complete. The first step to becoming a paramedic is to train and study to be an EMT
The students learn from classroom lectures, practical skills and out in the fieldwork experience. Students are taught the correct medical procedures and how to handle medications correctly. The subjects that paramedics will cover include medical procedures, medications, cardiology as well as anatomy and physiology.
EMT Work Responsibilities
An EMT provides patients with basic emergency care from the scene of an accident or incident until they arrive at a hospital. They are responsible for the care of the patients and begin the medication of patients on route to the hospital.
EMTs are trained to give patients CPR, administer oxygen, and administer diabetics with glucose. They can also help with the treatment of allergic reactions or asthma attacks. As a rule, an EMT is not authorized to break a patient’s skin. There’s an exception to this rule for auto-injectors such as EpiPens.
Paramedic Work Responsibilities
Paramedics are trained to provide patients with basic as well as advanced life support. They are trained to a very high standard with an excellent understanding of medical procedures and authorized to perform them on patients to save their lives prior to arriving at a hospital.
Paramedics have responsibilities that EMTs do not such as administering medications and starting IV lines. They can also carry out manual defibrillation, intravenous access and drug administration, and endotracheal intubation. Depending on the state they are based in, paramedics are trained on how to use thirty to forty different medications.
EMT vs Paramedic Medical Responsibilities
Within an emergency care unit, EMTs are placed within the unit for basic life support while paramedics are placed within the unit for advanced life support. An EMT is authorized to administer oxygen, dextrose, glucose, nitrogen, ASA, ipratropium, salbutamol, and glucagon. They are also authorized to manage the subcutaneous routes during a patient’s treatment.
Paramedics are authorized to carry out as many as forty different medical procedures on patients. They can provide patients with airway management, and start an intravenous line whilst they administer medication. EMTs within the crew can assist and support the paramedic to care for and treat patients.
Driving Emergency Vehicles
Depending on the situation any member of the emergency medical services on board an ambulance could be required to drive it. Due to the risks involved some states require ambulance drivers to be certified. Depending on the situation, operating an ambulance can come with high risks as the operator is permitted by law to exceed the set speed limit and ignore traffic signs.
For these reasons the correct training is vital. To begin with, there’s a video course available from the Certified Emergency Vehicle Operators (CEVO) which lasts for between four to six hours. After viewing the video course an operator must complete practical training with a skilled and experienced driver.
Prospects for EMTs and Paramedics
Just like law enforcement officers and firefighters, paramedics and EMTs are known as first responders. Both of these medical professions require dedication and vital skills to provide patients with critical services.
While both of these careers are different regarding their responsibilities, roles, and annual salaries they do have excellent career prospects. The demand and job opportunities for both professions are increasing dramatically across the United States of America.
The requirements to apply and qualify for both courses are near enough the same. Make sure you select a school or college that’s authorized by your state to provide the training required to become certified and licensed to work in your chosen field.