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EMT Paramedic

Career Overview

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are trained medical workers that are usually the first responders to a medical emergency call. Sometimes referred to as paramedics, they are the crew members on board an ambulance responding to home health emergencies, auto accidents, fires or other public disasters where there have been injuries.

EMTs are trained in first aid and in how to handle initial contact with a seriously injured person, stabilizing the patient on a backboard and taking steps to avoid shock. In serious cases often they will be in radio contact with a physician in an emergency room or clinic. They will transport the patient to a medical facility if necessary.

Education

There are several levels of training and licensure for EMTs and paramedics. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) has established five levels of service: First Responder; EMT-Basic; two levels of EMT-Intermediate; and Paramedic. The levels of service and titles may vary by states.

The most accomplished level, paramedic, allows the professional to administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs) and perform emergency tracheotomies. As with the other categories, allowable duties vary by state as do licensing requirements.

Current Employment

There were 201,000 paramedics working in the United States in 2006. Forty percent worked for private ambulance companies; thirty percent worked for a government agency providing emergency response; and twenty percent worked for hospitals that have their own ambulance services.

Job Outlook

The opportunities for EMT employment are expected to grow faster than the overall pace for job development. Many small communities with volunteer EMTs will be replacing them with professionals, and the aging of our population will contribute to increased need for medical services of all kinds.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $8.73  $18,150
Median Salary  $13.66  $28.400
Highest 10%  $22.83  $47,480

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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