Learn All About Emergency Medical Technician – EMT

Does saving other people’s lives or giving first aid give you a good feeling? Then you are the right person to make a career as an emergency medical technician. Emergency medical technicians (EMT) care for the injured in emergency medical situations. EMTs respond to emergency calls, transport patients to the hospital, and perform medical services. When a 911 operator receives an emergency call, EMTs are sent to the location and they often work with the police or firefighters. In this article, you’ll find out what duties an EMT has.

What Does an Emergency Medical Technician Do?

EMTs duties are the following:

  • Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical assistance
  • Follow procedures learned in training or received from doctors who supervise their work
  • Evaluate a patient’s condition and determine a course of treatment.
  • Depending on the medical care given to a patient, an EMT creates a patient care report.
  • Help patients to be transported to the emergency department of a healthcare facility, reporting their remarks and treatment to the members of the staff.
  • Use backboards and restraints to keep patients safe and still in the ambulance during transport.
  • They replace used equipment or clean it after use.

When a patient is transported to the hospital, an EMT may drive the ambulance and another one monitors the patient’s vital signs and gives proper care. EMTs may also transport patients from one hospital to another. Some patients might need special care in treating their injury or disease. Also, if a patient suffers from a contagious illness, an EMT has to report the case to the authorities.

The detailed responsibilities of an EMT depend on the state they work in, whether they are an EMT or EMT-Basic, Advanced EMT. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians offer national EMT certification at three levels:

  • Basic Emergency Medical Technician
  • Advanced Emergency Medical Technician
  • Intermediate Emergency Medical Technician (which also means Advanced EMT)

An EMT-Basic takes care of the injured patient at the scene of an incident and also, while they take patients to the hospital. They also have the skills to evaluate a patient’s condition and to handle cardiac, respiratory, and trauma emergencies.

An Advanced-EMT also known as Intermediate – EMT has completed requirements for the EMT level, as well as instruction in more advanced medical procedures.

Work Environment

EMTs are in very high demand, according to recent studies. They have to work both indoors and outdoors, regardless of the weather. Their work is physically stressful and energetic, and sometimes, they have to deal with situations in which people die and patients who suffer. Also, volunteer EMTs are more common in rural areas and small cities. These people volunteer for fire departments, and may respond to a few calls per month.

Work Schedules

EMTs are most paid when they work full time. It’s possible to have more than 40 hours per week to complete because they must be available to work in emergencies, overnight and on weekends. Some EMTs may work 12 or 24 hours shifts. Volunteer EMTs have flexible work schedules. Emergency medical technicians must complete a postsecondary educational program. EMTs are required to have a driver’s license, but this may vary from one state to another.


Does an EMT need a high school diploma? It’s not necessary to have a diploma to enroll in an EMT – Basic course, but this may affect your hiring potential. You have to be 17 years old, and also, write and read in English because all classes are given in English.

However, if you want to enroll in a postsecondary educational program in emergency medical technology, you’ll need a CPR certification or a high school diploma. Most of these programs can be completed in less than 1 year, while others, last up to 2 years. These programs are offered at many colleges, universities, and hospitals. Students that are interested in becoming an EMT should take courses in anatomy and physiology.

What can you learn at the EMT course? Programs at the EMT level provide you enough information and instruction in assessing patients’ conditions, such as cardiac emergencies, trauma, clearing blocked ways, and handling emergencies. Courses can take up to 150 hours of specialized instruction and some may take place in an ambulance or at the hospital.

Programs at the Advanced EMT require about 300 hours of instruction and is based on practice, too. At this high level, people who enroll in these programs must complete the requirements for the EMT as advanced ones. They must use complex airway devices, certain medication, and intravenous fluids.

Wounds and Ailments

EMTs have a bigger rate of injuries than the national typical. They must do considerable kneeling, lifting, bending, caring for, and moving patients. They can also be exposed to contagious illnesses, such as AIDS and Hepatitis B. There are times when they can be hurt by mentally unstable patients. These situations must be avoided by wearing proper equipment, following safety procedures, and waiting for the police to clear an area in violent situations.

Important Qualities

EMTs must provide emotional support to patients who are dealing with threatening situations or extreme mental distress. They must always work in teams and be able to coordinate their activities closely with others in difficult situations. They need to listen to patients to find out the level of their injury. They also need to be physically fit because their job requires a lot of bending, kneeling, and lifting. EMTs need powerful problem-solving skills because they must be able to evaluate patients’ symptoms and give proper treatment.

 Speaking skills are a must because they need to be able to explain procedures to patients and give information to others. Communication is key to an EMT because they interact with different kinds of persons daily and it’s necessary that they communicate effectively with them, especially in demanding situations. An EMT has a lot of duties, it is not an easy or a boring job. Also, emergency medical technicians will often work night shifts, weekends, and holidays.

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