How To Become An EMT
Emergency medical technicians or EMTs are the first responders who deliver life-saving care during medical emergencies. They play an important role at the scenes of disasters and accidents. EMTs work with police and firefighters to help stabilize and transport gravely ill or injured victims to hospitals.
What Do EMTs Do?
Emergency medical technicians are usually dispatched by 911 operators to the scene of an accident or emergency. They routinely respond to a variety of emergencies, such as heart attacks, strokes, labor, gunshots, severe allergic reactions and more. EMTs assess the needs of victims and help provide urgent medical care. EMTs also routinely:
- Make primary medical assessments
- Provide CPR
- Use an AED
- Stabilize neck and head injuries
- Bandage wounds
- Take the patient’s vitals
- Help control bleeding
- Provide oxygen to patients
- Stabilize broken bones
- Monitors patient’s vital signs
- Safely transport patients in an ambulance
- Administer lifesaving medications like epinephrine and naloxone (EMT-I)
- Document medical treatment
What Traits Do You Need To Be An EMT?
There is a lot that goes into being an EMT. It is a high-stress job but is also very rewarding. To be successful as an EMT, you should:
- Be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. Are you an adrenaline junkie? Do you perform well under pressure? EMTs must feel comfortable working quickly under pressure.
- Have a desire to help others. Being an EMT is all about helping others. You should have a strong desire to serve your community.
- Be a team player. EMTs work as part of a team. They never work alone. You must be able to communicate with other first responders, including paramedics, police, and firefighters, as well as emergency room nurses and doctors.
- Know how to stay calm in an emergency. If you are an EMT, you must be able to keep a calm, cool head in all types of critical situations.
- Handle stress well. Being an EMT can be stressful, which is why you must be able to know how to calm down and de-stress after a shift.
- Have a strong stomach. EMTs are exposed to all kinds of things. You have to be comfortable being around blood, body fluid, and even severed limbs. Being an EMT is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
- Be physically fit. The work of an EMT is physically demanding. You may have to lift patients of all sizes. Additionally, you may be on your feet for long periods of time and have to crouch in small spaces.
- Have good communication skills. EMT’s must be able to communicate with other first responders, as well as victims and families. They have to do this while under a lot of pressure.
Do you have the above qualities? If not, what areas do you need to work on? Before becoming an EMT, think about ways to improve the above skills. For instance, if you are having trouble with managing stress, you might try using an app like Calm to learn how to lower stress and anxiety. Practicing these skills daily can greatly help you improve them.
What Is The Job Outlook for EMTs?
The job outlook is very good for EMTs. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a significant increase in EMT jobs from 2016 to 2026. Employment of EMTs is expected to grow 15 percent during this time, which is faster than most occupations.
How Much Money Do EMTs Make?
The salary for EMTs varies depending on years of experience, education, and location. The average base salary in the United States for an EMT is $35,700. When you add in benefits like health insurance, paid vacation, 401K plans, and life insurance, the total compensation can top $40,000 per year.
Having advanced training or education can greatly increase the salary for EMTs. Those with an associates degree and five years of experience can expect to make closer to $40,000 a year.
What Are The Educations Requirements For An EMT?
There are several things that you’ll need to become an EMT. Below we’ve broken the requirements down step-by-step.
- Be 18 years of age or older. You must be 18 years old to take the EMT certification exam.
- Obtain a high school diploma or GED. A high school diploma or the equivalent is required to become an EMT.
- Pass a drug test and background screen. A criminal background check and drug screen are required to enroll in EMT training.
- Get basic life support (BLS) certification. Most training programs require you to obtain BLS certification before enrolling in the program. Here is information from the American Red Cross about basic life support certifications. EMTs need BLS certification that covers both CPR and AED use.
- Pass a physical examination. Many training programs require you to be healthy enough to handle the job requirements of an EMT. Therefore, you’ll probably need to have a physical examination. To perform EMT duties, you need to be able to lift 100 pounds. You have to also have a TB test and proof of up-to-date vaccinations.
- Complete an EMT Basics course. The next step is to complete a state-approved Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course. This course must meet or exceed the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards (NEMSE) for EMTs. In this course, you’ll learn how to deal with a wide range of emergency situations, such as bleeding, cardiac events, and fractures.
- Get the best NREMT Prep available.
- Pass written and oral examinations. Most states require that EMTs be certified. Therefore, you will be required to pass practical (psychomotor) and written (cognitive) exams. You must take the exams within two years of passing the EMT basic course.
- Become Certified. Once you pass the EMT basics course, background, medical, cognitive and psychomotor exams, you are ready to apply for EMT certification via the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
It is helpful to know the above information if you are thinking of becoming an EMT. The job is stressful but rewarding. The outlook for EMT’s is very good and there are always opportunities for advancement.