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Emergency Medical Technicians (Emt) And Paramedics Career

Career Description

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Paramedics provide medical attention as they care for and transport the sick or injured to a medical facility.

Common Work Tasks

  • Assess the nature of the patient’s condition while trying to determine whether the patient has any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Provide appropriate emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient
  • Treat patients with minor injuries on the scene of an accident or treat them at their home without transporting them to a medical facility
  • 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
  • Monitor the patient’s vital signs and give additional care as needed
  • Help transfer patients to the emergency department, report their observations and actions to emergency department staff, and may provide additional emergency treatment
  • Replace used supplies and check equipment
  • Decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and report cases to the proper authorities
  • Provide transportation for patients from one medical facility to another
  • Administer drugs orally and intravenously,  interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations, and use monitors and other complex equipment

Other Job Titles

EMTs and Paramedics are also known by other titles,  including:

  • EMT Basic
  • EMT Intermediate
  • Medic
  • Registered Nurse

Education,  Training, and Experience

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, and EMT-Paramedic.

Certification and 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 education requirement.

  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.


The median annual salary for EMTs and Paramedics is $28,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $47,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $18,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of emergency medical technician and paramedics are:

  • Other Ambulatory Health Care Services - $28,290
  • Local Government - $34,260
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - $31,420
  • Other Support Services - $27,440
  • Offices of Physicians - $31,530

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  19%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 39,000
  • Employment 2006 : 201,000
  • Employment 2016:  240,000
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