EMT & Paramedic Overview: Programs, Degrees and Careers

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EMT & Paramedic Career Facts

What is an EMT and What Does an EMT Do?

EMTs are emergency medical technicians. These technicians work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and emergency rooms, and in various other workplace settings which include hospitals, ambulance services, nursing homes, and clinics airplanes, trains, cruise ships, theme parks, and many other public and private places to provide emergency medical services.

An EMT can be a hospital emergency department technician or a paramedic. Those who work as emergency department technicians often help with emergency room procedures, such as screening and lab testing. Paramedics also provide emergency and non-emergency medical care and maybe the only ones providing care to patients during an emergency.

An emergency medical technician (EMT) is a healthcare worker who is qualified and authorized to assess patient emergencies and provide emergency medical interventions, such as those required for cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, and traumatic injury.

To become an EMT, individuals need to first complete a state-approved emergency medical technician (EMT) program and then pass a credentialing exam. EMTs work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, ambulances, and fire and rescue squads.

EMT Job Description

The EMT is responsible for providing pre-hospital care to sick or injured people. The position requires that the EMT has a high level of patient care skills.


  1. Provide Emergency Medical Services to meet the needs of the community
  2. Provide advanced life support skills, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, use of airway adjuncts, and other advanced airway management techniques
  3. Provide prehospital emergency medical interventions in response to medical emergencies, including cardiac arrest, shock, trauma, respiratory emergencies, and other medical emergencies
  4. Provide safe patient transport in compliance with all state regulations
  5. Assist in the development of service plans within their scope of practice
  6. Participate in continuing education programs required by state regulations
  7. Maintain current knowledge of new developments in Emergency Medical Services through participation in workshops and conferences
  8. Maintain current knowledge of Emergency Medical Services through continued study and research
  9. Perform all duties in accordance with applicable state laws and regulations

What is the Difference between a Paramedic and an EMT?

Paramedics and EMTs are both certified responders in the event of a medical emergency. Paramedics can provide more advanced care such as administering medication, performing CPR, and using more sophisticated equipment. EMTs on the other hand can only provide basic care such as assessing an injury and immobilizing a patient to get them to a hospital.

What is a Paramedic and What Does a Paramedic Do?

The Paramedic is the primary first responder to medical emergencies. They are responsible for assessing, evaluating, and responding to a variety of emergency medical situations. The Paramedic provides medical care in the pre-hospital setting, often in conjunction with other emergency services personnel.

A paramedic generally performs many of the same tasks as a medical doctor or nurse, but instead of administering medications, they primarily provide medical services. They assess the general condition of the patient, administer oxygen, supplies, and drugs, and provide critical care, such as automated external defibrillators, for those who suffer from cardiac abnormalities.

Paramedic Job Description

The Paramedic is responsible for providing emergency medical care to patients in need of medical attention. The Paramedic will respond to emergency calls and provide medical assistance, starting with the most basic life-saving measures and moving on to more advanced procedures.


  1. Provide emergency medical care to patients, starting with the most basic life-saving measures and moving on to more advanced procedures
  2. Respond to emergency calls
  3. Perform other duties as assigned by immediate supervisor or other EMS personnel
  4. Transports patients from one place to another
  5. Provides life-saving interventions such as airway management, CPR, and drug administration
  6. Provides non-medical care such as basic wound care and splinting fractures and sprains

What are the Education Requirements to Become a Paramedic?

The education requirements to become a paramedic are you must complete your high school education or GED program, then complete an accredited paramedic program of 2 years.

The education path for paramedics includes both EMT-training and paramedic-training. Across the country, states have their own requirements for paramedic education. Paramedics are required to have a state EMT-Basic certificate, or an equivalent certification, before they can take additional courses to become a paramedic.

EMT certification involves basic training includes courses in anatomy, physiology, trauma, medical ethics, symptoms, and patient assessment.

The paramedic training consists of courses in physics, chemistry, medical terminology, medical law, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, epidemiology, medical communication, and ethics.

Paramedics can also take college courses in subjects like psychology, sociology, anthropology, anatomy, surgery, patient care, medical procedures, and communication.

After graduating from the paramedic program, you must pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) Paramedic examination.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Paramedic? It takes between 1 and 3 years to become a paramedic.

If you love the challenges and are passionate about health and have a passion to help people in need, the EMT or Paramedic role maybe the fulfilling career for you. Click the blue button that says “Find Schools” to EMT training programs and Paramedic Programs that may fit your needs.

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