Should I Become An Emergency Medical Technician Or A Paramedic?
If you want to carve a career in the emergency medical services field, you’re probably thinking of becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT) or a paramedic. Essentially, both describe different levels of the same profession which have corresponding responsibilities. You may start out as an EMT but it is up to you to continue to become a paramedic or stay as an EMT. To help you decide whether you should become an EMT or a paramedic, the following guidelines might help.
You should consider becoming an EMT if:
- You want to provide basic emergency care patients. This includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen administration for those suffering from asthma. You may also give glucose to diabetic patients.
- You want a shorter length of training. Courses can only take anywhere from 120 to 150 hours long.
- You don’t want to administer emergency procedures involving needles, except for auto-injectors to address allergic reactions.
- You want to be able to provide emergency care at the scene and while transporting patients in the ambulance.
- You want to get EMT training right after graduating from high school.
You should consider becoming a paramedic if:
- You want to be the most advanced level of emergency provider. That is, you are equipped to provide the most extensive emergency medical care to patients at the scene and while in transport.
- You want to be able to do the tasks that EMTs do and more. Your additional tasks include administering medications orally and intravenously, stitching wounds, giving advanced airway management and managing patients with cardiac issues.
- You want to be able to interpret electrocardiograms and use advanced equipment to track heart function.
- You don’t mind attending longer training courses that take anywhere from 1,200 to 1,800 hours.
- You are interested in a paramedic program that could lead to an associate’s degree.
Hopefully, these points gave you a clear idea as to what you want to do. The good thing about either of these careers is that there are excellent job opportunities that await those who want to become EMTs or paramedics in the next few years. It’s worth repeating that before you can become a paramedic, you’ll have to get training and work experience as an EMT first. While the tasks you can do may be limited, you will still be considered an integral member of an emergency rescue team.
Should you decide that becoming a paramedic is what you want to do, you have the freedom to pursue further training. Proceeding to train as a paramedic is a good idea if you have plans of working as a firefighter or be in law enforcement. These professions will need those with a background in emergency work. Moreover, there are also healthcare professions that welcome applicants with a paramedic background. All-in-all, proceeding to become a paramedic is highly recommended, unless you aren’t very comfortable with injections or performing other invasive procedures that only paramedics can do.