All about becoming an EMT in a nutshell

All about becoming an EMT in a nutshell

All about becoming an EMT in a nutshell

Welcome to the MissionCIT Blog. We know many of you are considering a career in EMS. The stories here will help you understand what to expect from this exciting and rewarding career field. In addition, our posts will be motivating and informational. We hope you enjoy All about becoming an EMT in a nutshell.

Are you considering becoming an EMT? Then, this blog post is for you.

What is an emergency medical responder (EMT)?

In the scene of an emergency, when individuals need immediate lifesaving treatment, dedicated first responders come to the rescue. Often these people are Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs. They could be Public Safety or from the Fire Departments who are cross-trained as an EMT. Or they may be a medical responder trained as an EMT. And frequently, they are the first point of contact when someone experiences trauma or illness.

This blog post will describe the key information about emergency medical services and what it takes to become certified to provide lifesaving care in stressful situations.

What will be your scope of practice as an EMT?

So, the better question might be to ask what you don’t do. For example, controlling bleeding and administering oxygen are two critical functions you may perform. However, there are many more.

  • Extricating patients on stretchers and backboards
  • Evaluating patient’s condition and providing treatment
  • Comforting patients on their way to the hospital
  • Reporting patient observations and vital signs upon arrival at the healthcare facility
  • Decontaminating ambulances from infectious diseases
  • Restocking supplies and first aid equipment on ambulances

Where will you work?

EMTs are equipped to provide pre-hospital care in emergency settings and during transportation to a medical facility. The following sectors are the largest employers for EMTs as identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Ambulance Services – 46%
  • Local Governments – 28%
  • Hospitals – 19%

Prerequisites you need to attend EMT training

First of all, aspiring EMTs must have a high school diploma or a GED certificate, a clean driving history, a valid driver’s license, and no criminal record to be eligible for this profession. Aside from the educational requirements and formal training, you must also have keen senses, with the ability to evaluate your patients and environment constantly. Physical fitness is also essential, because as an EMT, you may be required to lift and move people. Manual dexterity, critical thinking, and control of emotions are also beneficial for your career.

Notably, emergency situations you respond to as an EMT will be different, and you will head into the unknown on every call. Because the injuries, accidents, and illnesses you respond to can vary, your job requires many skills to care for patients injured in a myriad of ways. This ranges from natural disasters to contagious diseases to car crashes.

Average annual salary

Jobs for EMTs and paramedics are expected to be in high demand during the coming years; the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that employment in the field will grow 7% from 2018-2028. Your median annual wage will depend on your level of certification, experience, and the local area. Below is a listing of some sample EMT salary data.

Median Salary: $36,650

Bottom 10%: $24,650

Top 10%: $62,150

Projected job growth: 6.4%

The fundamental difference between an EMT and a Paramedic

Although EMTs and paramedics both attend to emergency calls, there are some important differences between these two professions. Here are a few:


  • EMTs provide basic medical aid to patients. Care may include stopping external bleeding, applying neck braces, and administering CPR. Hence, EMTs provide what the industry calls Basic Life Support (BLS) services.
  • EMTs may work for hospitals, ambulance services, and fire and police departments.
  • To get certified, EMTs should complete 140 to 160 hours of training.
  • EMTs take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam.
  • New EMT training programs award a certification for training that permits the candidate to take the National Registry Exam.
  • EMTs must be recertified every two (2) years to maintain their license. Companies that provide new EMT training classes generally provide EMT recertification classes as well.


  • Paramedics can provide advanced medical aid to patients. This might include administering medication, inserting IVs, resuscitating patients, and providing advanced breathing support using intubation tubes and ventilation devices. In addition, paramedics provide what the industry calls Advanced Life Support (ALS) services.
  • In addition to working for employers that hire EMTs, paramedics can work in air ambulances and for any other advanced emergency services.
  • To qualify as a paramedic, they should complete 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training.
  • Paramedics take the NREMT and the National Registry Paramedic cognitive exam.
  • A paramedic program can offer a two-year degree.

Sign up for an Initial EMT Class

Despite the differences, both paramedics and EMTs play a vital role in saving lives. And they both face similar hazards while performing their function.

What are the different EMT levels?

Three different levels of certification exist within the world of EMTs to help workers continue gaining skills, responsibilities, and higher pay. Want to know more in detail? So, here is the rundown.

  1. EMT-B. The EMT-Basic provides assessment and basic medical aid for the ill or injured patient.
  2. EMT-I. The EMT Intermediate provides more in-depth While they may use advanced airway management, intravenous therapy, and administration of medicines beyond that of the EMT-B.
  3. EMT-P. The paramedic. The word paramedic is derived from Latin meaning before the hospital. They provide advanced pre-hospital patient care. In addition to basic care, Paramedics insert IVs, use a wide variety of medications, place endotracheal tubes for advanced airway management, conduct 12 lead EKG interpretation, and perform other advanced techniques, including certain surgical procedures. Paramedics receive specialized training in a variety of pre-hospital skills in addition to the basic skills learned from their initial courses.

Also, classification and training for EMTs in rural communities may blur the lines between each EMT level based on the guidance from local Medical Control in the regional hospitals or state authorities.

Key topics covered in an EMT Basic training

The list below shows the breakdown of the modules covered for the EMT-B: National Standard Curriculum. There are 46 lessons in this core curriculum. In addition, three more classes are required to complete the advanced airway elective if offered. The course includes:

  • Preparatory
  • Airway
  • Patient Assessment
  • Medical/Behavioral Emergencies and Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Trauma
  • Infants and Children
  • Operations
  • Advanced Airway (Elective)

What are the steps involved in becoming an EMT?

First, as an emergency caregiver, you must undergo specific training and become certified to work in the field. The following steps can help you become an EMT:

  • Be at least 18 years of age for most programs. (16 years old with parental consent if local authorities allow).
  • Find a state-approved EMT program.

Next, complete an EMT Basic training course from a reputed and credible training school. To earn your EMT license, the program you select should be approved by your state.

  • Earn your EMT basic certification.

Finally, on successful completion of the EMT course, take the basic EMT certification exam from the National Registry of EMTs or your state. Qualified applicants can then apply for licensure.

  • Apply for your EMT license according to your state’s guidelines.

CT Office of EMS

Regardless of the EMT career you foresee for yourself, consider the broad range of opportunities available. Then, when you have the right education and knowledge, you can start working as an EMT wherever your interests lead you, be it Public Safety, Fire Service, Medical Professional, Military, or Private industry.

So, get ready to help your community and be in the center of the action. Join the ranks of today’s modern-day heroes.

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