Be the first to respond to emergency medical situation by pursuing a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Read on to know more!Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are at the forefront of emergency medical care and are usually the first to respond to any accident or emergency situation. An EMT works alongside doctors, firefighters, and police personnel in dealing with accidents and crime incidents. EMTs often have to place themselves in harm’s way and in dangerous situations.

What do EMTs do?
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics work in teams and perform vital support tasks for local police and fire departments. Some work roles of EMTs include responding to 911 calls for accidents and crime incidents, stabilizing injured people and getting them ready for transfer to hospital, administering first aid and CPR, accompanying injured patients to hospital, and handing over patient assessment reports to doctors.

What qualities does an EMT need?
EMTs work wherever an accident occurs or there is a need for emergency medical care. As an EMT, you could find yourself working alongside police and fire departments, and responding to accidents and crime scenes – EMTs and paramedics often have to work in hazardous and dangerous situations and high levels of fitness are essential. EMTs usually work in shifts and willingness to work overtime will also come in handy. Finally, this is one of the most high-stress occupations around, and to succeed as an EMT or paramedic, a high degree of emotional resilience will also be essential.

How do you train to become an EMT?
There are several certificate courses that will get you ready for a career as an Emergency Medical Technician – a high school diploma or GED is usually the minimum requirement for entry into an EMT course. EMT courses are usually found at various levels – Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Paramedic – and as you gain experience, you can opt to go in for a higher-level certification.

Some subjects you’ll study include:

  • Legal issues affecting emergency medical treatment
  • Basic trauma life support
  • Resuscitation and cardiovascular emergency care
  • Dealing with poisoning, burns, gunshot wounds, fractures
  • Airway obstructions
  • Dealing with contagious and infectious diseases
  • Patient transport and ambulance guidelines
  • Medical and incident reports
  • Patient assessment
  • Head and spinal trauma management and safety
  • Pediatric emergencies
  • Emergency care equipment maintenance
  • Industrial accidents

Do keep in mind that EMTs need to be licensed by the state where they work (some local authorities might also have county-specific rules for work). The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (www.nremt.org) offers certification under the guidelines issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What are the career prospects for Emergency Medical Technicians?
According to the Department of Labor, EMT jobs are expected to grow at 33 percent over 2010 – 2020 – far higher than the average rate. Around 48 percent of EMTs work with ambulance services, with local government and hospitals the other major employers. Around 22 percent of EMTs are also union members.

A career as an EMT offers fast job growth in a very challenging environment. This is a career for those who have the ability to work well under high-stress situations.