Emergency medical technicians, also referred to as EMTs are responsible for taking care of ill and injured patients before they are taken to hospitals and medical facilities. This profession is physically demanding as it involves moving and lifting patients. EMTs usually come in contact with diseases very easily; however, those who take the necessary precautions minimize their risk.

Should I Become an EMT?

If you plan on becoming an EMT, you should know that it is a highly demanding career – both physically and emotionally. If you think you can handle the pressure, then you should definitely consider joining this field.
The following table outlines the basics of the career of an EMT.

Education RequiredHigh school diploma or GED
Major RequirementHealth or any other related field
License/CertificationRequired in all states
Experience/TrainingRequired for all occupations
Key SkillsCompassion, interpersonal skills, speaking skills, physical strength, problem-solving skills, listening skills
Annual MeanSalary-(2019)-National$38,830 (EMTs and Paramedics)
Job Outlook (2018-2028)7% (EMTs and Paramedics)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Requirements

To become an EMT, you must be licensed. Aspiring EMTs should have a minimum training of 100 hours. They are required to be compassionate so they can provide emotional support to patients who are suffering from life-threatening diseases. They should have strong interpersonal skills so they can effectively coordinate with their teams in stressful situations.
These professionals also need to have excellent listening skills so they can know and understand the situation of their patients. Since this profession requires a lot of lifting, bending and kneeling, having physical strength is a must. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow 7% from 2018-2028. In 2019, EMTs and Paramedics were being paid an annual mean salary of $38,830

Steps to Become an EMT

Step 1: Get the Required Education

To become an EMT, the first step is to get the necessary education. All aspiring EMTs have to get a high school diploma to get an admission into a postsecondary educational institute. Most of these do not provide any degree.

Step 2: Get the Basic Certificate and Training

Multiple colleges and health care settings, like hospitals and fire academics, provide the basic certificate. The basic certificate consists of a certain number of hours of training which provides basic training for emergency services personnel. These training programs need to be according to the requirements of the US Department of Transportation EMT- Basic National Curriculum. Cardiac emergencies, trauma response and respiratory assistance are some of the topics covered during this program. Some students also choose to do an internship.
After completing all the course requirements, students need to give a certification exam. This exam is split into two parts- a written part and a skill analysis part. The written part of the exam covers the theoretical knowledge, while skill analysis tests the ability of the students to perform the EMT job duties. The exam is administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) in association with state-certified organizations.

Step 3: Get Licensed

Licensure is required in all states; however, the requirements vary. EMTs are expected to get their license renewed after every few years by taking continuing education courses. This helps them stay updated and understand all the advances taking place in the field.

Step 4: Get Work Experience

EMTs work alongside firefighters, paramedics and police officers. They learn skills to work in dangerous situations like, vehicular accidents, etc. Since every situation requires a different action, these professionals are required to act and take prompt decisions accordingly. Getting this experience helps EMTs deal with stressful situations and demonstrate credibility.

Step 5: Get Advanced Training

Certification and advanced training for EMT-Basics include EMT-Paramedic or EMT-Intermediate. Each level requires candidates to pass the NREMT exam and additional study. Professionals need 1,000 hours of training to advance to the intermediate level. Once EMTs have completed their training, they can become supervisors, physician assistants and instructors.

How Long Does It Take to Become an EMT?

A candidate is required to be 18 years old to begin the training of an EMT. Once you have a high-school diploma you can choose an EMT degree according to your preference. A general EMT program requires 3-11 weeks, while an AEMT requires an additional 350 hours. The number of hours may vary from program to program.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming an EMT?

These are some general requirements to become an EMT:

  • Having a high school diploma is necessary
  • Getting certified and passing the exam administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Obtaining licensure
  • Getting relevant work experience

How Much Can I Make After Becoming an EMT?

EMTs can work alongside different professionals like firefighters and paramedics, etc. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, EMTs and Paramedics were getting an annual mean salary of $38,830 in 2019.