Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) schools are the first step on the journey to becoming a paramedic. Paramedics are vitally important to the communities in which they serve, and becoming certified pays off with an extremely rewarding career.
An EMT career consists of four levels, beginning with EMT 1, continuing through EMT 2, EMT 3, and finishing as an EMT Paramedic, which is the optimum degree for an EMT. If you are commencing on your EMT training with plans to make paramedics your career, you need to find a paramedic school that can take you through all 4 levels of EMT training. If you are already working as an EMT basic, find an EMT school or courses for your present level, guaranteeing the EMS course program allows you to advance from your current EMT level to the level of paramedic. For instance, a hospital may offer EMT training, but it may not certify beyond a First Responder or EMT Basic level. There are many EMS schools and courses that do not advance the schooling beyond an EMT Basic, and this can be a problem when it comes to transferring EMT certification to another school or program. Regardless of what institution or program you choose, your first priority should be determining what classification of EMT certification you desire and what career path you choose before enrolling in any EMT paramedic training program. In addition, classifications and requirements vary by state and countries, so know what those variants are before applying to a school or EMS program.
Steps to consider:
• Time period in which you wish to complete your education
• Your personal financial situation
• Availability to a school, college or university
• Current family obligations and schedule
Each of these could be a determining factor of which type of EMT training program or EMS courses you choose. For instance, if family obligations require you to stay in a current job while undergoing your schooling, then find a program that offers flexibility. Online EMT training courses or night school is an option. This would also be a deciding factor if you have to commute a far distance in order to take classes. If you consider online courses for the classroom components of your education, be sure you can transfer those courses into a program offering clinicals and the necessary hands-on field work required for paramedic training certification.
Factors: Time and Finances
In addition, if finances are an issue, look into EMT schools and programs that offer grants. There are many available, including federal grants that offer financing for students entering into community based services, such as a paramedic.
If time is a factor, you have many options. The Accelerated, or Fast-Track EMT basic program allows you to complete training within weeks. Programs vary, but in some cases you could be certified as an EMT Basic within a month. However, average EMT Basic courses usually consists of 110-120 hours of EMS classroom instruction covered over a period of 12 weeks to 6 months. Full paramedic training certification takes up to two years, thus, it is important to know in advance the time you have to dedicate to the completion of the paramedic training you desire.
Regardless of your EMT education choice, research the school or program. Determine its credibility, accreditation, and reputation. You can easily do this by visiting the institution, speaking to counselors, and checking the ranking of the school. Another valuable move is to consult with current or past students of the program. Not only can they give you an assessment of the EMT program, they could also give you important tips and advice.
While you may be anxious to begin your paramedic career and not want to take too much time to research paramedic schools and programs, keep in mind the EMS education that you choose is a very important decision. The school or institution where you enroll can affect your job prospects, as well as how prepared you are when you go out into the field.