LP Research Resources January 22, 2018

EMT and Paramedic Jobs on Cruise Ships

While EMT training can land you an EMT job in a wide variety of employment sectors, cruise ship lines are not one of them. That is not to say if you take a cruise you are left without medical aid or emergency medical services. Cruise lines usually employ nurses and physicians. There is little need to employ an EMT or EMT paramedic as most of the ships are fully equipped to handle most any medical emergency or situation. Remember, EMT training and paramedic training provide a profession usually reserved for “first responders”, offering vital emergency care services when medical facilities are not usually available.

Each cruise is very different too, not only in the way the cruise line is run, but because numerous ships are flagged out of other countries. Many countries have no idea the amount of EMT training and EMT paramedic training that go in to becoming certified as an EMT or paramedic. Many countries also have a very different definition and understanding of the medical training and medical ability of those trained for emergency services. I personally had an uncle who had a diabetic incident while on board a cruise. His understanding of emergency medical care and that of the doctor on board were every different. There was no “first responder” EMT or paramedic available. However, once his condition was understood by a staff member of the cruise, he was immediately put into the ship’s medical facility and given adequate care. The only difference was there was no EMS trained personnel who responded immediately to see him safely to the medical facility where he would be treated. That was left to his wife, my aunt, and the staff.

Does Certification Count

This is not to say that a person with training or certification has no chance at an EMT job on a ship, should that be your desire. Many cruise lines hire contract work, employing qualified EMTs and EMT paramedics. Their role is to come aboard and teach skills such as ACLS (advanced cardiac life support), PALS (pediatric advanced life support), and BLS (basic life support) to the medical staff, and re-train or re-certify some of the staff and crew in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator).

Nonetheless, most cruise lines want and employ nurses or doctors. You will most likely not find an EMT job offered through a cruise line. There are a vast number of agencies hiring those with EMT and paramedic training certification, and you should consider looking elsewhere. If you want to go on a cruise and were hoping to work your way on board, skip that idea, pay full price and go enjoy the cruise.

One last note: Occasionally cruise lines will make special offers, including special discounts on specific cruises, to a unique group of potential customers. Often these offers are directed to customers who are active, retired, or volunteer EMTs or EMT paramedics. All you need to do is present a copy of your EMT training certification or EMT ID badge and a driver’s license when booking and you can qualify for special discounted rates.