Are EMTs and paramedics very different? The answer yes, and it is primarily based on the level of EMS instruction, training and education, and the level of authority allowed when administering EMS services. Basic EMT training can be as short as 12 weeks or as long as 6 months, depending upon the paramedic school you attend. The education required to become a licensed paramedic can take 12 to 24 months, depending upon the school and courses. It is possible and often times necessary to pursue certification as a paramedic while working part time as an EMT Basic.
This can cause certification to take a little longer, yet the ability to be working and gaining hands on experience at the same time you are attending paramedic school is worthwhile. The fact that most paramedic programs require candidates to have at least one year experience in emergency medical work is another reason.
Certification has four levels:
• EMT-B (Basic)
• EMT-I/85 (lower level intermediate)
• EMT-I/99 (higher level intermediate)
• EMT-P (Paramedic)
These levels are set by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and each requires certification before passing on to the next level.
A Must for certification:
the National Registry (NREMT)
Whether performing as a basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or an advanced level (Paramedic), the EMS expert’s main job is to provide medical assistance to the injured and/or ill, an extremely important job, requiring the very best education and instruction. For that reason EMS professionals need to pass challenging courses to obtain certification and then continuing education to maintain their skills and qualifications.
In order to become nationally certified as an EMT Basic or paramedic a formal certification exam needs to be passed after EMT training is completed. This exam is called the Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) exam and it enables you to pursue a career as a nationally certified paramedic. Passing the NREMT allows you to apply for licensing anywhere in the United States.
Both EMT Basic and EMT Paramedics work in a variety of settings:
• Private Ambulance Companies
• Fire Service
• Law Enforcement
• Hospital Systems
• Prison & Juvenile Systems
• Life-Flight Operations
• Military and Maritime Units
• Private companies for public events
• Casinos and Entertainment Facilities
• Sports Arenas
Becoming an EMT or paramedic is a rewarding career choice. By continuing your education and participating in annual EMS refresher courses, your skills can remain at or above the levels required for certification. The benefits are numerous, employment is readily available, and you are part of one of the most satisfying careers, the profession of helping others and saving lives!