Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics Career Video
Description: Administer basic or advanced emergency medical care and assess injuries and illnesses. May administer medication intravenously, use equipment such as EKGs, or administer advanced life support to sick or injured individuals.
Ambulance sirens are a daily sound backdrop to city life; TV dramas and real-life news programs alike feature high-speed trips to rescue victims and speed them to life-saving medical care. Inside the ambulance, the on-site care providers are emergency medical technicians —known as EMTs— and paramedics. These professionals respond to 911 emergency calls, evaluate a patient’s needs, and perform needed medical services, such as administering CPR, stabilizing a trauma victim, or dressing a wound. Some paramedics serve on rescue crews based on helicopters or airplanes. Most paramedics and EMTs work for ambulance services, local government, and hospitals. Their work requires frequent kneeling, bending, and lifting to care for and move patients. EMTs and paramedics may be exposed to contagious diseases and dangerous situations, and may need to treat combative individuals who don’t want treatment. Their work schedules vary: volunteers are scheduled as needed, while most paid staff work full time in 12- or 24-hour shifts, including overnights and weekends. A formal educational program and licensure are required for this field, though states vary in what tasks they allow EMTs and paramedics to perform. Some states may require paramedics to have an associate’s degree, for example, to qualify to administer medications and use complex equipment, such as EKG monitors. In case of emergency—it’s reassuring to know that EMTs and paramedics are ready to respond at a moment’s notice.