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Studies & Degrees in Emergency Medical Technology

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Emergency medical technicians, also called paramedics, are the people performing lifesaving actions in various emergency situations like car accidents, fire outbursts, natural disasters, and so on. They are trained to give first aid to patients and transport them safely to a hospital or another medical facility.

Some actions that the emergency medical technician can perform are check vital signs, master techniques to treat shock and fractures and correctly assess the patient’s condition. They also need to be well- acquainted with medical terms in order to report to doctors, or get instructions through the radio station. Normally EMTs work from their ambulance with one or two partners assisting them.

Personal Qualities

To practice this profession, you need to be extremely stable mentally, while also genuinely drawn to helping others. Further qualities are:

  • Extremely patient
  • Physically fit; able to stay awake long hours and take night shifts
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Very organized and able to solve problems fast

Study Options

EMT training can be undertaken in various community and two-year colleges, as well as some universities and vocational schools. Depending on the level you wish to gain, your education can continue from six months to two years. If you decide to gain a Basic certification, you would be allowed to deal with some basic critical conditions, nearly all of which are non-invasive. For example, a Basic emergency medical technician might splint broken bones temporarily, control external bleeding, or use a bag mask to give positive pressure ventilation. On the other hand, the intermediate levels would equip you with the skills to carry out more invasive and pharmaceutical procedures, while the most advanced emergency medical technician is called a paramedic.  He or she can engage in procedures such as cardiac monitoring, resuscitation, and some drug administration. Finally, you can choose to get a special certification to practice in a particular environment. A good example are Wilderness EMTs, who learn how to use improvised devices, such as branches, to do things like splint broken limbs.

Career Options

There are EMTs working for private ambulance companies, while others are employed by a certain hospital or hospital system. Job descriptions and pay levels are normally similar, and the same applies for the training and certification required. It is most likely that you would work for 24 hours, after which you would have a 48 hours rest, but of course this is just an average estimation. A typical day at your job would involve waiting for calls from the dispatcher, after which you would have to reach the place of the accident at a relatively fast pace. The job can be very demanding, so you should be prepared to work long hours in all weather conditions.