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How To Become An EMT – General Info

Many people are tempted to start a career as an Emergency Medical Technician, and if you are one of them then you have probably found it a little difficult to understand what is required of you to become an EMT. The decision is made more difficult, as the requirements vary from state to state, but there are a few things to keep in mind that can be listed in a general way.

In this article we will provide you with some very general rules and requirements that you should be aware of. If you do decide to take the step towards becoming an EMT then you should use the map below to take you to your state specific requirements and information about the training and application process.

 

The General Requirements

There are some requirements and restrictions that all states have, and these include being at least 18 years of age, having a criminal background check, taking an approved EMT course and passing the relevant exams. The process for these differs from state to state you should at least know that these are requirements prior to planning to become an EMT.

 

Criminal Background Check

EMT TrainingWhile the process for the criminal background check varies from state to state, what does remain the same is that certain criminal convictions will not allow you to become a licensed EMT. Some states publish the specific felony crimes they do not allow, while others suggest contacting the local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency for further details. In all states, however, applications with criminal convictions are reviewed on an individual basis to assess the details of the crime. If you have a criminal conviction it definitely makes sense to find out first if the crime would make licensing impossible.

 

Approved EMT Course

It is very important that you only sign up for state approved training courses. This is relevant to both the EMT course and CPR course, if required by your state EMS Agency. Before you register and pay for an Emergency Medical Technician course it is recommended that you check with the EMS Agency in your state and verify that the training provider is indeed approved by the state.

Course length varies from state to state but generally the minimum accepted length is 120 hours which includes a clinical field placement. Usually training providers exceed this minimum hours quite a bit in order to provide as much information as possible.

 

Examination

Almost all states require that you pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams in order to obtain an EMT license. The NREMT examination is divided into a practical exam and a written/cognitive exam. The written exam is provided through computer based testing, while the practical exam will require you to demonstrate procedures learnt during training.

For more specific information for the state that you live in, please click on the map below which will take you to a state specific information page. This page will include requirements and information on approved training providers as well as information on the application process.

The Different Levels Of EMT

Emergency Medical Technicians undergo several levels of training which provide a great and clear idea of how your career as an EMT might progress over the years. The great news is that with each higher level you achieve your earnings potential also increases. This is particularly important considering that the cost of training courses drastically increases as you move up the levels.

So what are the different levels of EMT. Pretty much all states distinguish between 3 levels of EMT: EMT-Basic (EMT-B), EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I), and EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P). While all states simply refer to EMT Basic and EMT Paramedic, a lot of states use different description for EMT Intermediate, which we will get to shortly

 

EMT-Basic (EMT-B):

This is the level that you will start at when you first start your career as an EMT. At this level you will be trained in the basic procedures of patient care, and a basic level of illness and injury diagnosis and first treatment. The main focus for an EMT-B is fast and basic on the scene treatment and transport to a hospital or other medical provider.

In most states basic training is conducted over a 6 to15 week period and consists of a minimum of 120 hours of classroom training and clinical placement.

The things you will be qualified to perform are set by your state’s Emergency Medical Services Agency. Generally speaking an EMT-B is qualified and licensed to perform basic assessment and non-invasive treatment but to give you an idea here are a few things:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Automated External Defibrillation (AED)
  • mechanical ventilation using bag-valve mask
  • pulse oximetry
  • glucometer
  • splinting of limbs and spinal immobilization

 

EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I):

This is a level that has many different references in throughout the USA. Some states have two levels of EMT-I, some states are phasing out EMT-I and other states refer to it simply as Advanced EMT. To avoid any confusion here, we will simply refer to EMT-I, but you should check our state specific information by clicking on the map on the home page.

This level is achieved through a combination of intermediate level training and passing of related exams.

Just like the EMT-B level, the procedures allowed to be performed by and EMT-I differ by state, but generally speaking they would include all the above listed treatments and may include the following:

  • basic airway management
  • administration of intravenous non-medical fluids like saline
  • administration of epinephrine (with limits on the concentration)
  • administration of medications such as glucagons, naloxone, albuterol and nitrous oxide

 

EMT-Paramedic:

This is the highest level of Emergency Medical Technician and is achieved after extensive training and examination usually over an 18 to 24 months period. In some states you will be awarded with a degree upon passing your exams, which is a fantastic achievement to aim for.

Just like with the other two level of EMT each state dictates what a Paramedic is allowed to perform as part of patient assessment and treatment. Paramedics usually work closely with EMTs of different levels as well as with other Emergency Services in order to assure the best possible patient care.

Some of the additional responsibilities and procedures may include:

  • spinal and fracture injury management in the field
  • assistance in child birth
  • advanced airways management including surgical
  • administration of medicines including narcotic pain relief, sedatives, anti-psychotics and cardiac medication

As you can see, the procedures a Paramedic is trained to perform are quite extensive, which explains the reason for the years of training required.

The great thing about a career in the Emergency Medical Services is that you can start off your career and entry level that does not require years of training and effort. Once you start your first job you will most likely be exposed to situations where you will be able to observe EMTs with qualifications at different levels. This will give you a chance to decide on the job whether or not the higher levels are something that you would want to aim for or not.

How To Become A Paramedic – General Info

In the world of Emergency Medical Technicians there is a very clear and achievable career path that greatly helps people to decide on where they want their careers to go. Many EMTs find that once they have achieved their EMT license and gain some experience, they want to extend the amount of help they are allowed to provide their patients. In addition the motivating factor is also the higher wages that come with greater training and experience.

In this article we will provide you with some very general rules and requirements that you should be aware of. If you do decide to take the step towards becoming a Paramedic then you should use the map below to take you to your state specific requirements and information about the training and application process.

 

The General Requirements

There are some requirements and restrictions that all states have, and these include being at least 18 years of age, having a criminal background check, taking an approved Paramedic course and passing the relevant exams. The process for these differs from state to state, but you should at least know that these are general requirements prior to planning to become a Paramedic.

 

Criminal Background Check

While the process for the criminal background check varies from state to state, what does remain the same is that certain criminal convictions will not allow you to become a licensed Paramedic. Some states publish the specific felony crimes they do not allow, while others suggest contacting the local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency for further details. In all states, however, applications with criminal convictions are reviewed on an individual basis to assess the details of the crime. If you have a criminal conviction it definitely makes sense to find out first if the crime would make licensing impossible.

 

Approved Training Course

It is very important that you only sign up for state approved training courses. This is relevant to both the Paramedic and CPR course, if required by your state EMS Agency. Before you register and pay for a Paramedic course it is recommended that you check with the EMS Agency in your state and verify that the training provider is indeed approved by the state.

Course length varies from state to state and among training providers but generally the training is spread over a 1 to 2 year period which includes a clinical field placement.

 

Examination

Almost all states require that you pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams in order to obtain a Paramedic license. The NREMT examination is divided into a practical exam and a written/cognitive exam. The written exam is provided through computer based testing, while the practical exam will require you to demonstrate procedures learnt during training.

For more specific information for the state that you live in, please click on the map below which will take you to a state specific information page. This page will include requirements and information on approved training providers as well as information on the application process.

EMT And Paramedic Exam And Study Tips

Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic is great career choice, but you do have to be willing to do some substantial studying and preparation for exams. The exam content ranges from patient assessment to treatment procedures and human anatomy. Essentially, anything that is covered in the EMT or Paramedic course and text books is something that could come in the exam. In order to pass the exams you also need to quite a high percentage (70%) of correct answers,, which can add to the pressure in an exam situation.

By the time you are at the stage of preparing for the exam you will have already spent several thousand Dollars and a lot of time and effort on training, uniforms and text books; you will also have to pay a fee to sit the exam. To avoid having to pay for additional fees for re-sitting exams it is best if you are as prepared as possible to sit the exam on the first attempt. To help you avoid the costs and stress of re-examination it can b of great benefit to look at some study guides available.

Here are some paid for online courses and resources that may be of interest to you:

1) EMS Success is a great resource for both EMT-B and Paramedic students. For a reasonable fee of $29.95 you get access to e-book study guides, audio study guides so you can learn while you are out and about, access to an online forum where you can ask questions, and finally, there is a live exam preparation course held once a month. A great thing about this package is that it comes with a money-back guarantee should you not be satisfied.

2) Human Anatomy Course is probably more helpful to Paramedic students as it focuses on the anatomy side of things which makes up a more substantial part of the examination. While this course includes specific Paramedic training material you also get a lot of stuff that is probably not applicable to a Paramedic exam. However, at $37 this is a reasonable course if the anatomy side of your studies has been causing you difficulties.

If you prefer to not sign up for an online resource and maybe prefer just having a hard copy exam preparation book then you may be interested in these books:

1) SUCCESS! for the EMT-Basic: This book is specifically for students preparing for the EMT-B exam and as you can see, the feedback on Amazon is very good. The Reviews on Amazon are very good with an average of 4.5 stars.

2) Barron’s Paramedic Exam: For Paramedic students this book will be of interest and it includes a CD ROM that contains two additional practice exams, in addition to one in the book. The Reviews on Amazon are very good with an average of 4 stars.