EMT-Paramedic: $3,680 to $15,730
Whether it’s a highway collision, a heart attack, a house on fire, or violence at the scene of a robbery or domestic dispute, when someone calls 911 for an injury, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) show up. There are a number of different certification levels for EMTs, but the most common are EMT-Basic and EMT-Paramedic. Usually, these people work as a team in an ambulance. This article will explain the difference between these two EMT levels, and describe how to prepare and train for each occupation.
What Is An EMT-Basic?
EMT-Basic is the first level of EMT training. EMT-Basics generally receive between 120 and 150 hours of training over the course of 3 to 8 months. Once certified, an EMT-Basic has the skills to assess a patient’s condition and provide basic lifesaving care. They are qualified to use oxygen, various inhalers, glucose, and epinephrine auto-injectors to aid patients suffering from respiratory or cardiac distress, shock, and other types of trauma. EMT-Basics are not allowed to break the skin. For instance, they set up IVs so paramedics can administer them. They are skilled in all first aid techniques (bandaging, splinting) and CPR. They take vital signs, and generally assist the paramedic in stabilizing and transporting the patient to the hospital. EMT-Basics drive the ambulance, make calls to advising physicians and relay information, assist in rescues, and are in charge of getting the ambulance cleaned up, re-stocked, and ready to go for the next emergency.
What Is An EMT-Paramedic?
EMT-Paramedic is the highest level of EMT certification. To become an EMT-Paramedic, you need 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training over the course of about two years. Paramedics are the more medically-trained members of an ambulance team. There is a saying in emergency medicine that “paramedics save lives, and EMTs save paramedics.” This means that to be effective, paramedics and EMT-Basics must work together like a well-oiled machine. Paramedics have the advanced skills and knowledge to administer between 30 and 40 different medications either orally or intravenously. They can give injections, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform intubations, and implement cardiac life support procedures (such as defibrillation). Once at the hospital, paramedics often assist physicians in stabilizing the patient.
Working as an EMT-Basic or EMT-Paramedic requires both physical and emotional strength. You will often find yourself kneeling or bending over your patient who might be in bed, on the floor, or trapped inside a car. You will have to lift your patient (with the help of your team) and transport the patient either to a safer or more comfortable area or into the ambulance. Patients come in all shapes and sizes, so you must be able to lift heavy weights from a bending position. You will be exposed to disease and infection as well as to occasionally hysterical or mentally unbalanced patients who may become violent. The noise of the ambulance siren can damage your hearing. The stress of the job can sometimes be difficult to bear.