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Working as an EMT Is Never Dull

Becoming a certified EMT is one of the most exciting occupations out there.  As first responders, EMTs often mean the difference between life and death for millions of Americans each year.

A lot of students these days are wisely pondering their career choices and the path to get there.  With the current economic climate and lack luster job market it is extremely important to know more about your choices.  One needs to consider the amount of schooling it will take and if the job market for that career is going to grow.

The medical field is one profession that is growing and expected to continue to grow.  With the baby-boomer generation reaching retirement age their medical needs will increase.  One job in the medical field expected to grow is an EMT.  Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), are trained to provide emergency care, including ambulance services. EMTs are typically dispatched to an emergency by a 911 operator.  The incidents they are called to are varied, they can include car accidents, drowning victims, heart attack victims, stroke victims, childbirth, and gunshot victims. On the scene the EMT will need to assess the situation and respond accordingly. They will determine the nature and extent of a patient’s condition.  They may have to calm excited family members, talk to the patient or family members regarding preexisting medical conditions; all while giving emergency care to the victim.   There are times it may not be a safe situation if violence is involved.  EMTs are trained on how to deal with drug addicts and mental health patients, so they can keep both the patient and themselves safe.  As in any medical situation they follow strict rules and guidelines regarding the appropriate emergency care and transportation of a patient. They often work with the police and fire departments as well as emergency room personnel.  Once they have transported the patient to the appropriate medical facility they help transfer the patient to the emergency department; reporting their actions and observations to the ER staff. 

There are different levels of emergency medical technicians.  EMT I or EMT basic is trained to care for patients at the scene of an accident while transporting patients by ambulance to the hospital under medical direction.  These technicians have emergency skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies.  EMT II and II have advanced training that allows the administration of intravenous fluids, the use of defibrillators to give life-saving aid to patients with stopped hearts, and the application of advanced airway techniques and the equipment used to assist patients experiencing a respiratory emergency.

Emergency technicians are required to do considerable kneeling, bending, and heavy lifting.  This job requires people who are in good physical fitness.  The working conditions are both indoors and outdoors in all types of weather.  EMTs can be employed by a number of employers including: fire departments, hospitals, and private ambulance service companies. 

Training for an EMT basic requires between 120-150 hours of instruction that usually takes 10-12 weeks of part time classes.  There are more intensive programs that have a shorter time length.  The good thing about this career is you can continue taking classes and move onto higher levels; even completing programs to be a paramedic or nurse.

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