Emergency Medical Technician Training

One of the most demanding yet rewarding careers in the health care industry is being an emergency medical technician. EMTs respond to crises along with other first responders, such as police officers and firefighters. They are summoned by 911 calls in ambulances and other emergency vehicles. They help victims of violent crimes, natural disasters, accidental injuries, and common illnesses. EMTs are not physicians; their role is to stabilize patients and maintain their condition until a doctor arrives or the patient is delivered to a hospital. They are occasionally called upon to administer such emergency measures as CPR. There are several levels of certification for EMTs. Many EMTs will add additional certifications as they gain in experience and emergency medical technician training.

Paramedics differ from EMTs in that paramedics have more experience have received training in life- saving that far exceeds that of basic EMTs. An EMT with 120 hours of emergency medical training learns how to use a defibrillator, which could certainly save someoneís life, but has have few other means of bringing a patient back from the brink of death. A paramedic who has received an extra few hundred hours of training, plus having years of professional experience, has a range of tools at his disposal, such as a laryngoscope to use in performing an intubation.

EMTs must have a high school degree or the equivalent before they can begin their training. The traditional way to receive the requisite emergency medical technician training is through a degree program. Many universities, community colleges, and technical schools offer an associateís degree that includes all the requisite training to earn an EMT certificate. These schools are also good places for other degree holders to take the necessary coursework to become certified. Emergency first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, will often become certified as a complement to their other professional training. The EMTís tools and techniques are extremely useful in emergency situations.

Emergency medical technician training is a rigorous, hands-on process. In fact, the training is the coursework and experience required to receive EMT certification. There are several levels of certification, including EMT I-Basic; EMT II-Intermediate; and Paramedic. States have different requirements for certification, but most break down training into two types: didactic (meaning learned in a classroom through a traditional lecture) and clinical, which is hands-on training in a hospital, emergency vehicle, or training hospital. Sample requirements for a given state might be 120 hours for EMT I certification, of which 15 hours are clinical with the rest didactic. EMT II certification might require three times as much training, with a stronger emphasis on clinical training. This extra training is in addition to an EMT I certificate and all of the emergency medical technician training it implies. A Paramedic certificate requires extensive training above and beyond EMT II requirements. Many states require over 1,000 hours of training. This training includes almost 50 percent class time. It includes hundreds of hours of clinical training in a medical setting. It might also include an internship working under the supervision of trained paramedics and physicians.

The emergency medical training required for EMT certification is not the only requirement; there is a test for each level of certification. In addition, certification lasts for only a couple of years before a candidate must go through additional testing and training in order to maintain certification. This requirement ensures that EMTs and paramedics stay abreast of the latest advances in stabilization and life support care.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014