This helpful how to become an ER tech guide gives you all the information you need to know about ER techs, including training, experience and more. Once you’re well on your training journey, you can tackle your job applications with our helpful resume tools.
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What Does an ER Tech Do?
An ER tech is a specialized emergency medical technician (EMT) who works exclusively in hospital settings and provides medical triage support to hospital staff and patients. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse in a hospital emergency room. Some typical ER tech duties and responsibilities include:
Provide emergency care to patients admitted to the ER.
Access patients and take their medical histories.
Monitor patients' temperature, pulse and blood pressure.
Communicate with patients and their family members or support system.
Collect various patient specimens such as stool, urine and blood.
Fit patients for medical aids such as casts and crutches.
Assist nurses or doctors by handing them proper medical instruments and other needed supplies.
Provide patients with discharge instructions and follow-up appointments, as required.
How Do You Become an ER Tech?
Demand for ER techs is developing at a much faster-than-average rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 24% growth for the position through 2024, amounting to 58,500 job openings for ER techs during that period.
The projected job openings will be due to various daily emergencies and natural disasters and the growth of the middle-aged and elderly population suffering from conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. To become an ER tech, you’ll need to gain your EMT-basic training and licensing alongside specialized training. Follow these steps to earn your licensed credentials.
Finish high school or your GED.
According to our analysis of online job postings, employers are looking for ER tech candidates with at least a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Earn a Basic Life Support certification.
Most EMT-Basic training programs require proof of a Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers card before you can start your hands-on training. You can complete this 4.5-hour course with the American Heart Association or the Red Cross, where you’ll learn how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) and perform basic first aid like CPR and the abdominal thrust (Heimlich maneuver).
Complete an EMT basic training program or associate degree program.
Certificate programs related to ER techs can take several months to a year. These programs vary by state — you’ll need to visit your state’s local emergency medical services authority to learn more and find training programs near you. These programs will cover the following topics:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Patient assessment
- Medical terminology
- Bleeding control
- Spinal immobilization
- Shock management
- Emergency childbirth
An alternate path includes a two-year associate degree. Required courses for an applied science associate degree include surgical anatomy and physiology, operating room technology, and applied surgical techniques and procedures.
Apply for your Emergency Medical Technician card.
Some employers require ER techs to have an EMT certification through their state’s board of emergency medical services. Most states require unique licensure requirements, but you can opt for a nationally approved examination sponsored by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
Consider getting additional training and certifications.
Previous health care experience, including basic skills, venous puncture and EKG monitoring, is largely preferred. Most job postings state that prospective candidates should have advanced education provided by an allied health care or medical program.
Apply for an ER tech job opening.
You have the training — use these ER tech resume samples to learn how your fellow technicians highlight their medical triage and hospital experience. If you’re struggling to write your resume, use your helpful Resume Builder. This powerful writing tool uses a simple questionnaire to gauge your experience and knowledge, suggests professionally written text templates, and auto-formats your resume.
ER Tech Skills
The ability to provide basic emergency care and a safe environment for patients are two of the essential things an ER tech should know how to do. Being an ER tech involves:
Effective hard skills:
Key soft skills:
Insights from an Emergency Industry
Becoming an ER Tech should not be taken lightly. This is a tough and demanding career. Read what professional ER Technicians told us about working in the Emergency Industry.
What is the common career path for an ER Tech?
The most common career path for becoming an ER Technician is getting the Basic Life Support (BLS) card for starters. Then applying for a position as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) basic training program which is mandatory for anybody aspiring to become an ER Technician. You may also acquire a Bachelor's degree in a related field such as biology but this is not required. Additionally, you can take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Exam (NREMT) to get certified and licensed.
What should someone consider before becoming an ER Tech?
Like all jobs in the medical industry, stress is not something you can escape from. Along with that, add long working days and sometimes even working a night shift. Salary may vary depending on where you live so research is encouraged before signing any contract of employment.
What type of person excels in this job?
This job requires personality traits like dexterity, sense of urgency and openness to new experiences. Along with the ability to multitask and be calm among chaotic situations. ER Technicians must have the ability to adapt to the situation at hand meaning they can speed up their work when the situation presents itself.
What are some of the most important skills for ER Techs to have?
This career requires critical thinking, compassion and empathy for your patients, and excellent oral communication skills.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being an ER Tech?
The most rewarding aspect of being an ER Technician is being able to change the lives of people from all sorts of backgrounds by understanding their symptoms and helping them overcome difficult situations.
How Much Do ER Techs Get Paid?
ER Techs are typically paid on an hourly basis, with the median hourly wage in the United States being $15.38. The lowest-paid ER Techs make about $10 per hour, while the highest-paid can earn more than $26 hourly.
Top 10 States for ER Tech’s Salary
ER Techs in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.:
ER Tech Resources
Need more information? We put together this list of extra resources to assist you as you continue exploring a career as an ER Tech.
On the Web
Leading source for news relating to emergency medical service personnel
Journal of Emergency Medical Services
Initiatives, news and events relating to emergency medical services
Informal advisory panel committed to reducing deaths and injuries to emergency responders
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
Represents and serves emergency healthcare practitioners
ER Tech Books
EMT crash course book
Crash course to prepare for the EMT exam
Helps students learn to think like an EMT