Emergency Medical Technician Job Description
Emergency medical technicians, often referred to as EMTs, look after injured or sick patients in emergency situations. This job requires the ability to act quickly and efficiently, as sometimes the patient may be in a critical situation. EMTs respond to emergency calls and transport patients to medical facilities in addition to performing basic first aid care. This is typically a full-time job that’s carried out in shifts. Evening and weekend work are regularly required due to the nature of the role. Those well-suited to becoming an emergency medical technician are calm and friendly with a good understanding of basic medical terminology and procedures, physical strength, and great attention to detail.
Emergency Medical Technician Duties and Responsibilities
Emergency medical technicians carry out a wide range of tasks depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, an EMT’s duties typically involve:
Assess Patient Conditions
As the first medical professional a patient may see in emergency situations, an EMT assesses the severity of their illness or injury and prioritizes medical procedures accordingly.
Replenish Supplies and Medical Equipment
EMTs ensure that medical equipment and first aid supplies are always replenished after treating a patient. They also make sure that their work area is kept clean, sanitized, and organized.
Administer Basic First Aid
EMTs administer life support care and basic first aid to stop patient conditions from worsening before they arrive at the hospital. The EMT’s goal is to keep patients alive and as healthy as possible before they can be seen by a doctor.
Perform Diagnostic Procedures
From stomach suction to heart monitoring, EMTs carry out emergency diagnostic and treatment procedures to assess patient conditions and help keep them as safe and healthy as possible.
Transport Patients to Hospitals
EMTs transport patients from their home or place of injury to the ambulance, and then ensure that they’re safely and comfortably transported to the hospital. EMTs coordinate with hospital staff to get patients seen as quickly as possible.
Emergency Medical Technician Skills and Qualifications
Emergency medical technicians should be compassionate and caring, with great communication skills, a friendly and professional demeanor, and the ability to stay calm in stressful situations. Typically, employers require a high school diploma and any relevant state licenses, as well as the following abilities:
- Compassion – emergency medical technicians work with people who are ill, injured, and often scared and upset, and people in this role must provide emotional support to these patients
- Team collaboration – in addition to working with patients, EMTs also work closely with colleagues and need the abilities to communicate effectively and coordinate activities in fast-paced emergency situations
- Attention to detail – emergency medical technicians need to be detail oriented, since overlooking key signs of injury or illness could prove fatal to patients
- Physical fitness – this is a physically demanding job with a lot of lifting and bending, so candidates for this role need to be fit and have the strength and stamina to carry out these tasks
- Patience – emergency medical technicians need the patience to explain procedures to patients who don’t have medical knowledge or who might be too distressed to pay attention
Emergency Medical Technician Education and Training
The minimum requirements to become an emergency medical technician are a high school diploma or postsecondary degree in addition to any relevant licenses required by the state. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs provides a list of accredited programs for this job by state. Programs at the EMT level include dealing with trauma, using field equipment, assessing patient conditions, and handling emergencies.
Emergency Medical Technician Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for emergency medical technicians is around $33,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). EMTs in the 10th percentile earn almost $22,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $57,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that can reach up to $2,000 from bonus structures based on individual or group performances.
Over half of all employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefits package. The BLS predicts that this sector will grow 15 percent through 2026.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn how to become an emergency medical technician:
Everyday EMS Tips – this helpful site features key learning skills, terminology, and techniques for helping patients more effectively in situations that EMTs come across on a regular basis
EMT Exam Study Guide – providing readers with a wide variety of practice test questions, this EMT study guide includes strategies to help readers achieve higher grades on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam
Fresh Out of EMT School – this handy guide will quickly become a regularly used manual, as it covers everything needed to begin working as an emergency medical technician
Journal of Emergency Medical Services Editor Blog – the editor of JEMS has over 30 years of experience, making this an incredibly insightful blog that’s updated regularly with thought-provoking and informative posts
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