People tend to get confused sometimes by the career path of EMT vs. Paramedic. There are actually a few differences between an EMT vs. a Paramedic that might be helpful to know if you are considering pursuing a career path in the Emergency Medical Services.
Everyone is an EMT
- The one similarity between EMT vs. Paramedic is that both are certified as EMT’s (Emergency medical technician). There are two different levels of certification that are common in every state. They are the EMT basic and the EMT Paramedic. Some states have different names for these but the courses remain the same.
Training length and hours
- The biggest difference between EMT vs. Paramedic jobs is the training they receive. Basic EMT’s usually take around 120 to 150 hours of training with hands on experience. While paramedics go even further with 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training. The paramedic career path is usually that of a two year degree.
- Breaking the skin is one major practice difference between EMT vs. Paramedic jobs. This means that most states do not allow basic EMT’s to give shots or to start IV’s. Paramedic’s however has the ability to give shots as well as use more advanced tools and devices such as airway management. EMT’s are usually restricted to using oxygen, glucose, epinephrine auto injectors, and asthma inhalers. Paramedics are trained on the usage of 30 to 40 different medications varying on the state they work in.
- Both EMT’s and Paramedics can respond to emergency incidents. But basic EMT level training allows them to attend to the patients in the back of the ambulance while providing the basic level of emergency elements. However Paramedics can provide more advanced techniques such as supportive care after the initial resuscitation.
Courses and Training
- As stated in the beginning, the main difference between EMT vs. Paramedic is the amount of training time they go through. This goes hand and hand with the number of courses they take as well. In order to become a Paramedic you must complete all the initial EMT courses and get certified as an EMT, and then you can continue your education to the Paramedic career path.
It is generally accepted to become a licensed and certified EMT and work within the field for a few years to gain more hands on experience before starting your training to become a licensed Paramedic. If you are interested in moving forward in either career path it is best to find out from your state, or the state you wish to work in what their requirements and certifications are like before starting. This is because each state has different requirements for their EMT’s and Paramedics. So no matter what your field of choosing is there are many benefits to either career path, including helping others when in need.