The Career of a Medical Technician

Emergency Medical Technicians are responsible for the preliminary care of patients who are going into labor, suffered a heart attack, or experienced an accident, and represent one of the fastest growing employment opportunities in health care. EMTs and paramedics are expected to provide quality care at all hours of the day.

Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics are the first people on the scene for immediate medical attention to events like accidents, gunshot wounds and heart attacks. EMTs begin their work at the scene, and will continue to care for the patient on the ride to the hospital.

Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians, like firemen and police officers, are called in through a 911 dispatcher. Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics need to immediately assess the patient's condition, and need to make quick decisions to help save lives. They do primary diagnostic work, determining the nature of the present condition and checking for any existing medical problems, then transport the injured party to a hospital, where emergency room doctors take over.

Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics begin their education with a high school diploma. Workers must attend a training program, but do not need a college degree to enroll. All states require training and education, but the amount of each varies by region.

Employers are most likely to hire EMTs and Paramedics with higher levels of experience, and advanced certifications that can be obtained via distance learning at online nursing schools. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians is the largest provider of certifications, though some states also offer private programs. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians divide these certificates into five levels: First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, which is subdivided into 1985 and 1999, and Paramedic. EMT-Basic is the lowest level, and paramedic is the highest.

Emergency Medical Technicians with Basic certification are allowed to provide transport, care for the patient at the scene of the accident and during transit, and is trained to manage conditions. Basic level EMTs, like the other levels, are allowed to maintain respiratory and cardiac function during an emergency, and are also qualified to deal with trauma, like broken bones. The next level, EMT Intermediate, requires more education and training in order to perform more complicated procedures, as dictated by state law. EMT-Paramedics have more education and responsibilities than their peers. Paramedics are given more responsibilities, like medication administration, procedural duties and equipment usage.

Urgent care medicine is a difficult field. EMTs need to be physically prepared for the position, and should be able to life heavy loads and perform additional demanding tasks as well, in rain or shine. EMTs need to be able to work day or night, and in many different kinds of weather; the work of a paramedic is not easy. Furthermore, paramedics and technicians need to be able to make rational decisions quickly in order to save a life. Anyone interested in the field should be comfortable with the responsibility for a person?s life.

Technicians who work through a 911 dispatcher earn more money and are awarded with better benefits than those that work with a private hospital. The average EMT earns approximately $30,870 a year, as reported in 2007.

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