EMT vs Paramedic: What Is The Difference?

This blog post is going to indicate the difference between EMT vs Paramedic, what these careers entail and how they differ from one another.

If you are interested in a career where you will be saving lives, then becoming an EMT or paramedic might be the perfect choice for you. This blog post is going to introduce what these careers entail and how they differ from one another. We will also talk about certification requirements so that you can start your journey into this rewarding profession.

The amount of education and the level of care for patients are the two biggest differences between EMTs and Paramedics. A paramedic usually has more training and is able to provide a higher level of care for patients, while an EMT cannot.

What are they?

EMTs are also known as Emergency Medical Technicians, they are the person who will be providing pre-hospital care and who are typically the first person on the scene.

Paramedics, also known as Emergency Medical Technicians with Advanced Life Support training, have more advanced skills than an EMT, such as suturing wounds and administering IV drugs. They can provide both basic and advanced life support services for patients in emergency situations.

Where do they work?

Some places where EMTs can often work are ambulance services, governments, hospitals, fire departments, and hospital departments. In these places, a medical director or physician supervises their work and they have a limited scope of practice.

On the other hand, Paramedics most commonly are employed by emergency medical services (EMS). There, they can work with EMTs, but the number of Paramedics is often larger than EMTs. Besides, Paramedics can also work for air ambulances and fire services.

emt vs paramedic
EMT vs Paramedic

 

The difference in typical responsibilities between EMT vs Paramedic

As the first responders to an emergency situation, EMTs have some duties such as responding to 911 calls for emergency medical technicians, assessing patients, helping them stabilize, and treating them on the way to hospitals or between facilities. Some of the treatments they can do within their scope of practice are using a backboard and restrains to keep the patients still and safe in the ambulance during transport, providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or bandaging wounds, controlling external bleeding, preventing shock and further injury in patients. They also must maintain patient records, inform the hospital about the injury or illness, the number of patients being transported, and the expected time of arrival.

In addition to some EMTs’ basic duties, Paramedics can take more advanced practices. For instance, they might provide additional treatment to the patient during transport, such as intravenous (IV) medications or fluid replacement. They can also use more advanced equipment in order to treat patients who have been injured severely enough that they need surgery and transported by helicopter.

Education and experience requirements

If you want to become an EMT, having a high school diploma or GED is sufficient. You do not need an associate or bachelor’s degree. However, completing an EMT training program that is offered by community colleges and vocational schools is a must. Such programs often are completed in 150 hours. In addition, to become a successful EMT, students must also pass the National Registry Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) cognitive exam.

The highest level of EMTs is Paramedics which is why becoming a Paramedic requires more education than becoming an EMT. Students must finish basic and advanced EMT training courses and additional studies. Generally, they also have to work as EMTs for one to two years to gain experience. Students must also take EMT courses at a college or university. These programs typically last between two and four years. That depends on the school’s curriculum, which ranges from 100 to 200-course hours. Paramedics are required to be certified by the National Board for Certification of Emergency Medical Technicians (NBCET).

Certification and license

Obtaining CPR certification is a must for anyone who wants to become an EMT because only a person who possesses CPR certification can enroll in an EMT training program. Many organizations provide students with that certification such as the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Another certification students must take to become an EMT is the National Registry Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification. NREMT certification is the guarantee of a student’s competence and almost every state requires it for becoming a licensed emergency medical technician. The EMT must be at least 18 years old and should have a valid driver’s license to receive an NREMT license.

In order to become a Paramedic, you are required to obtain all the licenses as an EMT. In addition, Paramedics must pass the NBCET Exam and also be licensed by their state. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) administers this exam which is a two-part assessment that consists of an essay test and a computerized practical examination where students are required to perform skills such as cardiac monitoring, intravenous fluid administration, and airway management.

How do you become an EMT?

Steps for becoming an EMT:

  • 18 years old or older with a valid driver’s license.
  • Complete your basic educational requirements – a high school diploma or GED.
  • Gain CPR certification from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
  • Take the NREMT exam and get your certification once you pass it.
  • You can take boot camp to become certified but this is not mandatory in most states. This usually takes about three weeks).

How do you become a paramedic?

You have to meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years old or older with a valid driver’s license.
  • Complete your basic educational requirements – a high school diploma or GED.
  • Gain CPR certification from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association if you want to work as an EMT and not be limited to just paramedics (this usually takes about three weeks).
  • Take the NREMT exam and get your certification once you pass it.
  • Get a job as an EMT for at least two years. This will give you more experience in emergency medical situations.
  • Complete paramedic school (this usually takes about six months).

In conclusion, the difference between an EMT and a paramedic is that the latter has more training than the former. An EMT provides basic life support (BLS). While paramedics provide BLS plus advanced cardiac care which includes administering medications to patients as well as performing endotracheal intubation (EIT ).

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