How to Become an Emergency Medical Technician


Authored by Mary Lamphere in Careers and Employment
Published on 12-05-2009

An Emergency Medical Technician is formally trained in providing emergency medical care usually associated with ambulance services or the medical services of the fire department.  EMTs attend to and care for victims of car accidents, violent attacks, and various other emergencies while in transport to the emergency room.  Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician requires formal education, training, and state certification.

Formal Education for Emergency Medical Technicians

Emergency Medical Technician classes usually include a first aid course, a CPR course, and various other emergency medical related courses.  Most states require that individuals applying for Emergency Medical Technician certification be formally educated in managing respiratory trauma, cardiac trauma such as heart attacks, and also assessing patients.  Some states require similar courses to those that are required to become a Registered Nurse.

Additional classes are provided that teach students how to use emergency medical equipment such as backboards and stretchers.  Prospective Emergency Medical Technicians will also learn how to deal with broken bones, bleeding, and even child birth.  The idea is to train the student to be as knowledgeable as possible about various emergency situations that may occur during the course of their future work as an EMT.

Training to Become an Emergency Medical Technician

Most states require that individuals who wish to become state certified Emergency Medical Technicians receive formal training in the field in addition to coursework.  Training is usually provided on site in a hospital emergency room or in an ambulance.  Sometimes, EMTs will receive training via both in hospital services and outside services as well.

While training in the hospital, EMT students will learn more about dealing with emergencies first hand and they will gain the skills required to work individually in the future.  Ambulance training is also used to get Emergency Medical Technician students acquainted with the way the ambulance operates as well as how emergencies tend to unfold.  While there is no specific training for each and every emergency, on the job training is considered one of the best sources of education for this type of career.

State Certification to Become an Emergency Medical Technician

Each state has its own certification requirements but all states have similar requirements.  In most cases, EMT students are required to first pass an approved certification course and training program before being eligible to take the state certification exam.  The certification exam typically covers practical information that was learned during the coursework of the approved certification program.

Intermediate EMT and Paramedic Training

Once students have passed the state examination and are given the title Registered EMT Basic they are eligible to continue education and training to become intermediate EMTs or Paramedics.  An intermediate EMT typically must have at least 40 more hours of training in addition to the EMT basic.  This training requirement also varies by state and is in conjunction with the EMT Basic certification.

To become a Paramedic, additional training and schooling will be required above and beyond the EMT Basic and EMT Intermediate training.  Individuals can contact their local state licensing and certification boards to get additional information about becoming an Emergency Medical Technician.


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