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Career Facts - Basic Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic

Nature of Work

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) typically are dispatched to the scene of an incident by a 911 operator and often with with-or are themselves-police and/or fire officers. Once they arrive, they determine the nature and extent of the patient's condition and try to ascertain whether the patient has preexisting medical problems.  Following strict rules and guidelines, they give appropriate emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient.  Emergency treatments for more complicated problems are carried out under the direction of physicians by radio preceding or during transport.

The EMT is trained to care for patients on accident scenes and on transport by ambulance to the hospital under medical directions. The EMT has the emergency skills to assess a patient's condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, trauma and many medical emergencies.

Most career EMTs work in metropolitan areas. There are many more volunteer EMTs in smaller cities, towns, and rural areas. They volunteer for fire departments, emergency medical services, or hospitals and may respond to only a few calls for service per month, or may answer the majority of calls, especially in smaller communities.

Employment Prospects

Employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics is expected to grow 20-35 percent through 2010. Population growth and urbanization will increase the demand for full-time paid EMTs rather than for volunteers. In addition, a large segment of the population-the aging baby boomers-will further spur demand for EMT services, as they become more likely to have medical emergencies.

To practice in the state of Michigan, individuals must pass the written practical exam prescribed by the National Registry of EMTs Upon completion apply for a Michigan EMS License through the Michigan Department of Community Health, EMS Division. The license must be renewed every three years.

Skills You Need

EMTs and paramedics are required to have physical and emotional strength and stamina, as well as skills in interpersonal relationships, effective communication and critical thinking. Students must have a high school diploma or GED and complete the educational requirements set forth by the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services, EMS Division.

Expected Earnings

Earnings for EMTs depend on the employment setting and geographic location as well as the individual's training and experience. The average salary for an EMT is $14,000-$18,000, increases when based with a hospital or fire service.

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