Career as an EMT
By Diane Turner
An EMT known in full as an emergency medical technician is a health professional whose main task is to respond to emergency medical situations and take charge of the situation. This is one of the most demanding and fast paced professions in the medical world and one that is counted on highly when it comes to saving lives. Not only do you need to have the knowledge to deal with medical situations, you also must have personal attributes such as the ability to think on your feet because every decision you make as an EMT must be calculated towards improving the emergency medical situation. Pressure is a part if the job and how you handle stress will determine whether or not this is the right profession for you.
An EMT’s job revolves around ambulances and emergency rooms. They work as part of the allied health service community and are trained to perform various. These rescue team members need to work within the set guidelines that rule their profession and these rules dictate how they respond to situations, procedures they can carry out and how they transport patients from the scene to the emergency room. There training therefore revolves around assessing the patient’s state, identifying procedures they can administer and transferring the patient to hospital for advanced care. Their duties will depend on their training level since as mentioned earlier they need to work within the given guidelines in their profession. There are procedures an EMT cannot perform or is not allowed to perform.
EMT act as temporary medical providers and are basically life savers. Some of the medical procedures they can provide in their line of work include: providing life saving procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation. An EMT could also provide painkilling medication to the patient, control bleeding, splint bone fractures, prevent shock, immobilize the body to prevent spinal injuries, maintain adequate cardiovascular circulation while the patient is being transported to a healthcare facility and other emergency procedures that safeguard the patients well being and prevent further damage. While transporting the patient to an appropriate healthcare facility, one EMT drives the ambulance to hospital while the other is left to provide care and monitor the patient. Since EMTs deal with different people, they also need to ensure that they not only protect themselves but the patient as well when performing their life saving procedures and this includes wearing gloves and other protective gear. When handling patients who have contagious diseases, the EMTS need to decontaminate the ambulance and will need to report this to the appropriate authorities.
It is important to note that EMTs not only work in ambulances but could also be a part of air medical response team. Those who work with a helicopter crews perform the same tasks as those who work on road ambulances and the means of transportation is the only difference. Helicopters used for medical response are also equipped with medical equipment and are used to transport injured people and the critically ill as well. They too must follow the guidelines of their profession which are set by physicians and medical authorities. The responsibilities of an EMT not only vary depending on their level of training but the state they practice in as well. Certain states use different titles to describe EMTs and also have their hold certification programs.
To bear the name EMT you need to undergo certain training and there are certificate, diploma and Associate’s degree level programs you can take up. These programs are provided in community colleges, technical institutions and other facilities that deliver emergency care training. Most of these training institutions require that the applicant undergo a background check, medical examination and also have a CPR certificate. If you are in high school and are interested in becoming an EMT, you will need to take up physiology and anatomy courses. Diploma courses concentrate on patient assessment and basic emergency handling skills. Students are taught to operate and sustain emergency equipment and this is followed by an internship. When it comes to certificate programs, students will take up courses on physiology and anatomy and combine their classroom studies with clinical practice. Certificate level course work includes: EKG interpretation, learning medical terms and how to use life support systems. Students at this level gain more training than diploma courses and this means that they also learn how to respond to advanced medical emergencies by providing intravenous fluids, administering medication and also using airway devices. Most certificate program students also must go through ride-along internships and this could be done with a local ambulance or the fire department. EMT certificate program credits could be transferred to anAssociate degree program. Associate’s degree programs provide advanced learning and lead to Paramedic level certification. The course work is rather extensive and students also need to go through filed and clinical practice. With this level of education, the student learns advanced medical care and this includes: cardiac assessment, emergency trauma care, pharmacology, treatment of shock as well as patient management care. Their internship is quite lengthy and it includes working with an emergency team. While most states use the National Registry of Emergency Technicians exams, other states have their own certification exams and licensing.Continuous education is required for EMTs after two to three years and this is to recertify the EMT.
EMT Average Salary
The average salary of an EMT is $33,000. The salary will however depend on many factors and this includes state and most importantly your level of certification. The lowest paid EMTs earn an average pay of $19,710 while the top earners in this profession can take home over $51,370, annually.
Most EMTs work fulltime though they have varied work timetables. There are also volunteer EMTs. As of 2010, there were 226,500 EMTs working in the US. Their employment outlook seems bright and is expected to increase by 33% to hit the number 301,900. This means that you can expect 75,400 new jobs in this profession between now and the year 2020.
EMT Salary Factors and Influences
As is the case with all other careers, there are certain factors that determine, affect or influence the salary of an EMT. Below we discuss these key factors.
The first major factor is certification. One is certified as an EMT on three levels and these are Basic level, Intermediatelevel and Paramedic level. As aBasic EMT, you should expect a salary range of $20,000 to 50,000. However this amount may also vary by state and employer as well. Intermediate EMT level commands an annual salary that falls between $19,000 and $39,000. When it comes to EMT Paramedics who are the most highly skilled in this profession, you can expect a salary that falls between $19,000 and $55,000.
Having discussed the salary range, it is also important to justify these salaries by giving detailed information on just how these salaries are awarded and besides certification; the salary could also be subject to years of experience. An EMT on the basic level earns between $20,000 and $30,000 as a fresher and with one to four years of experience, this salary could increase to the range of $21,000 to $32,000. With five to nine years experience, you can anywhere between 27,000 and 39,000 and $30,000 to $50,000 if you have been on the EMT Basic level for 10 to 19 years.
If you have EMT Intermediate certification, as a fresher you earn a starting salary that begins at $19,000 and goes up to $30,000. With one to four years experience, your salary could be anywhere between $20,000 and $35,000. Five to nine years experience comes with an average salary that starts at $27,000 and goes up to $36,000. 10 to 19 years could see you earn anywhere between $23,000 and $39,000.
Last but certainly not least we have EMT Paramedics who are the top EMTs. In this category, fresher’s earn anywhere between $19,000 and $38,000. With one to four years experience a Paramedic will earn between $31,000 and $41,000 and also earn not less than $34,000 with 10 to 19 years experience. This amount could go up to $55,000 or even surpass it.
Where you are employed also plays a vital role in the salary of an EMT. Though the major employers of EMTs are ambulance services with a 48% stake, local government and hospitals are also major employers.Federal government pays its EMTs in the following ways. EMT Paramedic: $31,000 to $65,000, Intermediate EMTs $22,000 to $29,000 and Basic EMT earns between $25,000 and $41,000. If you are state or local government employed, expect a salary range between $26,000 and $42,000 as a Basic EMT, $25,000 to $35,000 as an Intermediate EMT and $34,000 to $54,000 as an EMT Paramedic. Hospitals pay their Paramedic EMTs between $30,000 and $40,000.Intermediate EMTs are paid between $17,000 and $33,000 while Basic EMTs are paid between $24,000 and $34,000. In private medicalpractices, Basic EMTs take home a salary within the $21,000 and $34,000 range.
The state you work in also dictates the pay EMTs earn and some of the best places to work as an EMT in no particular order include: Nevada, New York, Washington, Alaska, Maryland, Colorado, and Missouri amongst others. Below we will provide more information on average pay for EMTs in various states.
EMT Salary Compared To Related Fields
The average salary for an EMT is less if you were to compare it with other professionals who perform similar tasks. Below is a list comparing the average EMT salary to that of similar occupations.
Registered Nurses Average Salary: $64,000
Firefighters Average Salary: $45,000
Search and Rescue Technician Average Salary: $34,000
EMT Salary by State
As promised earlier, below is the average salary you can expect to be paid as an EMT in the following states.
EMT Salary in New York: $39,000
EMT Salary in California: $36,000
EMT Salary in Illinois: $35,000
EMT Salary in Mississippi: $33,000
EMT Salary in Florida: $31,000
EMT salary in Texas: $31,000
EMT Salary in Nevada: $30,000
EMT Salary in Delaware: $31,000
EMT Salary in Alaska: $28,000
EMT Salary in Hawaii: $23,000
EMT Salary Nebraska: $26,000
EMT Types of Salaries
There are different types of EMTs. The salary for an EMT varies according to the different categories below:
EMT – Basic: Annual Salary: $38,000
Basic level EMTs perform basic duties and do not handle complicated medical emergencies. They usually perform minor tasks and work with more experienced EMTs.
EMT – Intermediate Annual Salary: $41,000
Intermediate EMTs are more educated and are allowed to administer extra care includingadministering intravenous medication, interpreting EKG reading, providing CPR and other tasks.
EMT – Paramedic Annual Salary: $57,000
Paramedics are the most skilled EMTs and they can provide trauma care, shock treatment, cardiac assessment and resuscitation amongst other tasks.
EMT Dispatcher Annual Salary: $17,000
EMT dispatchers are in a broad category and work with the local police, fire department and ambulance services as well. They are situated in emergency medical response centers and receive reports of emergency situations such as accidents, fires or police emergencies and relay this information to the relevant authorities.
Fire Fighter EMT Annual Salary: $69,000
EMT Fire Fighters have challenging occupation. They are usually employed by the fire department and their work involves attending to emergency medical situations during fires. Many fire departments oblige their fire fighters to train as EMTs
History of EMT
Back in 1590s up to 1665, civilians organized emergency transportation for the sick. This arrangements were however a temporary provision. The earliest formal developments of this profession can be traced back during the civil war thanks to veterans who initiated volunteer ambulance corps and life saving crews. This then led to the provision of ambulance services by hospitals, the police, fire brigades and funeral directors as well. However, the services were not provided by medical professionals and it wasn’t until the 1960s that this pre-medical care profession began being recognized. A TV show known as Emergency actually played a significant role in mass recognition of the profession as it depicted duties of the then new profession. The show first went on air in 1972 and by then there were only six EMT units in the US. That was also the period that saw the term Paramedic coined. To date this profession has evolved and you cannot practice without some training and internship. The fully fledged profession now has professional bodies and some of the skills these professionals need to possess are: fracture and spinal injury management, classification of injuries, assessment and management of general accident scenes amongst others.
EMT Salary Outlook – Conclusion
EMT could be paid better. An annual average of $33,000 does not justify the labor put in by these professionals. Education disparity could have a major role to play in this salary scale since EMTs lack academic degrees and this is probably the reason why their overall pay is much less than what other allied health workers earn. That said, the profession is set to grow and is expected to rise by 33% by the year 2020.