Become Involved as an EMS Professional
Emergency Medical Services is a career field filled with excitement, rewards, public service and at times tasks that require routine work. Research indicates EMS providers love the work they do, are
committed to patient care, enjoy the education, the “team work” part of work life and wish they were paid more for their services. Mental stability, physical fitness and remaining “calm” during the storm of activities
one faces as an EMT are important attributes of EMS professionals. Often used as an entry portal for other health care professions, EMS can be an enjoyable and rewarding life’s work.
Typically, persons interested in EMS must be 18 years of age, take and pass an EMT education course, and not have a criminal background. EMT courses are taught in a variety of settings throughout the United States. All US Army and Air Force “medics ” are EMTs. The location of courses can be found by contacting State EMS Offices, found in the Maps section of our website. The EMT course requires about a semester of education to complete. Some courses are taught in academies, some in Universities and Community Colleges while others are taught through academies or by services seeking to employ EMTs. Many EMTs, particularly in rural areas, volunteer to be on the EMS service. Most volunteers are compensated in some fashion for EMS work. A majority of EMTs are paid ambulance personnel and work either for Fire Departments, with Ambulance services, or hospitals that deliver local EMS care.
Emergency Medical personnel have designations or titles based upon the amount of education and scope of care they provide to patients. The National EMS Scope of Practice Model has four levels of EMS care. The knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for each level are further identified in the 2009 EMS Education Standards and Instructional Guidelines. Below are the designations and a description for each. designations followed by the recommended amount of education required to reach that level of care:
Emergency Medical Responder
The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Responder is to initiate immediate lifesaving care to critical patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide lifesaving interventions while awaiting additional EMS response and to assist higher level personnel at the scene and during transport. Emergency Medical Responders function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Emergency Medical Responders perform basic interventions with minimal equipment.
Emergency Medical Technician
The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Technician is to provide basic emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient care and transportation. Emergency Medical Technicians function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Emergency Medical Technicians perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance. The Emergency Medical Technician is a link from the scene to the emergency health care system.
Advanced Emergency Medical Technician
The primary focus of the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician is to provide basic and limited advanced emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient care and transportation. Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians perform interventions with the basic and advanced equipment typically found on an ambulance. The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician is a link from the scene to the emergency health care system.
The Paramedic is an allied health professional whose primary focus is to provide advanced emergency medical care for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the complex knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient care and transportation. Paramedics function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Paramedics perform interventions with the basic and advanced equipment typically found on an ambulance. The Paramedic is a link from the scene into the health care system.
EMS education courses can be located by contacting your State Office of EMS. There are approximately 20,000+ EMT instructors who offer over 5,000 courses per year. There are about 400+ accredited Paramedic education courses throughout the country. Visit http://www.caahep.org/ for complete listings.
Persons who wish to be EMTs or Paramedics should contact their local EMS education program to learn more about the profession, the job of an EMT and local employment opportunities. Paramedics must complete a CAAHEP-approved course in order to be eligible for National EMS Certification as a Paramedic.
After completion of EMS education, persons desiring to obtain a license to provide that level of care in their state most often obtain National EMS Certification. The primary purpose of National EMS Certification is to protect the public by assuring EMS providers can safely and effectively practice at the entry level competencies. National EMS Certification is delivered by the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT) in all 50 States. Currently 46 states, the District of Columbia, the US Army, US Air Force, and the Department of Homeland Security require successful completion of the National EMS Certification processes to obtain a license to deliver care as part of their initial licensure process. Four states currently utilize their own licensure and certification processes. The NREMT requires successful completion of EMS education, passing a performance examination (psychomotor) and a computer-based written examination. The NREMT processes are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), www.credentialingexcellence.org. National EMS Certification also facilitates interstate movement of EMS personnel as 49 states recognize the NREMT certifications for reciprocity. No EMS provider can work with National EMS Certification alone; all must also possess a state license or authorizing agency designation to work. Persons interested in EMS will learn more about the NREMT and the state licensure processes as part of an EMS education program.
The National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) is the professional organization for EMS workers. The NAEMT is the advocacy agency for EMTs. They provide a variety of continuing education courses, host a national conference, and represent EMS providers on a variety of national EMS committees. The NREMT (The Nations' EMS Certification®) is not the NAEMT (the EMS professions association). Many EMS professionals are members of NAEMT.
EMS can be an exciting career field. Taking care of people at their greatest time of need when critical illness or injury are present can be very rewarding. EMS also has it's share or routine work but one never knows when dispatched on an EMS call what to expect. If you like dynamics in the workplace, service to your fellow man, and are fit both mentally and physically, you should consider a career in EMS.
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