An EMT’s Job Description


If you have a passion for helping others and desire to be on the medical field’s front line, consider becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). An overview of a EMT’s job description is a healthcare hero who deals with medical or traumatic emergencies, examines the severity of injuries, and transfers patients in a well-equipped vehicle. EMTs oversee patient care until the patient reaches the hospital. Once patients get to the hospital via the emergency vehicle, doctors and other medical staff take over.

EMTs are known for having problem-solving skills and high competence in crisis. Becoming an EMT requires dedication and a compassionate heart for helping others. If you want to explore an EMTs job description and EMT responsibilities, then continue reading this guide to understand what they do, where they work, and the challenges an EMT can face.

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What does an EMT do?

Emergency Medical Technicians spend most of their day being on alert and responding to 911 calls. Emergency calls/runs can involve:

  • Assessing the problem.
  • Treating and/or assessing injuries.
  • Safely transporting patients to the ER.
  • Documenting patient cases for the doctors. 

An EMTs day varies but often involves working in an ambulance with one or two partners. Scenarios can range from patient heart attacks to bodily injuries. Each case needs immediate attention and support personnel. Information and instructions are often sent to an EMT via radio from a dispatcher. The dispatcher will provide vital information to the responding team such as the location of the emergency, the type of injury or illness requiring care, and any other information pertinent to the emergency such as age or sex, and the priority of the call.

 EMTs spend most of their day in an ambulance equipped with lifesaving devices and medications, such as defibrillators, wound dressings, and life-saving drugs. EMTs lift and move patients and equipment, so physical capabilities are a must for the EMT job description.

What does a day in the life of an EMT look like?

What are EMT hours? There are no standard hours. EMT hours can vary, either day or night shifts ranging from 8 to 12 hours. Most EMTs must be available to accomplish all  EMT duties because emergencies can happen any time. EMTs must be ready for anything and everything. 

Initially, an EMTs day starts by being on standby. EMTs are always near their truck to respond to a call quickly if needed. When the dispatcher receives a call, EMTs are on the road. The potential severity of injuries determines whether sirens get turned on or not.

Once EMTs reach a scene, they approach the patient and begin an assessment. EMTs may then move a patient to a stretcher and transport them.

When EMTs arrive at the hospital, they provide staff with detailed information about the patient and how the injury occurred. After a case gets handled and a patient is no longer in the emergency vehicle, EMTs disinfect the truck, replace equipment, and write the final patient report. 

What are emergency medical technician responsibilities?

EMTs play a vital role in emergencies and provide on-the-scene medical care to sick or injured people during emergencies. Therefore, some EMT responsibilities could mean the difference between life and death. EMTs must think fast and perform fast to help their patients quickly. 

EMT duties during and after an emergency medical situation may include the following:

  • Evaluating a patient, assessing patient needs and treatment 
  • Providing initial treatment based on evaluation assessment
  • Offering first aid treatment and CPR as life support to patients
  • Determining if the patient must go to ER or trauma center 
  • Relaying crucial medical information about patients to medical staff after transport
  • Filling out reports about the treatment performed
  • Communicating with other emergency services, such as firefighters, or police officers, to respond to calls for help
  • Sterilizing and replacing any used medical equipment

EMTs provide primary care for patients at the scene of an accident or while transporting them by ambulance to the hospital. On the other hand, paramedics can provide more extensive pre-hospital care, such as IV insertion. EMTs can handle situations such as a patient suffering an allergic reaction or administering CPR to a patient in cardiac arrest. 

Challenges EMTs Might Face

EMTs can face challenges in the work field because the EMT duties require a lot of physical and mental work. Much of the EMT job description involves being mentally alert and having physical stamina. Several factors cause workplace stress for EMS providers, including traumatic emergencies, poor sleep, long shifts, and a lack of downtime after difficult calls.

The work hours can also vary, which can cause burnout. EMTs can face many challenges, physically, mentally, and emotionally but with the appropriate training, they can be well-equipped to take on those challenges and excel in the profession.

Soft skills that help EMT’s 

A large portion of an EMTs job description is interacting with colleagues and patients to discuss the patient’s condition and treatments. EMTs must have soft skills to excel at their job. Soft skills EMTs should have are:

  • Teamwork: In an EMT job, you must work alongside medical professionals and other emergency professionals to ensure patients receive proper care and treatment from beginning to end. The team all works together for the best outcome for the patient.
  • Flexibility in handling challenging situations: EMTs must remain calm and professional and be flexible in patient care. 
  • Compassion: EMTs must listen carefully to patients and bystanders to determine the extent of injuries and illness. EMTs must explain what is being done, give directions, and relay information to other medical providers once the patient is at the hospital.

Where do EMTs work?

EMTs are often employed by:

  • Private ambulance services
  • Governments
  • Hospitals
  • Fire Departments
  • Police Departments
  • Volunteer Service Organizations

In addition, the EMT’s employers will often be hired to be on standby at large community gatherings such as sporting events (high school, college and professional), graduation ceremonies, etc. Wherever an EMT might work, their position is valued and vital in the medical field.

Who do EMTs work with?

EMTs often work with police officers, firefighters, paramedics and more. EMTs are trained to work assisting patients with any life-threatening injury or illness. EMTs can support patients in emergencies, so they usually work with others to discuss patient conditions and what treatments they have already provided.

Select Dorsey for EMT Training!

Now that you have a glimpse of what an EMT’s job description is, and what their day can look like, it’s time to take the next step and begin pursuing and enrolling in an EMT training program. 

Our school is dedicated to providing you with both in-class instruction and hands-on training you may need for success. For students who successfully complete the Dorsey College Emergency Medical Technician training, they will be eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam for EMT-B. Begin your new journey at Dorsey College!


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