Going from a EMT to Paramedic career

emt to paramedic

Are you ready to take the next step in your career and transition from EMT to paramedic? Both careers are exciting, fast-paced, and crucial jobs in the world of healthcare, but there are some key differences to be aware of regarding responsibilities, pay, and more. EMTs and paramedics spend most of their days on the go and are usually the first on scene in an accident or emergency. Because of this, people in both careers need strong problem solving, communication, and interpersonal skills. EMTs and paramedics need physical strength and endurance, too.

Although the positions are similar, you’ll have to take extra steps to become a paramedic. This is because the work of a paramedic involves more advanced medical skills. You’ll need additional training to go from an EMT to a paramedic. If you’re wondering how to make that shift, this guide will give you the answers you need.

What is an EMT compared to a Paramedic?

To start, what is the difference between a paramedic and an EMT? This is an important distinction to know if you’re interested in these career paths. Once you know the differences, you can figure out which option is the best for your career goals. You can also learn how to become a paramedic after EMT.

Let’s start with what an EMT does. An emergency medical technician or EMT provides basic emergency care to patients. This includes CPR, monitoring vital signs, and using automated external defibrillators (AEDs). EMTs work alongside paramedics, nurses, and doctors every day.

Meanwhile, a paramedic performs more advanced medical care. Some examples include advanced airway management techniques (like intubation), inserting and monitoring IV lines, and performing more advanced cardiac life support. Paramedics may work in ambulances or at public events. They are often first on scene when something is wrong, or someone needs help. They may triage patients or provide other on-site management as well.

The differences in an EMT vs a paramedic’s job duties are best seen when you imagine the day-to-day routines of both jobs. Typically, a day in the life of an EMT may include:

  • Attending shift start and end meetings to share important information with coworkers
  • Responding to emergency calls across the area
  • Checking a patient’s vital signs like body temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and pulse
  • Controlling bleeding
  • Giving CPR
  • Securing patients for transport
  • Giving patient information to paramedics, nurses, and other hospital staff
  • Writing patient care reports and other documentation

Meanwhile, a paramedic may perform all the above duties, plus:

  • Intubating patients
  • Inserting IVs and administering medication
  • Performing advanced resuscitation measures
  • Responding to mass casualty events or other major emergencies
  • Triaging patients
  • As you can imagine, the work of a paramedic can be more stressful and intense. They must have strong communication skills and be able to handle stressful situations.

How to go from EMT to Paramedic

It’s not required, but a lot of people decide to become a paramedic after first becoming an EMT. If you’re not sure if the work of a paramedic is right for you, an EMT training program might be a good first step. With the required, additional training (which will be outlined by your state), you can gain practical and hands-on experience needed to “test the waters” of working in the fast-paced setting of EMTs and paramedics. You’ll get a look at how challenging yet rewarding it can be to help in emergency situations. You will also be able to learn how to keep a cool head under pressure. It’s a great way to learn basic but important healthcare you can use in a variety of situations.

If you end up liking the work and want to feel more challenged, it may be time to take the step from EMT to paramedic. As a paramedic, you’ll have more responsibility and face more challenges on the job. Because of this, paramedics often manage EMTs or other healthcare workers. They also get paid more than EMTs due to their increased responsibilities. If financial security is a big factor for you, this career path might be worth pursuing.

If you’ve compared the differences between an EMT vs a paramedic and you’ve decided you want to move forward, congratulations! Here is what you should do next to go from EMT Basic to Paramedic:

  1. Research state approved and/or accredited paramedic training programs
  2. Make a list of your state’s requirements for working as a paramedic
  3. Enroll in the program of your choosing
  4. Complete coursework, clinical rotations, internships, and any other program requirements
  5. Pass the NREMT paramedic certification exam
  6. Complete any other state requirements
  7. Apply for jobs!

Most paramedic training programs take 1-2 years to complete. That’s important to consider as you look at the timing of starting your paramedic career. It’s also important to make sure the program includes hands-on training.

Is this the right step for you?

Ready to figure out if going from an EMT basic to paramedic career is right for you? Consider how well you handle pressure and how much you enjoy facing challenges at work. If you decide you’re up for the challenge, start researching programs in your area!

For people interested in becoming a paramedic in Michigan, Dorsey College offers a robust Paramedic Training program. Learn how to treat trauma, clear an airway, insert an IV, and more through classroom and hands-on training. If you’re ready to start saving lives, click the button below to learn more!

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Dorsey College has determined that its Paramedic program curriculum is sufficient to fulfill educational requirements for licensure in the State of Michigan only. No educational determinations have been made for any other state, district or US territory in regards to licensure requirements.