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How do I get Emergency Medical Technician Training?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2018
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A prospective emergency medical technician (EMT) receives emergency medical technician training from an accredited emergency medical technician program. First, the future medical technician must earn a high school diploma. Next, the student enrolls in an emergency medical technician training program through a local community college or vocational school.

Most emergency medical technician training programs last between six months and two years. Upon completion of the program, the graduate earns a diploma or associate's degree. Students can receive training at three levels: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic. An EMT-Paramedic is the most advanced program, where students achieve a higher level of medical skills.

When enrolled in an emergency medical technician training program, students learn how to assess patients, deal with trauma and cardiac emergencies, and treat respiratory problems. The future EMT will also learn how to treat fractures, bleeding, emergency child birth and other medical situations they will encounter on a daily basis. He or she will learn how to quickly react to emergencies, treating patients in an effective manner as they are transported to the hospital.

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An emergency medical technician must be prepared to work outdoors in varying types of weather. The job is a demanding one, requiring the EMT to bend, lift and stoop as he or she cares for the medical needs of patients. Emergency medical technicians are also susceptible to contracting serious diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis B, since they work with patients who may suffer from these particular illnesses.

Since they respond to emergency situations, emergency medical technicians may find themselves working in dangerous environments. They may run the risk of suffering from hearing loss because of the constant noise of ambulance sirens. Some might experience back injuries as a result of continuously lifting patients in their care. For this reason, a prospective EMT must possess good physical health, handle stress well and have the ability to carry heavy patients. Anyone who follows this career path should possess a genuine desire to help others, since emergency medical technicians provide medical care to people from all walks of life.

An emergency medical technician can work for a hospital, a private ambulance service, the police department or a fire department. EMTs are usually required to work between 45 and 60 hours a week, and sometimes have to be on call. Since they are needed for medical emergencies, they work nontraditional hours, including nights, weekends and holidays.

Those who wish to advance in the field can become supervisors, administrative directors, operations managers or executive directors of emergency services. Some emergency medical technicians choose to work as instructors, physician assistants or dispatchers. Other EMTs decide to further their education and become nurses, physicians or other types of medical personnel.

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