How to Become an EMT

EMT Key Stats
Education 0-1 Year
Job Outlook 7%

An EMT, known as an emergency medical technician, provides medical assistance to people in emergency situations.

They also transport people to hospitals where they can receive further treatment.

An EMT is often the first person to arrive on the scene of an emergency or accident.

To succeed in this role, you will need to be able to keep calm in a crisis.

You will be good at thinking on your feet, as well as problem solving.

You’ll also need excellent interpersonal skills, and be a good communicator, as you will be dealing with people in the midst of a crisis.

Academic skills will help, especially in areas of health, medicine, and sciences.

Advanced EMT’s are sometimes referred to as paramedics.

Education Requirements to Become an EMT

To become an EMT, you will first need to complete your high school diploma or GED, and you will then need to undergo 1-2 years of schooling at community college to qualify as an EMT.

There are three different levels of qualification an EMT can have.

Depending on the role you are looking for, you would complete your training in line with this.

EMTs with an associate’s degree have better job prospects.

All states require EMTs to be licensed, however the process will vary from place to place.

In some locations, you may be required to take a state set exam to become an EMT, or the NREMT exam.

Since becoming an EMT can take up to 2 years of study, you’ll need to be apt at academic work, especially at all things medical.

You will need to be a very calm and emotionally stable person, have good manual dexterity, and also have good hearing and vision.

EMT Job Description

If you like your work day to be action packed and full of surprises, then you should become an EMT.

EMTs can work long hours at any time of day or night, so be prepared for shift work.

You will also be exposed to some sights that could be upsetting, so you’ll need to have a strong stomach.

Tasks that a EMT could find part of their role include:

  • Driving an emergency vehicle
  • Communicating with 911 operators and other EMTs
  • Communicating with patients
  • Assessing a patient’s condition
  • Administering first aid or CPR
  • Administering medication
  • Providing medical care
  • Transporting a patient to a hospital

The different levels of qualification as an EMT are as follows:

EMT Basic – At this level of training, an EMT is prepared to be the first response in accidents.

You are trained in first aid, patient assessment, and other important knowledge.

EMT Intermediate – An intermediate EMT has a much broader skills base, a longer period of schooling is required.

Intermediate EMTs are trained in administering some medicines, intravenous fluids, and other more complex procedures.

Paramedic – Paramedics have the most advanced training of all EMTs.

The study to become a paramedic takes two years to complete.

Paramedics respond to more complex situations where a specialist degree of care is required.

EMT Salary and Career Path

Most EMTs are employed by ambulance services, hospitals, or fire departments.

Some may work as non-emergency transporters for unstable patients who need to travel between hospitals and home.

The majority of EMTs will begin their career with a larger employer.

A lot of work is found within cities, with limited prospects available in rural areas.

Employment prospects are good, especially for those with a two year qualification.

Growth in this industry is expected to be average.

There is opportunity to move onto other jobs in the medical field with further training, or to take on a managerial or administrative role.

The turnover in this field is quite high, as many find the work stressful and the hours difficult.

The average wage of an EMT is around $30,000 a year.

With a more advanced role and a few years experience, this may increase to around $40,000.

If you are looking for a fast-paced role, and are interested in health, then you might enjoy becoming an emergency medical technician.

Work can be stressful, and for the training that is required the salary can be low.

If you are dreading getting an office job, or are wanting to work within medicine and health, becoming an EMT may be for you.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, OCC Code 29-2040, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an EMT?

An EMT (Emergency Medicine Technician) is a professional trained to respond to critically ill and injured patients and to provide emergency medical care.

They usually respond to emergency calls to provide medical assistance, assess the patient’s condition and, if necessary, transport patients to the emergency department of a hospital.

They also report their observations to physicians and other healthcare professionals and document the medical care that they have given to patients.

EMTs are also responsible for replacing and cleaning supplies after use.

Emergency Medical Technicians need compassion, physical strength, as well as interpersonal and communication skills.

Most EMTs work full time and they may work overnight or weekends shifts to respond to emergencies and some work 12 or 24-hour shifts.

How much does an EMT make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for EMTs and paramedics was $34,320 as of May 2018.

Salaries vary based on a wide range of factors; some EMTs make less than $25,000 while others make more than $60,000 a year.

How much does it cost to become an EMT?

Emergency medical technicians typically need postsecondary education and all states require EMTs to be licensed.

To enroll at a post-secondary program you will need a high school diploma and CPR certification.

CPR certification programs cost around $30-$60.

Emergency medical technology programs are usually a few months long and cost around $800-$1000.

What is the demand for EMTs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for EMTs is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028.

EMTs will continue to be needed to respond to car crashes, medical emergencies, and natural disasters.

This demand growth is also explained by the fact that as the population ages the number of strokes and heart attack emergencies is also expected to increase and more EMTs will be needed to respond to these emergencies.

Additional job opportunities will appear because many workers leave this occupation due to stress or because they want to specialize in other healthcare fields.

How long does it take to become an EMT?

Emergency medical technicians typically need postsecondary education and all states require EMTs to be licensed.

To enroll at a post-secondary program you will need a high school diploma and CPR certification.

Emergency medical technology programs are between 150-400 hours long and can usually be completed in less than 1 year; the exact program length varies depending on the school and the program itself.

In order to be able to practice as an EMT, you will also need a state license.

Seeking certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) will make you eligible for licensure in most states.

NREMT certification requirements include graduating from an accredited school and passing a national exam.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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