When you see emergency personnel, it may appear that they are only scooping up the injured or sick and driving them to the hospital as fast as possible.
However, their tasks are much more technical and require mental and physical strength, knowledge, care, and skill.
EMTs are the most popular EMS providers with various certifications that can be pursued.
Many become paramedics or earn an advanced EMT certificate following basic training.
In addition, many healthcare professionals across multiple roles use their EMT skills as a stepping stone for their profession.
If you’re interested in becoming an EMT, it’s essential to first learn about the pros and cons, so keep reading to learn more!
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being an EMT
- Cons of Being an EMT
- Pros and Cons of Being an EMT – Summary Table
- Should You Become an EMT?
Pros of Being an EMT
There are countless advantages to becoming an EMT, including the following:
1. Excellent Job Stability
EMTs can expect to experience an impressive 24% job growth rate, which is considerably higher than the national average.
This means you will enjoy a steady career and the chance to switch positions, locations, or companies.
You can move into various healthcare positions with EMT training and experience, including a more advanced EMT.
Many physician assistants spend time working in the field to prepare them for the uncertainties within an emergency room environment.
2. First to Respond to an Emergency
EMTs are dispatched by trained professionals who maintain constant radio communication or transfer them to healthcare experts when immediate guidance is required.
Since EMTs are the first to respond to an emergency, they perform examinations of the victims to understand the extent of their illnesses or injuries to know how to help or treat them.
EMTs can provide emergency life support or first aid depending on the situation.
Often, these first responders must use specialized equipment to transport the victim to a healthcare facility.
3. Gain Critical Thinking Skills
Emergency responders save individuals’ lives by being competent in care and responding quickly.
That means thinking on your feet and filling various roles quickly, knowing that every situation is different and every moment counts.
For example, residents of your community may need medical attention following severe incidents, including gunshots, pregnancies, falls, strokes, heart attacks, and car accidents.
Those who are well-trained in transporting critical patients and care can make the right decisions to save lives.
4. Get to Help Save Lives
The most obvious reason to become an EMT is to help save lives through on-the-spot treatment.
Then, EMTs transport victims to the nearest hospital or healthcare facility where a team of professionals furthers the treatment, which could include surgery, medicinal administration, setting broken bones, or a variety of other care.
Before patients are admitted to the emergency room, they help medical staff complete pre-admittance treatment and gather a medical history.
5. Many Career Advancement Opportunities
Many career advancement opportunities exist as an EMT.
After training, those new in the role will start at the entry-level and can work their way up through experience and additional training, which authorizes the new first responder to perform further tests and treatments.
Finally, many reach a level where they can conduct critical care techniques in specific situations.
Improving your skills throughout your career leads to better job performance, saving more lives, and a higher salary.
6. Variety in Your Work
While the job may seem chaotic with so many factors to consider, requirements for quick decisions, and uncertain hours, one certainly is you will never be bored as an EMT.
Every day is different, so falling into a rut is almost impossible.
Each day brings a variety of new patients, their families, and other situations.
You can never predict what will happen next, which makes your career more stimulating than sitting in front of a computer screen for hours.
7. Work in a Team
Teamwork is typical within the EMT community since one first responder drives while the other cares for the patient and provides further assistance.
Both ambulance members must maintain vehicles, medical supplies, and other equipment to the highest standards.
EMTs are assigned to the same coworker for lengthy periods or even over an entire career.
Patients who are significantly injured or sick and must go to an emergency room can be transported via helicopter with several EMTs on board who function as crew members for the duration of the flight.
Similar to an ambulance, this crew treats and transports the patient to the nearest medical facility.
Cons of Being an EMT
While this may seem like your dream job, it’s essential to understand the downsides of working as an EMT before signing up.
1. Can be Incredibly Stressful
There’s no point in sugarcoating it; being an EMT can be incredibly stressful because you regularly deal with life-or-death situations requiring quick and accurate decisions.
In addition, since you will be working in physically and mentally demanding conditions with little sleep, being an EMT can take a toll on your overall health over time.
For this reason, having a healthy support network at home and excellent self-care practices is crucial.
2. Could Get Injured
As an EMT, you may end up in risky conditions while performing your standard duties.
For example, responding to calls in dangerous neighborhoods or during other challenging situations like fires or floods can put you in harm’s way.
While EMT training websites and guides can give you insight into the actual daily life of an EMT, they cannot account for every situation, so there will be surprises that could result in injury.
A career as an EMT can be incredibly physically and mentally challenging, with potential danger lurking at every corner.
3. Decreased Sleep Quality
EMTs are constantly at risk of becoming burned out or drained, which is a huge issue.
As someone with their boots on the ground, be prepared to work 12- or even 24-hour shifts with a great deal of time spent driving around and responding to calls.
Although you will be exhausted, it can be challenging to get a whole night’s rest consecutively for a lengthy period because the days and nights start to blur.
Many avoid this career choice due to the high stress and long hours, but you will be successful if you can manage these obstacles.
4. Emotionally Taxing
EMTs see individuals at the worse moments in their lives, which can have a massive emotional toll.
Many enter this field and cannot manage the emotional aspect of going to work every day and dealing with various situations.
Therefore, EMTs must take care of their mental health outside of work.
One small silver lining is it gets easier over time.
Some rely on the idea that their job is greatly helping people, while others adjust to the emotional aspects of the position.
5. Extensive Administrative Tasks
In addition to saving lives, most EMTs do proper record-keeping and other administrative tasks.
Most EMT roles fall under government-operated entities, which require extensive documentation on the patient’s ailment, how they were treated, and different check-in procedures at the hospital.
These details take a considerable amount of time to put together, which can be mentally exhausting and the most boring part of the day.
Since it is part of every EMTs’ job, consider a different profession if you don’t like having to complete administrative tasks.
6. Extreme Physical Activity
In addition to the extreme emotional aspects of the role, EMTs also perform an elevated level of physical work compared to other careers.
For example, lifting people up and down multiple stairs is a requirement of the position, while meticulous and fast movement could be a matter of life and death.
Additionally, EMTs are sometimes required to remain in the same stance for lengthy periods.
Being an EMT requires tremendous physical exertion, and the older you become, the more taxing it can be on your muscles and joints.
7. Respond to Non-Urgent Calls
Not every call is about saving lives or helping others.
In numerous instances, EMTs must also respond to non-emergencies, which can prevent them from responding to true emergencies or taking a much-needed break from a busy day.
Surprisingly, it’s common for individuals to call EMTs over minor issues like toothaches or stubbed toes.
EMTs must respond and maintain an elevated customer service level by remaining calm and not appearing annoyed or rushed, regardless of the situation.
Pros and Cons of Being an EMT – Summary Table
|Pros of Being an EMT||Cons of Being an EMT|
|1. Excellent Job Stability||1. Can be Incredibly Stressful|
|2. First to Respond to an Emergency||2. Could Get Injured|
|3. Gain Critical Thinking Skills||3. Decreased Sleep Quality|
|4. Get to Help Save Lives||4. Emotionally Taxing|
|5. Many Career Advancement Opportunities||5. Extensive Administrative Tasks|
|6. Variety in Your Work||6. Extreme Physical Activity|
|7. Work in a Team||7. Respond to Non-Urgent Calls|
Should You Become an EMT?
Many pros and cons to becoming an EMT exist, so you must weigh each carefully and determine your future career goals.
However, if you enjoy thinking on your feet, helping others, and learning new tasks on workdays that are never boring, then you should become an EMT.
It’s an excellent choice that acts as a stepping stone to enter other medical professions that provide more training and knowledge, improved skills, excellent pay, and career stability.
When considering your future, the pros may outweigh the cons since becoming an EMT is a fantastic entry point into the medical field that provides unmatched training in a high-stress environment with a decent salary.
However, on the flip side, can you endure a superior level of physical and mental stress with long hours and decreased sleep quality?
If yes, then you should consider becoming an EMT.