What does an Emergency Medical Technician do?

Emergency Medical Technicians with the designation "Basic" (EMT-B) handle critical situations, responding to emergencies and stabilizing injured patients on the way to the hospital. They are certified to take various steps to stabilize patients during pre-hospital care, which occurs in a ground ambulance or ambulatory helicopter. This includes splinting fractured limbs, immobilizing and moving a patient with spinal injuries, creating a tourniquet, and staunching heavy blood flow.

Types of Work Environments

  • Ambulances and ambulatory helicopters
  • Sporting events
  • In tandem with policemen and firefighters to manage critical environments

Education and Training Requirements

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established a minimum requirement for EMT programs, which includes at least 110 hours of classroom and lab-based course work in anatomy, physiology, and the treatment of medical trauma. While training, EMTs complete clinical rotations in emergency departments or the equivalent by riding along in an ambulance. The National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians administers a certification test that all EMTs must pass in order to practice.


According to salary.com, the median salary of basic EMTs is between $27,301 and $35,966 per year.

Professional Organization

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians