What does an Emergency Medical Technician do?

Emergency Medical Technicians who have received additional education to become a paramedic (EMT-P) are able to take more in-depth measures before the patient reaches the hospital. For example, EMT-Ps can insert and start an IV, can perform nasotracheal intubation, and can administer some physician-approved medications. This is in addition to the same measures EMT-Bs can take to manage critical situations such as 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. In addition to the requirements of EMT-Bs, paramedics must pass a more extensive set of certification exams administered by a variety of federal and state organizations. These certifications are proof of a paramedic's competency in performing tasks such as pediatric advanced life support, pre-hospital trauma life support, and advanced cardiac life support.


According to salary.com, the median salary for paramedics is between $34,681 and $44,462 per year.

Professional Organization

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians