Throughout his EMT career, Stephen Varanko III has found that people struggle to understand what the difference is between EMTs and paramedics. In fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably, although they shouldn’t be. EMT stands for Emergency Medical Technician and their basic role is actually quite different from the paramedic. The latter did start as an EMT, but they will have developed more specialized skills. That being said, and this is possibly where the confusion comes from, some paramedics are referred to as “EMT Paramedics”.

Stephen Varanko III on the EMT Paramedic Career

An EMT paramedic starts their career as an EMT first, by obtaining EMT-Basic Certification. From there, they continue their studies, eventually working their way up to EMT-Paramedic Certification, which is a lot more complex. They must complete a great deal of training hours and they will develop skills that allow them to perform a range of other duties as well.

A basic EMt will take part in between 120 and 150 training hours. An EMT paramedic, meanwhile, has to complete between 1,200 and 1,800 training hours, which is far more. An EMT paramedic usually completes a two year training degree, although there are some courses available that are more intensive and therefore finish quicker, encouraging people to start working as a paramedic as soon as possible

An EMT paramedic also has a much broader range of duties compared to an EMT basic. A paramedic has been trained to break the skin, something that an EMT basic is never allowed to do. What this means is that a paramedic is allowed to inject patients and that they can also use a range of more technologically advanced medical devices, including breathing support and heart support. Additionally, in the majority of states, paramedics have been trained on some 40 different emergency medications. A basic EMT, by contrast, can administer only oxygen, glucose, epinephrine auto-injectors, and asthma inhalers.

If someone is considering getting into this type of career, they will usually begin by becoming an EMT basic. This will enable them to see whether it is a career that they enjoy while also starting to work on their skills. From there, they can continue on to the intermediate level, if it is available in their state, following on with the paramedic certification.

Being a paramedic is a jon that doesn’t have a lot of prestige but that is incredibly stressful and challenging. It takes a special person to be able to cope with the work of a paramedic, something that they are rarely thanked for. And while it feels fantastic to save someone’s life, you also have to be able to cope with not being able to save them all. If this sounds like the job for you, then Stephen Varanko III recommends you contact your nearest technical college to find out what certification programs they offer and what is required of you in order to join those programs.