Emergency Room Technician: Job Duties, Career Outlook and Educational Requirements

Research what it takes to become an emergency room technician. Learn about job duties, job outlook and education to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Emergency Room Technician?

Emergency room (ER) technicians assist ER nurses with clerical and basic clinical tasks for incoming patients. These professionals generally are charged with making sure patients are kept clean, fed, and well-taken care of. They follow the directives of nurses and doctors in the ER and may perform tasks like taking blood pressure and other vital signs. Because they work in the emergency room, an ability to react quickly to emergency situations is likely necessary. For an overview of educational requirements, key skills, job growth and median salary, read the chart below.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent; most employers require a postsecondary certificate
Key Skills Communication skills, patience, compassion and problem-solving skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for nursing assistants)*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $ 31,273**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Job Duties Will I Have as an Emergency Room Technician?

As an emergency room technician, your main function is to support registered nurses in a hospital emergency department in order to provide the highest quality patient care. Your duties are divided between clinical and clerical roles as needed. Your clinical responsibilities may include taking vital signs, temperature and blood pressure; obtaining necessary lab specimens; treating wounds and placing casts. Your supervisor may ask for additional assistance with patient procedures within the boundaries of your scope of practice. As an emergency room technician, you also have administrative obligations that include assisting with patient transfers and discharge, maintaining a clean and safe environment, documenting patient information and replenishing supplies.

What is the Career Outlook?

Since emergency room technicians are typically trained as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or certified nursing assistants (CNAs), you can expect similar career outlooks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for EMTs and paramedics is expected to grow faster than average, with a potential increase of 24% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). During the same time period, employment of nursing assistants is expected to grow 17%, which is faster than average. If you further your education and earn advanced certifications, you may be able to increase your employment opportunities. The compensation for emergency room technicians varies by location, industry and experience, but reports on PayScale.com show that most earned between $20,259 and $48,482 annually as of October 2016.

What Education Do I Need?

In order to become an emergency room technician, you need at least a high school diploma or GED. However, most employers require completion of a CNA or EMT program and at least six months to 1 year of relevant experience. Additionally, you must maintain current CPR certification, and, depending on your training, either EMT licensure or CNA certification. Several community colleges and technical schools offer EMT, CNA or emergency room technician programs that typically combine classroom learning and clinical training. Common course topics include medical terminology, reading EKGs, inserting IVs and phlebotomy.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Individuals may also be invested in other medical assistant careers outside of the emergency room, like in other sections of the hospital where they could be a general medical or nursing assistant. For those with a strong interest in responding to emergency situations, they may want to become paramedics or EMTs. Individuals also could pursue additional licensure and degrees to become home health aides or personal care aides.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Eastern Kentucky University

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