What Are the Education Requirements to Work in Emergency Medicine?

Emergency medicine is a team effort and requires the expertise of the EMTs and paramedics who work in the field as well as the hospital-based nurses and doctors. Read on for information pertaining to the educational requirements for those who work in emergency medicine. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of the Education Requirements to Work in Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine is a field with an ever-increasing demand for EMTs, paramedics, registered nurses and physicians. Listed below are the educational requirements for these differing positions and some of the coursework entailed in the process.

Important Facts About This Area of Study

Programs Non-degree, coursework-only program
Degree Levels Undergraduate and graduate
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent; coursework and experience; background check, drug test; proper licensure
Possible Careers Addiction nurses, rehab nurses, genetics nurses, nephrology nurses, critical care and cardiovascular nurses
Median Salary (2019) $66,503* (for all critical care nurses
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth** (for all registered nurses)  

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

EMT and Paramedic Training

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are the first line of defense in emergency situations such as auto accidents, heart attacks, in-home accidents and other incidents. EMTs are responsible for implementing basic life-saving procedures, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid. Paramedics are more highly-trained than EMTs and are able to administer medication orally and intravenously and to operate more complex healthcare equipment.

The EMT-Basic certificate program includes training in patient evaluation, airway management and trauma treatment methods. It usually includes a certain number of hours of clinical training in an EMT vehicle and in an emergency facility. The EMT-Intermediate program takes a year to complete when studying full time and, beyond the basic level, includes limited applications in pharmacology and at least 30 hours of clinical on-site learning.

Paramedic-training programs are often available in the form of associate's-degree programs. Courses may emphasize anatomy, electrocardiography, physiology and advanced principles of paramedic care. These programs may also include advanced practica in clinical settings and in the field.

After earning a certificate, diploma or associate's degree, you can apply for EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate or paramedic certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).

Registered Nurse Education

Registered nurses (RNs) are the largest group now working in the healthcare field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also indicated that a large percentage of all RNs, including emergency room nurses, work in hospitals (www.bls.gov).

If you want to be a nurse who specializes in emergency care, you can first become a registered nurse by completing a diploma- or associate's-degree program. You could also go on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which might allow to you advance to a master's-degree program. Registered nurse training programs may include courses in medical terminology, nursing through the lifespan, pharmacology and health assessment. Then, you could acquire clinical experience in various medical areas, including emergency care.

Before practicing as an RN, you must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). The BLS recommends that you check with your state's board of nursing to see if there are any other qualifications required to practice. After becoming licensed, you might pursue a position in a hospital's emergency room.

Emergency Medicine Physician Education

To practice in this profession, medical doctors (MDs) must complete four years of medical school, undergo 3-8 years of residency training and obtain licensure. As a training MD who wants to specialize in emergency medicine, you may focus your residency training on emergency medicine to prepare for the specialty.

These residencies are paid positions that include clinical rotations in emergency medicine that train you to deal with crisis situations such as traumas, disasters and other emergency service operations. You could learn how to manage and prioritize multiple cases, evaluate critical patients and work as part of a clinical team. During the course of your training, you could be required to attend a number of seminars and to work on an independent research project. Completion of the residency could provide you with the credentials necessary to work in an emergency room or to apply for a clinical fellowship in a sub-specialty.

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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