What Are the Different Levels of EMTs?

EMTs (also known as emergency medical technicians or, at advanced levels, paramedics) are the first responders on the scene of emergencies and accidents; however, not all EMTs have the same qualifications. There are three different levels of EMTs, each with specific training requirements and job responsibilities. This article explains the training and abilities possessed by EMTs at each level. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Training Levels for EMTs

The three levels of EMTs are EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic; those with paramedic training are often referred to as just paramedics, although they possess all skills and abilities held by EMTs-Basic and Intermediate. The scope of an EMT's responsibilities is determined by his or her training level, but all EMS (emergency medical services) workers cooperate to stabilize patients. Emergency medical technicians are qualified to provide initial treatment for burns, spinal injuries, and broken bones, among many other medical skills, including the training required to safely deliver newborn babies for pregnant women on location or in transport.

Important Facts About EMTs

Median Salary (2014) $31,700 per year (for emergency medical technicians and paramedics)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 24% growth
Required Education High school diploma and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification
Key Skills Active listener, critical thinking, calm demeanor, service minded, detail oriented, social awareness, excellent oration, proficient writing ability

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

EMT-Basic (EMT-B)

Also known as EMT-Bs, EMT-Basics are entry-level EMTs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, EMT-Bs have less training than other EMTs (about 110 hours), and they have fewer job responsibilities. An EMT-B can carry out basic life support functions, but he or she is limited to performing non-invasive procedures. An EMT-Basic can help patients take medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor, but he or she is not qualified to administer any new medications. EMTs-B commonly perform important functions like these:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Automated external defibrillation (AED)
  • Bone splinting
  • Suctioning fluids to assist more advanced EMTs

EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I)

EMT-Intermediates have 200-400 hours of training and have an expanded range of duties. The responsibilities of EMTs at different levels vary from state to state, and this is especially this case with EMTs-I. For instance, in some states EMTs-Intermediate cannot administer non-prescribed medicines, but in other states they may administer up to 20 different medications. Compared to EMTs-B, EMTs-I have enhanced assessment skills and are trained to conduct the following medical procedures:

  • IV treatment
  • Endotracheal intubations

EMT-Paramedics (EMT-P)

Commonly referred to as 'paramedics,' EMT-Paramedics have at least two years of training and possess more skills and responsibilities than other EMTs. Paramedics can perform all of the tasks assigned to lower-level EMTs, and they also have the following job duties:

  • Administering drugs intravenously and by mouth
  • Reading lab results, EKGs, and X-rays
  • Cleaning wounds
  • Conducting manual defibrillation

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