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What Are the Job Duties of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)?

EMT responsibilities include caring for sick or injured people during a medical emergency and then getting them to a medical facility for further care. Learn more about EMT duties and other career information.

What Is an EMT?

An EMT, or emergency medical technician, is trained to provide medical care for sick or injured people in emergency situations. EMTs usually work full-time and may work nights and weekends on 12- or 24-hour shifts. They also work indoors and outdoors responding to a wide range of emergencies. Here we explore the job description of an EMT in detail, including what they do and how much they make.

What Does an EMT Do?

EMTs play a vital role in providing on-the-scene medical care to sick or injured people during emergencies. Therefore, some EMT responsibilities could mean the difference between life and death and these professionals must often perform their duties quickly to help their patients. They typically respond to emergency calls in an ambulance and then transport their patients to a hospital or other medical facility. EMT duties during and after an emergency medical situation may include:

  • Evaluating a patient
  • Quickly determining a treatment plan
  • Offering life support or first-aid to patients
  • Relaying important medical information about patients to medical staff after transport
  • Filling out reports about the treatment performed
  • Cleaning and replacing any used medical equipment

How Much Do EMTs Make?

In May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that EMTs and paramedics made an average annual salary of $37,760. Many of these professionals worked for ambulatory health care services and made an average of $34,750 the same year. Those who worked for the state government, excluding schools and hospitals, made the highest average of $61,580.

Another website, PayScale.com, reported on the differences in salaries between the levels of EMTs. The website stated that EMT-Basic made an average annual salary of $32,013 in September 2019, while an EMT-Advanced made an average of $37,771.

What Is the Job Outlook for EMTs?

The BLS also reported that the job outlook for EMTs and paramedics is 7% from 2018 to 2028. This outlook is faster than the national average and may be due in part to a growing and aging population. There will also always be a need for emergency medical responders as accidents continue to occur.

How Do You Become an EMT?

EMTs are usually required to be at least 18 years of age, but there are junior EMT programs available for teens interested in the field. Aspiring EMTs must have a high school diploma and be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in order to begin a postsecondary program in emergency medical technology.

During these postsecondary programs, aspiring EMTs undergo extensive training for 1 to 2 years learning emergency medicine and techniques. These programs typically include hands-on learning opportunities, but there are some online learning options for EMTs.

All EMT training programs help prepare students to take the national certification exam from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) to become an EMT. All states require this license and other requirements for certification usually include submitting to a background check. EMTs may need to undergo additional training to drive an ambulance.