EMT vs Paramedic – Difference Between an EMT and a Paramedic

When a sudden mishap occurs like a natural disaster – an attack or an accident – you will see professionals on the helicopters, fire vans, ambulances and also in the hospitals, rescuing victims on the spot. These professionals who work in the field of Emergency Medical Services are known as EMTs or paramedics.

In EMS, there are various grades such as EMT Basic, EMT Intermediate and EMT Paramedic. EMT professionals are Emergency Medical Technicians with basic training and the Paramedics are the highest rank holders in the field of EMS with intensive training. Both EMT and paramedics go through the certification exams conducted by the state authorities to work in the field.

If you are thinking about setting up your career in the field of EMS but not sure whether to choose EMT or Paramedic, then the following differences will help you decide:

Training

When it comes to training, the EMTs go through a training that extends just for 150 hours and takes a few months to complete. The course comprises of lectures, hands-on skill training and field internships. They are trained to administer basic medication to the victims – on the way to the hospital.

Unlike EMTs, the Paramedics go through rigorous training which may extend between 1200 to 1800 hours, and may take 2 years to complete. The paramedics learn medical practices through lectures, hands-on skills training, and internships. They get to know about practices which involve handling certain medications and medical procedures.

Responsibilities

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An EMT shoulders basic responsibilities like providing life support and patient care, until they reach hospital from the place of accident, and at times, they drive the ambulance. They are responsible for beginning the medication of victims till they reach hospital.

Paramedics can provide both basic and advanced life support to the victims. They are well-versed with medical procedures and are authorized to perform them on the patients, in order to save their life before reaching the hospital.

Medical Procedures

Basically, EMTs are placed in the basic life support unit while the paramedics at the advanced life support unit of an emergency care unit.

The EMTs are allowed to administer oxygen, glucose, dextrose, ASA, nitrogen, ipratropium, glucagon, and salbutamol. They can also administer IT, IM and can manage subcutaneous routes during the treatment of the patients.

A paramedic can follow as much as 40 medical procedures on the patients. They can take support and assistance from the EMT present in the crew to treat the patients. While administering medications they can start intravenous line, provide airway management for patients and more.

Salary

Paramedics get more salary than Emergency Medical Technicians as they shoulder multiple responsibilities. The median yearly salary of an EMT is reported to be around $32,073 with an average hourly wages of $15 (as of January 2015, according to salary.com). On the other hand, during the same time period, Paramedics earned median annual salary of $39,853 and hourly wages of $19.

Though both the careers differ a lot in terms of roles, responsibilities and salaries, they have very good career prospects. The number of EMT and paramedic job openings is increasing tremendously all over the USA. The application and qualification requirements for both the courses are almost same. Ensure that you get the certification from a reputed school authorized by the state.

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