About the Emergency Medical Technology/Technician (EMT Paramedic) Major
Do think quickly on your feet? Do you like being part of a team? Can you stay calm in all situations? Do you like helping people? If the answer is yes to all the previous questions, a career as an emergency medical technician (EMT paramedic) might be a good fit for you.
An EMT is an emergency responder who is trained to deliver life-saving techniques to patients at the scene. The EMT is usually the first to arrive after a 911 call is received. An EMT diagnoses a patient and stabilizes them before transport to the hospital for further medical care. Typical duties of an emergency medical technician (EMT paramedic) include responding to 911 calls, creating patient reports, diagnosing a patient's condition, treating the patient, administering drugs orally or intravenously, transporting the patient to the hospital, performing endotracheal intubations, replenishing supplies, reading electrocardiograms (EKGs), and cleaning medical equipment. Work environments for an EMT include fire departments, hospitals, private ambulance services, or rescue teams. EMTs work indoors and outdoors and are sometimes exposed to dangerous situations and diseases.
High school students who are interested in pursuing an EMT major should take courses in anatomy and physiology as well as physical education, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and psychology. EMT majors take courses in subjects such as anatomy and physiology, patient assessment, drug dosage and calculation, abuse, intravenous therapy techniques, and cardiac management. EMT programs are generally one or two years; two-year courses are more in-depth and generally result in an associate's degree.
To succeed as an EMT, you will need to be physically fit, good with people, and compassionate. You will also need to be mentally strong and remain calm and rational when under stress. Work hours for EMTs vary greatly. It is not out of the ordinary for an EMT to work more than an eight-hour shift, or to work on the weekends or holidays. Each state requires an EMT to be licensed.