EMT Training and Certification
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) provide care for patients who are sick or injured in emergency situations. Their quick actions and high level of care are crucial to saving the lives of patients all over the country. They respond to emergency calls and perform a number of medical interventions as well as transporting patients to a hospital or medical facility when required.
Career and Scope
An EMT must be able to correctly assess a situation upon arriving at the scene of an emergency. They must be able to quickly determine if a scene is safe, what injuries or illness the patient has, if there are multiple patients and if additional help is required. Once these things have been determined, the emergency medical technician can begin providing care. This may include actions such as:
opening a patient’s airway;
ventilating the patient when necessary;
administering CPR, using external defibrillators when necessary;
immobilizing the neck or spine
assist in childbirth if necessary
manage medical complaints such as behavioral or mental emergencies, allergic reactions, poisoning, respiratory complaints, diabetic emergencies, and cardiac emergencies;
assist with prescribed medications including aerosol inhalers, sublingual nitroglycerine, and epinephrine auto-injectors;
administering glucose, oxygen, and activated charcoal;
Whenever necessary, the EMT, together with a partner, is responsible for moving and transporting a patient to the hospital in an expeditious manner. During transport, the technician may be required to provide additional care and triage while in the ambulance. The technician must also determine the medical facility most appropriate to provide care for the patient.
Who Makes a Great EMT?
This career can be quite rewarding, but it isn’t for everyone. If you desire to become a professional in the emergency medical services, you’ll need to have a number of personality traits in order to ensure you’ll be happy in this career. Above all, EMTs need to have the ability to remain calm in extremely stressful situations. You will often be the first to respond to a crime scene or accident where someone has been injured. You will need to be able to assess the situation and administer care quickly but calmly. The decisions you make will be life-altering (and life saving) for your patients.
EMTs work all hours, including holidays. You will want to keep this in mind before considering the job. You will often have to work in the middle of the night, and a solid work ethic will be required if you want to positively handle the long hours, demanding requirements, and stress that being an EMS professional involves. Being driven to help others in a meaningful way will make the stresses of the job more bearable.
As an EMT, you’ll need a healthy amount of self-confidence. Others will be relying on your ability to quickly make important decisions regarding their care. You will need confidence in your own knowledge and skill; there is no time for self-doubt when you’re in an emergency situation. Your critical and quick thinking skills will often be essential to saving a patient’s life.
Finally, EMTs need to have excellent communication skills and empathy. In the course of your duties, you’ll need to communicate and calm people who are frightened and panicked, as well as needing to relay information to the police, fire department, and hospital personnel. You will need to be understanding and empathetic to sick and injured patients, while communicating clearly both with them and with others. Being a good listener and having excellent observational skills will be extremely important.
How to Become an EMT
Though the more specific requirements for becoming an Emergency Medical Technician will vary from state to state, in general the process is the same. Of course your first step will be to check your state’s requirements for certification. You’ll also need to see which training facilities or schools are authorized to offer certification by your state.
Your second step will be to begin acquiring your certifications. First, find a CPR class in your area. These are often offered at your local Red Cross office. These courses usually cost between $25-$50 and only take around three hours. For the skills you’ll be learning, it’s well worth the time and expense. Be sure that the class you choose is a CPR course for healthcare providers in order to give you the correct certification and progress toward your EMT certification.
Next, consider joining your volunteer fire department or rescue/first responder squad. Often you do not have to be an Emergency Medical Technician to take advantage of this opportunity. It is an excellent way to gain free experience toward your career, making it easier for you to get a job later on down the road. It also allows you to get a taste of what this career is really like so you can be sure the job is really for you.
Finally, begin searching out the EMT classes to receive your certification. Many students start out by getting their Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certification first in order to test whether or not they’ll be a good fit for the Emergency Medical Services. In some cases you may have to commute to find the classes you’ll need. Another option would be to find online class options.
Once you’ve taken all of your classes, you’ll need to take and pass the National Registry examination for EMTs before you can earn your certification and license. In order to gain the knowledge necessary to pass the test, it’s important that you spend some time learning from and shadowing certified professionals. In fact, many classes will require that you do this before you can pass the course. Most classes are broken up into a lecture portion and a hands-on laboratory skills portion. This allows you to practice your skills after you learn them.
After passing the test and earning your certification, you will need to recertify every two years or so in order to keep your certification valid.
EMT Training Options
Many students who hope to get into this career can find EMT classes offered through their local Red Cross or university. These courses can vary in length and intensity depending on the school you choose. In some cases, you may have to travel a short distance in order to find a certification class. This is especially true for those students who live in rural areas.
The problem with classroom learning is that it takes time and travel. If you’re already working in another field, it can be difficult to find a class that takes place on your schedule and that doesn’t require you to drive out of your way. One solution to this issue is to take EMT courses online. There are a number of schools that have begun to take advantage of modern technology in order to offer classes online. An online EMT school offers courses with the same skill training, but can be completed from the comfort of your own home and on your own time.
In many cases, these online courses will still have a classroom component for the laboratory or hands-on portion of the learning. Once you have completed all of the lecture modules for the course, you will still need to travel to complete the second portion, though this can usually be done over a period of hours in a single day. This blended approach is by far the most convenient for busy working adults.
Taking the Test
Before you can earn your certification, you will be required to register for and complete the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians test. This is usually offered once per month by each state. We recommend that you prepare for the test by taking online practice quizzes and tests to give yourself some idea of what to expect when the day of your test arrives.
Many students will not pass the certification test on their first try; don’t get discouraged if this happens to you. You can take the test as many times as necessary in order to pass, and your score will improve each time as long as you are studying. Get a set of NREMT flash cards, or create your own. It is also worth investing in one of the many study guides available to help you with the exam so that you can complete test questions in free moments when you’re away from the computer. There may be some value in taking an NREMT practice test or EMT practice test.
The NREMT exam isn’t something that you can pass without studying. The best way to make sure that you can pass on your first try is to study hard the entire time you are training. Even as you’re learning new skills, continue to review and read through the information from previous modules. This will keep the information fresh in your mind so that it’s easier to recall when the time for your test arrives.
Of course, while studying is important, it is also possible to overthink the exam as well. As with any difficult course, cramming and overstudying can actually make it more difficult to remember the information when you need it. The night before your test, eat a healthy meal and get plenty of sleep. Have a good breakfast the morning before your test, and try not to overload on caffeine. Have confidence in your abilities and knowledge; if you’re not confident in yourself, chances are, you’re not truly ready to be an EMT.
Once you’ve passed your test and begun working in the field, your learning period isn’t over. The medical field is constantly changing, with improved equipment and procedures being devised and tested every day. You will likely need to take continuing education or recertification courses or an EMT refresher course every one to two years in order to stay up-to-date on the latest knowledge.
The path to becoming an Emergency Medical Technician is a rewarding one, but it isn’t easy. Taking online emergency medical technician training and certification courses can make the process more convenient, but it will still take plenty of effort on your part. Once you have gained the skills and knowledge however, you will be able to work in a career that is incredibly rewarding. Every day will be different, and every day you will save lives. While the path to becoming an EMT is difficult and will take some time, it’s hard to find a job that is more rewarding. You can go here for information about becoming a paramedic.