EMT vs. Paramedic Training: Which Path Should You Choose?

Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (more commonly known as EMTs) are first responders who are abidingly at the forefront of the emergency medical field. These are the professionals you’ll find first at the scene of an accident. The medical authorities who are consistently acting amidst natural disasters. The men and women who respond to emergency 911 calls within minutes of receiving them. They are healers, protectors, lifesavers, and role models for many.

If you aspire to join the medical field and desire a fast-paced, hands-on career, you might consider becoming an EMT or Paramedic. These are two rewarding, exciting, and thriving career paths that can be attained with less than two years of training. Not to mention, EMT and Paramedic job openings are surging today.

The choice between becoming an EMT or Paramedic is not an easy one to make. Both are promising, satisfying, and respected positions in the medical field. At first glance, these professionals have a lot of overlap in their day to day jobs. Both provide competent and immediate care to the sick and injured in emergency settings. Both respond to emergency calls, travel on ambulatory vehicles, perform medical services, and transport patients as necessary.

Despite all their similarities, though, EMTs and Paramedics differ in the greater scope of what they do. The training and education requirements for these two careers also vary significantly. Before diving into a career in ambulatory care, it is important that you first consider what makes EMTs and Paramedics unique. Research exactly which steps you’ll need to take to land either of these jobs. Then, and only then, can you decide which position is right for you.

To help jumpstart your decision, Stone Academy has created this blog to answer the ever-so-common EMT vs. Paramedic question. Let’s start with the basics:

EMT vs. Paramedic Job Duties

  • EMTs: Emergency Medical Technicians are trained and certified ambulatory professionals. On a daily basis, EMTs are responsible for responding to 911 calls, rushing to medical emergencies, assessing and diagnosing patients on scene, providing basic life support services (such as CPR) to patients in need, and transporting them safely to nearby hospitals or medical facilities. An EMT has the skills and education needed to evaluate a patient’s condition and manage any respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies. At an advanced level, EMTs may administer intravenous fluids, medications, and other treatments.
  • Paramedics: Paramedics provide more advanced and extensive prehospital care than EMTs. In addition to helping with EMT-level tasks, Paramedics are responsible for administering medications orally and intravenously, performing pulmonary ventilations and other advanced procedures, resuscitating and supporting patients with traumas, interpreting electrocardiograms, and using other complex equipment. Paramedics also have higher education under their belts, in topics such as physiology and cardiology.

EMT vs. Paramedic Educational Requirements

Most Paramedic and EMT training programs require that applicants hold a high school diploma as well as a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Before enrolling in a program, be sure to check their application requirements. Also, be sure to check your state’s employment requirements for EMTs and Paramedics. Job requirements will differ state to state.

Generally speaking, EMT programs are postsecondary, nondegree award programs that can be completed in six months to a year. Paramedics, however, do require additional training and may need to earn an associate’s degree, which can take up to 24-months.

  • EMTs: To become an EMT in any state, you will need to fulfill a training program in basic life support. In Connecticut, EMTs must complete a minimum of 150 hours of postsecondary training. However, candidates with more extensive training (such as Stone’s 240-hour EMT program) are typically preferred.
    Students in an EMT level program will learn how to assess patient conditions and handle trauma or cardiac emergencies. They will receive basic training in skills such as CPR, giving patients oxygen, administering glucose, recording vitals, treating asthma attacks or drug overdoses, and more.
    In Stone Academy’s EMT training program, students receive hands-on, didactic instruction that allows them to excel in their careers. They grow equipped with the theoretical knowledge needed to stand out to employers, having taken courses in medical law and ethics, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, lifespan development, and more. Students also receive advanced clinical training through simulated, real-world experiences specifically designed to prepare them for work in ambulance companies and hospital settings.
  • Paramedics: As the most advanced-level EMS responder, Paramedics are required to complete both basic and advanced EMT training before taking courses in advanced medical skills. Some Paramedic programs will also require applicants to work as an EMT for six months before moving forward in their careers. In all, Paramedic programs typically amount to about 1,200 hours of instruction, in contrast with Stone’s 240-hour EMT program. In these extensive curriculums, Paramedic students learn how to administer medications, start intravenous lines, provide advanced airway management and support, and treat patients with life-threatening conditions such as heart attack.

EMT vs. Paramedic Certifications

All states require that EMTs and Paramedics be licensed. In most states, passing of the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) certification, in addition to completion of a certified education program, will qualify as licensure.

  • EMTs: EMTs must take and pass the NREMT’s computer-based EMT exam. EMTs are typically required to take state-approved, nationally-accredited courses before obtaining their EMT certification.
  • Paramedics: Paramedics must pass the NREMT’s Paramedic computer-based exam. Licensure also requires successful completion of a nationally accredited paramedic program, potentially at the associate’s degree level.

The EMT vs. Paramedic question is not uncommon, and with the right amount of research, it can be a simple one to answer. The best career choice for you will depend on the role you want to serve in the medical field, as well as the training and education you can commit to at this time. The choice is yours, and it can all start now.

Call Stone Academy at 800-585-1315 to begin your EMT training in Connecticut.