Emergency Medical Services Professions
Nature of Occupation
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) administer emergency and lifesaving services to accident victims and those who suffer sudden illnesses or attacks. They work with people at the scene of emergencies and during transportation and delivery to the hospital. There are three levels of EMT’s determined by their training: EMT-Ambulance, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic. EMT-Defibrillator is a new specialty and was designed to provide EMT-Ambulance workers with the additional training they need to resuscitate certain types of heart attack victims.
Emergency medical technicians usually work in teams of two and may be members of a hospital emergency department, intensive or coronary care unit, rescue squad, or volunteer team. EMT’s are supervised by the director of out-patient services, the medical director of emergency services, or a police or fire chief. EMT’s employed by fire departments often have a 51-hour work week with 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off. Those employed by hospitals and police departments usually work 31-42 hours a week and are often on call. Workers in private firms often work a 56-hour week. Sixty-five percent of all EMT’s are volunteers. They may work 8 to 24 hours per week, with varied schedules, and receive no payment for the services they perform. EMT’s often work nights, weekends and holidays to provide services 24 hours a day.
- Responding to emergency calls received by dispatchers
- Determining the nature and extent of illness or injury
- Establishing priorities for emergency medical care
- Covering patients, placing them on stretchers, and lifting them into the ambulance
- Determining the best route for the emergency vehicle to travel
- Watching patients constantly and communicating with the hospital on patient’s condition during transporting
- Following step-by-step direction of medical staff
Employment and Outlook
There were approximately 150,000 emergency medical technicians employed nationally in 1998. Employment of emergency medical technicians is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2020. Opportunities will occur as a result of an expansion in emergency and medical services and replacement of those who leave the field. Competition for jobs will be keen in fire, police, and rescue squad departments because of attractive pay and benefits and good job security.
Earnings of EMT’s depend on the employment settings and geographic location as well as the individual’s training and experience. EMT’s are employed by private ambulance services, hospitals, or fire departments. EMT’s working in the fire departments command the highest average salary. Salaries are based on training and experience. In 1996, EMTP Basic employees earned an average annual salary of $25,051, those employed by a hospital earned $19,900 and those employed by a fire department earned $29,879. EMT-Paramedic: Ambulance service - $25,822; hospital - $28, 373, and fire department - $32,483.
$15,500 to $52,500, nationwide; $15,500 to $34,000, Tyler/East Texas
Interests and Abilities
- Perform a variety of duties in all kinds of situations
- Communicate with people calmly and effectively
- Use good judgment under stress and have leadership ability
- Present a neat, clean appearance and a pleasant personality
- Give and receive verbal and written directions
- Working with and helping people