10 Signs You Should be an EMT
Becoming an EMT is a popular career choice. Before choosing to become an EMT, it’s best to determine if this career choice is right for you. Picking a career based on salary alone is never the right decision. Picking a career choice because other people want to you to is also a poor reason. The old adage is true, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” Choosing to become an EMT should be choosing to pursue a personal passion.

Becoming an EMT is admirable. Providing medical is a necessary service that makes a difference in individual lives, and with the community as a whole. The field is never dull and opportunities abound.
Opportunities for EMTs abound. There is tremendous growth in the field, competitive salaries, benefits, and more. There is also room for advancement within organizations and a variety of work places to choose to work for.
There are a few traits that are necessary for EMTs to have. Without them, success isn’t possible and patients can suffer. The following techniques are signs an individual would make a great EMT:

Good Bedside Manner
Doctors are often described as having a good bedside manner, but this trait is highly desirable for EMTs. EMTs able to reassure patients and develop a good rapport will do well within the field.

Psychological Stability
EMTs who can stay calm despite the surrounding circumstances are an asset. Cool heads prevail in this field and maintaining a calm demeanor can mean the difference between life and death for patients.

Good Communication Skills
Effective communication is necessary for all aspects of the job. EMTs must be able to communicate with colleagues and patients. Without appropriate communication, there is little hope of being able to effectively meet expectations.

Good Social Skills
Being a team player is absolutely necessary for EMTs. The job naturally leads to a development of close relationships between colleagues. Loners usually don’t make good EMTs due to the social requirements of the job.

EMTs can face volatile situations. In some cases patients may be mentally ill and prone to violence. Drug addicts are frequently transported by EMTs, and are sometimes under the influence at the time of transport. EMTs must be able to work with individuals with various backgrounds. A high level of diplomacy is required to maintain control.
To be a great EMT you have to be able to display compassion for others. Caring for others is usually the primary reason why most individuals become EMTs.

Good Physical Condition
EMTs must maintain good health. Being in shape and capable of lifting heavy weights is part and parcel to the job.

EMTs are required to work long hours. Calling in sick isn’t always an option. EMTs must be dependable and willing to show up for work even when they don’t feel like it.

Good Judgment
Quick decisions are made routinely by EMTs. It is vital that EMTs can make the right decisions rapidly in order for them to save lives.

EMTs must be able to conduct themselves professionally in all types of situations. EMTs must be polite and professional even when facing the worst situations.

Individuals wishing to become EMTs can pursue their career choice by beginning classes at an accredited school. There are several levels EMTs can traverse in their studies. These levels are:

  • EMT-B (Basic)
  • EMT-I/85 (Intermediate)
  • EMT-I/99 (Intermediate)
  • EMT-P (Paramedic)

These levels will change nationwide by 2014. The changes will result in the following levels:

  • EMT-Basic
  • EMT-Intermediate
  • EMT-Paramedic

EMT-Basics are able to begin work after 120-150 hours of training. EMT-Paramedics are required to complete over 1000 hours of training and usually obtain an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree with their training.

EMT Certification Process
The NREMT tests require that students complete both a written version of the test and a skills version of the tests. Both parts of the tests must be passed to qualify for certification for 12 months. Many students prep for testing with practice exams. Candidates are given only 3 opportunities to pass NREMT exams before being required to take additional remedial courses. After this, candidates have 3 additional opportunities to pass the tests before being required to take the exams again.


NREMT – EMT-Basic / EMT. (n.d.). NREMT – National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.nremt.org/nremt/about/reg_basic_history.asp

Overview of BLS Statistics on Pay and Benefits. (n.d.). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.bls.gov/bls/wages.htm

For more EMT knowledge, go to our EMT Resources page
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