Why More EMTs are Being Hired Full-Time, Not Part -ime

Recruiting and Retaining EMTs is Expensive
Recruitment and retention are two primary issues affecting Emergency Medical Services (EMS) currently. Most local EMS have been experiencing staffing shortages significant enough to be covered by news organizations. It costs a great deal to hire and train EMTs, investing in EMTs that offer value and savings for local EMS is paramount. EMS funding is limited and local EMS must stretch every dollar they have at their disposal.

Two prominent organizations, the National Council of State Legislators and National al Rural Health Association, have expressed their concerns about the viability of the nation’s EMS workforce. EMS nationwide have increased their focus on recruitment and retention in response to these concerns.

EMTs are Required to Work Long Hours
Work schedules can vary for EMTs. Most schedules are framed around 12 and 24 hour shifts. Some situations may require EMTs to work longer than their scheduled shift. These extra hours are generally unpredictable, causing schedules to regularly exceed 80 hours in a 2 week period. The needs of the particular organization necessitate schedules to be created around these needs. It’s cheaper for organizations to train a few full time employees instead of training numerous part time employees.

The Demand for EMTs is Increasing
Employment for EMTs is increasing at a rate of 9 percent. This is expected to continue well into 2018. Job prospects for EMTs are great, especially in cities and with private ambulance services.

The enormous amount of growth this occupation is experiencing is largely due to the aging baby-boomer population. As this large population continues to grow older medical emergencies will inevitably increase along with demand for EMTs. Additionally the length of time EMTs must spend with each patient is increasing due to overcrowding in emergency room departments nationwide. This has resulted in longer times transferring patients to emergency room staff and an increased transit time to hospitals that may be much further away.

Also, as hospitals decide to specialize in treating specific illnesses or injury, patients must be transferred by EMT in order to access treatment. In the majority of cases, patients being transferred to specialized treatments centers must have access to specialized care en route. EMTs must be utilized in these situations as well, further increasing the demand for qualified EMTs working full-time.

Training for EMTs Costs Money
It isn’t practical for students to invest money in training, testing prep and practice exams for part-time employment. There is a huge investment involved in becoming a paramedic. Employers are aware of this and recruitment efforts are tailored around this. Organizations are interested in hiring employees who are serious about being EMTs, and who will maintain employment long enough to mitigate the costs involved in recruitment. In most cases, hiring part time employees doesn’t achieve this objective.

Part-time Assistance is Usually Filled by Volunteers or Retirees
Most organizations that hire EMTs save part-time positions for interns completing their education or retirees who wish to continue to contribute to their communities. These positions are generally part-time and less demanding. Part-time positions provide support for full-time staff but aren’t able to put in the hours and investment required to maximize savings. Part-time EMTs are usually available according to school and life schedules, making regular implementation by EMS less than practical. Employers are looking full-time staff to fill their rosters.

Invest in the Future, Get Certified, Become an EMT
Current employment opportunities are abundant. This increase in demand is expected to continue for several more years. Now is the best time to invest in the future and become an EMT.

Month. (n.d.). Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics . U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos101.htm
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
The longitudinal study of turnover and the cost of turnover in EMS. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883888/

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