Why the Demand for EMTs is Increasing
Jobs for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are projected to grow faster than any other profession between now and 2018. Experts expect a 9 percent growth rate for EMTs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This dramatic increase could be attributed to an expansion in health care related jobs due to the aging baby boomer population.
Becoming an EMT Opens Doors
For many individuals, becoming employed as an EMT is the first step in gaining a more complete understanding of emergency medicine. These individuals are usually interested in eventually becoming nurses or physicians and plan to use the experience as an EMT as an opportunity for hands-on experience. This is preferable to most students, rather than relying on studying medical treatment in textbooks, which can seem a little dry after being compared to the fast paced medical environment EMTs thrive in.
Many students choose to become EMTs once they realize that it takes less time and financial investment to become an EMT versus other healthcare fields. Also, most students may feel that being employed as an EMT will offer more excitement and action. This is true in most cases.
The Demand for Skilled EMTs is High
The continuously expanding need for skilled EMTs is due primarily to overcrowding in hospitals. Hospitals and medical centers can be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of patients flocking to the emergency departments. Overworked medical staffs are stretched too thin to attend to every patient’s needs, necessitating them to send some patients to other facilities. Situations such as these have created a need for more EMTs to safeguard patients that are being transferred elsewhere.
Additionally, some hospitals are choosing to specialize, creating the need for general hospitals and medical facilities to facilitate transferring select patients to these places for more skilled care. Medical monitoring is often required during transport, thus creating more opportunities for employment for EMTs.
Educational Training and Certification is Important for EMTs
The increasing need is fueling a higher demand for educated EMTs who have completed educational training and required certifications. Companies prefer to hire applicants who are already trained because it’s less expensive. Hospitals and medical facilities used to train medical personnel but now colleges fill the gap, overseeing training and preparing students for testing and certification.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has determined that EMTs can earn between $21,000 and $35,000. EMT salaries usually reflect differences in skill levels and responsibility. Investing in additional training and certification can increase EMT earnings exponentially.
Levels of Certification
EMTs are certified according to their various levels of training. Many states set their own standards and levels but all EMT training must meet minimum requirements set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), a private organization, currently offers certification exams that are utilized by at least 46 states for EMT certification. Individuals wishing to be EMTs must prepare for and pass their test in order to receive certification.
NHTSA currently recognizes four levels of EMTs:
- EMT-I/85 (Intermediate)
- EMT-I/99 (Intermediate)
Some US states also recognize specialty certifications and additional levels.
EMTs Have Job Security
Because EMTs can be employed in various settings, a certain level of job security is afforded.
From industrial positions, entertainment and sports, the possibilities for employment are almost endless. Opportunities also exist in pre-hospital, hospital, and healthcare settings. Private agencies, fire departments and police departments also have numerous job openings for EMTs.
Ambitious EMTs who are diligent in job searching won’t have to look far for employment. The healthcare field as a whole is recession-proof and many cities and municipalities have huge shortages of EMTs. Being an EMT means having a level of job security that most people in other fields don’t.