People's lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics (EMT-Ps). Incidents as varied as automobile accidents, heart attacks, slips and falls, childbirth, gunshot wounds and catastrophic events require immediate medical attention and emergency services coordination. EMTs and Paramedics provide this vital service as they care for and transport the sick or injured to a medical facility.
In an emergency, EMTs and Paramedics are typically dispatched by a 911 operator to the scene where they often work with police and fire fighters. Following medical protocols and guidelines, they provide emergency care and transport the patient to a medical facility. EMTs and paramedics operate in emergency medical services systems where a physician provides medical direction and oversight.
EMTs and Paramedics also provide transportation for patients from one medical facility to another, particularly if they work for private ambulance services. Patients often need to be transferred to a hospital that specializes in treating their injury or illness or to facility that provides long-term care, like nursing homes.
EMTs and Paramedics held about 210,700 jobs in 2008. Most career EMTs and Paramedics work in metropolitan areas. Volunteer EMTs and Paramedics are more common in small cities, towns, and rural areas. These individuals volunteer for fire departments, emergency medical services, or hospitals and may respond to only a few calls per month. EMTs and paramedics were employed in a number of industries. About 45 percent worked as employees of ambulance services. About 29 percent worked in local government. Another 20 percent worked in hospitals. Employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics has been projected to grow 9 percent between 2008 and 2018.
- Emergency Medical Services employment is projected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations.
- Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics need formal training and certification or licensure.
- Emergency services function 24 hours a day, so Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics have irregular working hours.
- Opportunities will be best for those who have earned advanced certifications.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics www.bls.gov
Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) are vital members of the emergency response system. They are usually the first professionals to receive an emergency call about a suddenly ill or injured person. They respond to 9-1-1 and other emergency calls by dispatching the appropriate medical or rescue personnel (police, fire, ambulance, etc.) to the scene. EMDs must be able to manage all incoming calls and carefully question the caller in order to determine the type of emergency that exists, the geographical location of the incident, and the extent of any injuries suffered. They also stay in contact with EMTs in the ambulance so that they can better coordinate with the medical staff at area hospitals. This requires an individual that works well under pressure and is able to solve problems quickly. Emergency Medical Dispatchers may also be called upon to provide medical directions over the phone until emergency service professionals arrive. Some examples of this are keeping the caller or injured person calm, giving CPR, delivering a baby, or stopping life-threatening bleeding. EMDs must be able to maintain detailed records of information that is received and any services that are needed. This profession also requires an individual to be comfortable with sophisticated computer and telecommunications equipment, as well as have exceptional communication skills.
Emergency Medical Dispatchers usually work out of dispatch centers in a variety of settings, including police stations, fire stations, hospitals, or an independent city or county program. This profession can be very demanding and stressful so the dispatcher must be able to respond quickly and efficiently in critical situations. Students interested in a career as an emergency medical dispatcher should take high school courses in algebra, biology, English, foreign languages, psychology, computer skills, typing, first aid, public speaking, communications, and health occupations.
For more information about King-American’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Career Programs and to schedule an EMS Career Program at your school, please call (415) 931-3000 extension 114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.