Welcome to the County Rescue EMT Information Page!

County Rescue is a fun, inspirational series that celebrates the work of EMTs and first responders.

Together, the County Rescue team serves their community and supports each other through the highs and lows of life.

Are YOU called to a career in emergency medicine? Wondering where to start or what it takes to become an EMT? Congratulations – this is the page for you!

This page provides an overview of career paths in emergency medicine and links to resources to find more information.

What is an EMT?

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are health care professionals who assist in emergency medical situations. Becoming an EMT is the starting point of an emergency medical service career. There are two levels of EMT proficiency: EMT Basic and EMT Advanced (also called EMT Intermediate or AEMT.) Some common duties include:

  • Respond — EMTs are usually the first medical provider to arrive to the scene of an accident.
  • Assess – EMTs assess the level of care needed, call for more help if required, and begin immediate treatment if needed.
  • Treat – EMTs are trained in life-support techniques such as CPR, wound treatment and pain management.
  • Transport – EMTs secure patients for stability and transport them to medical facilities, providing care on the way.

Becoming an EMT requires about six months of training. Your training will teach you how to give important emergency medical care, such as performing CPR, bandaging wounds, treating burns, stabilizing fractures and administering some medications.

To become an EMT, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED credential.

Since all paramedics must first become an EMT, everyone starts as an EMT.

What is a Paramedic?

Paramedics perform the highest level of prehospital care, requiring much more advanced training after becoming an EMT. Paramedics perform all of the basic life support functions that EMTs do, plus they’re certified to perform more advanced lifesaving procedures, including advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).

Paramedic training is rigorous and takes one to two years to complete, depending on state requirements and if you are pursuing a technical certificate or an associate’s degree.

You don’t have to know if you want to be a paramedic when you start your journey. Many will work as EMTs and gain experience and perspective before deciding to advance their skill set by undergoing the additional training required to become a paramedic.

The exact steps you must accomplish for each position will vary from state to state due to different legal requirements, so use this as a guide to learn more.

How to become an EMT

To become an EMT, you’ll need the right training and qualifications. While it can vary by state, here are the common steps:

  • Meet the prerequisites to join a program. Most states require that EMTs are at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or GED, and pass a background check. The exact requirements vary, so make sure to check before applying. Some offer training and education starting as early as 9th grade.
  • Join an EMT training program. You’ll need to join an EMT program to work as an emergency medical care professional. These programs provide about 170 hours of training and teach students how to identify life-threatening illnesses and injuries, administer CPR, treat wounds and splint injuries.
  • Become a national registered EMT. Once you’ve completed your training, you can take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam, which consists of both a written and psychomotor exam. Those who pass become nationally registered and receive an EMT certificate.
  • Get licensed. Like other medical professionals, EMTs must be licensed by the states in which they practice. The exact requirements will vary from state to state, though, so make sure to check with your state’s EMT requirements.

How to become a paramedic

The path to becoming a paramedic is similar to an EMT but requires additional training, experience, and licensure. Here are some of the common steps needed to become a professional paramedic:

  • Gain work experience as an EMT. In order to become a paramedic, you must first become an EMT. Most paramedic programs require that applicants have at least six months of prior work experience as an EMT before applying to a program.
  • Gain prerequisite qualifications. To qualify for paramedic programs, your qualifications must be up-to-date, such as an American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support (BLS) card.
  • Join a paramedic program. Once you have the requisite EMT work experience, you will need to complete an accredited paramedic program. These programs provide anywhere from 1,200 to 1,800 hours and can take anywhere from six to 24 months to complete. Programs cover topics like anatomy and physiology, traumatic injuries, and cardiology.
  • Become a nationally registered paramedic. After you complete your paramedic training, you can take the NREMT paramedic exam, which consists of both a written and psychomotor exam.
  • Become licensed in your state. Like other health care professions, paramedics must be licensed by the state in which they practice. Contact your state licensing department to see what licenses are required to practice professionally.

Final thoughts

A career in emergency medical services can be incredibly rewarding. We hope this information is a helpful start in exploring the many paths you can take.

In making the show, the stars of County Rescue learned quite a bit about life as an EMT, and have enormous respect for those who answer the call. It is an honor to portray the remarkable work of EMTs and first responders and the challenges they face daily. Being an EMT is a hard job that tests the will and spirit of those who answer the call.

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