Prepared as part of the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center (www.careercornerstone.org)
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Field - Preparation - Day in the Life - Earnings -
Employment - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations
People's lives often depend on the quick reaction and
competent care of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and
paramedics. Incidents as varied as automobile accidents,
heart attacks, slips and falls, childbirth, and gunshot wounds
all require immediate medical attention. 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. Once they arrive, EMTs and
paramedics assess the nature of the patient's condition while
trying to determine whether the patient has any pre-existing
medical conditions. Following medical protocols and guidelines, they provide appropriate
emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient. Some paramedics are trained to
treat patients with minor injuries on the scene of an accident or they may treat them at their
home without transporting them to a medical facility. Emergency treatment is carried out under
the medical direction of physicians.
EMTs and paramedics may use special equipment, such as backboards, to immobilize
patients before placing them on stretchers and securing them in the ambulance for transport to
a medical facility. These workers generally work in teams. During the transport of a patient,
one EMT or paramedic drives while the other monitors the patient's vital signs and gives
additional care as needed. Some paramedics work as part of a helicopter's flight crew to
transport critically ill or injured patients to hospital trauma centers.
At the medic