Inside EMT Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises


"People Want Reassurance More Than Medical Care...
I was surprised to find how often people call for emergency services and then refuse treatment or transport and I believe a lot of other people would be surprised as well. Many times people call for an ambulance, but then refuse to be transported when an EMT arrives. There is a clear disconnect between individuals looking for treatment and help and individuals simply looking for reassurance that they are "just fine," even though we wouldn't tell a patient that." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, female
School: Studied EMT Basic at Atlantic Health Training Center in New Jersey; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"What would surprise others would probably be the conversation that goes on in the Emergency Vehicles; it is much less professional than one might assume." (EMT; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Medicine at University Of North Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Just The Two Of Us...
I was surprised by how much down-time an EMT has. I was also surprised by only working with one other individual in the ambulance. I always thought there was more of a team than just myself and one other." (EMT; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Psychology at John Carroll University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Opens Your World To New Fields...
Being an EMT can open you up to a world of other career paths. It's very rewarding, but you may learn you want to work in a hospital, in a clinical setting, or you may want to learn more about medicine and become a nurse or doctor." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, female
School: Studied Emergency Medical Technician at Northeast Louisiana Technical College - Delta Ouachita Campus in Louisiana; completed Certificate degree in 2000


"Some Tasks Not Emphasized In Class Necessary For Job...
I worked as an EMT in an ER, rather than on an ambulance. I was surprised at how much of my job was paperwork and cleaning, in addition to working with patients. These things are extremely important, but were not highlighted in my EMS education." (EMT; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Virginia
School: Studied Emergency Medical Studies at Saint Louis Community College in Missouri; completed Certificate degree in 2007


"Light Workload...
Being an emergency medical technician was surprising in the sense that in the area I live, not much happens. We barely get calls in a day and if we do get a call it is a minor situation that does not require hospitalization." (EMT; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Emergency Medicine at High School EMT Program in Texas; completed Certificate degree in 2008


"Stress Levels Are High...
I was surprised at the stress levels that EMT have to deal with on a daily, routine basis. It's not only patient interaction, it's also by-stander interactions, and interacting with your partner, police, and firefighters. Emotions run high when there's a medical emergency, so have tough skin and keep your cool." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Hawaii, male
School: Studied Medicine at Kapiolani Community College in Hawaii; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"Laid Back Atmosphere...
I was surprised how laid back it is. Everyone imagines a non-stop adrenaline rush, but in reality it is a fairly boring job with interesting things happening randomly throughout the day." (EMT; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Molecular Biology at University Of Illinois in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Surprised me how many people we bring in for alcohol related incidences. Many calls we take everyday for this very reason." (EMT; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Pre-Med at Michigan State University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Differences From Media...
I was surprised how relatively laidback it was compared to its sensationalized depictions." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Biology at University Of California, Irvine in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"I Was Surprised By The Difficulty Of Being An EMT. Ehen You See EMT's They Looked So Relaxed But This Is Not The Way The Job Actually Is At All...
I was surprised at the difficulty of this profession. I felt I really could not keep with this profession since it required a lot of physical strength." (EMT; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Emergency Medical Technician at Athens Technical College in Georgia; completed Certificate degree in 2008


"Comfortable Working With Patients...
I thought I'd be nervous working with patients, but I reminded myself that blood and the human anatomy never made me feel ill. In fact, I am intrigued with the human body." (Paramedic Tech; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Psychology at University Of Illinois Urbana Champaign in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Extensive Work Hours...
I was really surprised about the hours associated with the job. I love my coworkers, but I had some eye-opening experiences." (Doctor; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Medicine at Cornell University in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Social Skills And Adaptability...
I was surprised at how much social skills and adaptability was required in the area of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). I was also surprised to learn the true differences in disease processes and how other people perceive EMS." (EMT-B; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Emergency Medical Services at Star Career Academy in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2011


"Rewarding Work...
I was surprised how hands on my job is because I work with assisting many people who are either physically or mentally ill and it makes me feel like a better person when I help these people the best way I can. I was also surprised with how many different people I meet from many walks of live which is very interesting because some of the people are war vets." (Emergency Medical Tech; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Emergency Medical Tech at Star Career Academy in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2010


"I was surprised that this career path considers social science degrees an acceptable means of entry. I was further surprised how useful my study of psychology is in this career." (Emergency Response Program Assistant; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Psychology at University Of Idaho in Idaho; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Surprisingly, being an EMT-b or an Emergency Medical Tech/basic is not an easy job to handle without having a thick skin and a knowledge for medicine. As an EMT-b you really need to know how to care for patients but also be able to physically do the job well." (EMT-B Ambulance Driver; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Emergency Medical Technology at Mesa Community College in Arizona; completed Certificate degree in 2010

Career Background


EMT

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Career Video

Career Tips


"Make Sure You Are Prepared...
Be sure you can handle the rigors of the gore and treatments you will be providing. Ask a hospital if you could view some of these things before you go through the schooling to see if you can handle it." (EMT; 2014)


"Preparation Is Key...
The most important thing you can do as an EMT student is to study the notes repeatedly and above all--practice the techniques you're taught until they become second nature. That way you're not hesitant when the situation arises--you're ready to step in and help people." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2014)


"Volunteer With A Rescue Squad First...
If you'd like to be successful as a paid EMT, it's important to join a local rescue squad and volunteer your time to gain experience. Your experience there will be valuable to your skills and will also make you more marketable when the time comes to look for a paid position." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2014)


"Emergency Services Is Still A Rewarding Career...
Make sure you learn all you can about the career as you can before getting into it." (EMT; 2013)


"Head Start...
Earn your cert in community college very early." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2013)


"Pay Not High Enough...
I would use my career as a stepping stone to a more solid career since the pay for this career is not enough to support a family." (EMT; 2013)


"Positive Interpersonal Interaction Is Essential...
It is absolutely necessary to be willing to work with both patients and co-workers who have a different world view, culture, religion, and political ideology than yourself. I had a few co-workers who were unwilling to do this, and it really made for a difficult and hostile work environment. Teamwork is essential, and so is the ability to put the patient's mind at ease." (EMT; 2013)


"Moving Up The Ranks As An EMT...
Once you get certified as an EMT, you will be at the Basic level. Go into the workforce with a positive attitude, and get your work experience. If given the opportunity, go back to school to get your EMT-P (Paramedic) license." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2013)


"Cramming Doesn't Work...
You're going to need to study each day, even if it's a half hour. Spatial learning is far better than cramming." (Paramedic Tech; 2013)


"Stick With It...
It can be difficult to remember all the procedures and diagnoses and medications, but stick it out; the job is fun and worth it." (EMT; 2013)


"Lighten Up A Little...
I would say, always take everything with a grain of salt. Taking things too seriously in the profession is not healthy for the job." (EMT; 2013)


"Thicken Your Skin...
Be prepared to deal with stupid people. Lots of people will be angry at you for various reason, learn to deal with it." (EMT; 2013)