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Difference Between an EMT and a Paramedic

Difference Between an EMT and a Paramedic
Paramedics and EMTs, both provide emergency medical services. This CareerStint article will help you understand the difference between an EMT and a paramedic.
CareerStint Staff
Always Remember
If you come across someone on the road or a neighbor who has fainted or is in some trouble, call 911 immediately. They will dispatch emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics who are trained to handle critical, life-threatening situations.

EMT is the abbreviation for emergency medical technicians. EMTs as well as paramedics provide medical care in critical situations, so that the victims are in a slightly stable state until the actual course of medical action is decided. While they both have to perform almost the same kind of duties, there is difference in the level of medical care and assigned responsibilities. An EMT provides care on a basic level, while a paramedic provides the same on an advanced level. Thus, an EMT is a type of a paramedic. Therefore, a paramedic can be called an EMT, but an EMT cannot be called a paramedic. A basic EMT vs. paramedic comparison with regards to their job description and salary is given below.
EMT
  • As mentioned in the introduction, an EMT is an emergency medical technician.
  • He is trained to provide basic medical care in critical situations.
  • An EMT is called by different names, for instance, there is EMT-B and EMT-P.
  • Here, EMT-B refers to EMT Basic, who provides the actual, basic-level care.
  • EMT-P is nothing but EMT Paramedic, who is also called only paramedic, and one who is trained to provide advanced-level care.
  • EMTs are subsets of paramedics, and have certain restrictions regarding the type of treatment they provide.
Paramedic
  • A paramedic is a senior-level emergency care specialist.
  • He is trained to provide medical care that is almost equivalent to that provided in the emergency room in hospitals.
  • It is mandatory to be an EMT or undergo similar training before wanting to qualify for a paramedic.
  • In fact, given the nature of responsibilities, there are many more certifications for paramedics than basic training.
  • Both, an EMT and a paramedic require to be strong, be able to work long hours, and have excellent coordination skills.
  • Most importantly, they need to have a strong presence of mind.

Factors of Differentiation

EMT Paramedic
Basic Requirements Requirements vary from one state to another, but the basic ones include a basic high school diploma as well as a CPR certification. You must also take up subjects like anatomy and biology in your high school. It would also help if you have volunteered for the fire department of your town. Again, different states have different requirements. To be a paramedic, however, you have to be an EMT first. And of course, the more the experience, the better it is.
Education After your high school diploma, you can consider a post-secondary program in emergency medical technology. They last between 1-2 years and are offered by many emergency care technical institutes. You would be practically trained as well. After high school, one can complete an emergency care program to be an EMT, and after some experience, proceed towards obtaining an advanced training program in emergency care. In fact, paramedics may actually require an associate's degree.
Training Hours The training hours are between 120 and 150. The time is divided into classroom training and on-call training, i.e., the field work part actually takes place in a hospital setting. Your internship may also be included within this period. If you want to qualify for something between an EMT and a paramedic, you can go in for another 250 hours of intermediate medical training, where you will be trained in slightly advanced treatment. The training is very tedious and spans around 1200 to 1800 hours. All the essential critical care treatment techniques are thoroughly covered within this period. The training includes classroom education as well as practical stints. Your internship might be separate, consisting of an additional 500 hours. You might of course, require basic college education to qualify for the training.
Certifications You are required to have an EMT-B or EMT-I certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). There might be other certifications state-wise. And you have to pass an exam to be licensed. You need to have the EMT-P certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). For paramedics, there are different certifications available, as per specializations. Some of them include Critical Care Paramedic, Certified Flight Paramedic, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Neonatal Resuscitation Program, etc. Paramedics have to be compulsorily licensed as well.
Basic Duties
  • Driving the ambulance
  • Basic first aid
  • Immediate patient care
  • Advanced patient care
  • Emergency room support
  • Situation management
Support Care Training
  • Diagnose and assess the patient's condition
  • Provide CPR
  • Clear obstructed airways
  • Handle cardiac emergencies
  • Use basic field equipment
  • Perform artificial ventilations (OPAs and NPAs)
  • Administer oxygen, glucose, and dextrose
  • Spine immobilization
  • Bandaging wounds
  • Perform intravenous therapy (EMT-I)
  • Use the defibrillator (EMT-I)
  • Administer aspirin, glucagon, bromide, ASA, salbutamol, etc.
  • Splinting
  • Manage vital signs - pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, etc.
  • Provide asthma inhalers
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors (an exception)
  • Advanced airway management
  • Provide intravenous fluids
  • Stitching wounds
  • Defibrillation
  • Perform endotracheal intubation
  • Intraosseous infusions
  • Monitor EKG
  • External transcutaneous pacing
  • Hemodynamic monitoring
  • Interpret 12-lead EKGs
  • Administering a multitude of medications, that vary by state (Adenosine, Cardizem, Narcan, Lidocaine, Atrovent, Benadryl, etc.)
  • Manage cardiac monitors
  • Perform RSI (Rapid Sequence Induction/Intubation)
  • Perform needle decompression
  • Perform cardioversion
Salary As of May 2012, the BLS has predicted the average annual salary to be more than USD 30,000. The starting figure could be around USD 20,000 and the highest figure could be more than USD 40,000. As of May 2012, the BLS predicts the average annual salary to be more than USD 40,000. The starting figure could be more than USD 20,000 while the highest could be more than USD 50,000.

Irrespective of whether a person is an EMT or a paramedic, the ultimate priority is to save the person's life. Therefore, both of them have to be on high alert and not lose their presence of mind. And something more important - EMTs, paramedics, doctors, nurses, or interns should remember that they cannot afford to make a mistake while administering treatment. In the medical profession, there should be no room for error.