What is an Emergency Medical Technician?
An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is an entry level healthcare professional trained in Basic Life Support (BLS), anatomy/physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, airway management, spinal immobilization, medical assessments, and trauma triage.
Basic Life Support (BLS) is a level of medical care for people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can receive medical interventions at a hospital. The protocols for care outline the management of numerous conditions, including cardiac arrest, choking, and drowning.
An EMT course requires 150-200 hours of course work and additional hours of field experience in an emergency healthcare setting. A part-time EMT course lasts 4-6 months and a full time course lasts around 3 months. After completing the course, a two part certification exam must be passed. While this test may vary by state, it typically consists of a practical exam with scenarios, patient actors, and evaluators, followed by a written exam. EMT courses can be expensive (anywhere from $800 to $3,000) but the certification is a life-long investment that opens up many job opportunities after graduation. In many cases, EMS agencies may help cover or reimburse some or all of your education costs.
The greatest benefit of being an EMT and being a member of BMCEMS is the experience of providing hands-on medical care to others. Whether you're interested in going into medicine or not, EMS is an incredible field that remains the truest and humblest form of medicine.