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How Long Does it Take to Become an Emergency Medical Technician

Majors Overview January 23, 2013

In the event of a natural disaster, crime or accident, among the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency situation are professionals known as emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Patients on site rely on EMTs for the provision of urgent medical care and transportation to critical care center or hospital for further treatment by a doctor. In this article, we will look at different education and training modes available to prospective EMTs and paramedics seeking to follow a successful career path.

The nature of employment and the level of education or certification will determine the specific job responsibilities of EMTs. Apart from national certification, other state or region-level designations or certifications are also offered to emergency medical personnel. Certification at five levels are offered to emergency medical personnel by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT); these levels are Paramedic, EMT-intermediate (1999), EMT-intermediate (1985), EMT-basic and First responder.

Program Durations

The time needed to complete each level can vary. For instance, it takes less time to become a paramedic compared to completion of the first responder level. Often, students are required to complete one EMT training level to qualify for the subsequent level.

EMT-Basic and First Responder Levels

It is possible to complete an accelerated training program in EMT-basic or first responder level in three weeks or fewer. Part-time students could take eight to eleven weeks to complete these programs. Students in such programs learn about managing trauma, cardiac and respiratory emergencies, alongside assessing patient conditions.

EMT-Intermediate Level

Training that spans from thirty to three hundred fifty hours are usually required by a student who aims to become an EMT-intermediate 1985 or 1999. The training requirement varies depending on the procedures that the state allows EMTs to perform. EMT-intermediate programs teach students more sophisticated life support skills such as medication dispensing, intravenous procedures and advanced airway management. Additional to coursework and lectures, students are also required to complete clinical hands on work. Students who complete the program successfully are awarded a certificate.

Paramedic Level

Coursework in patient care, physiology and anatomy are required to be completed by students aspiring to qualify as paramedics, which is the most advanced level of EMTs. Special situations, defibrillation paramedicine, airway ventilation and advanced treatment procedures are taught to students; general education courses are often incorporated in curricula. It usually takes two to twenty-four months to complete a paramedic program; at the end, students may be awarded an associate degree in emergency medical services.

EMT Licensure

Once students complete any level of EMT training, students are also required to pass written and practical exams conducted by the NREMT or a state licensing authority. Comprehension of health issues and medical tasks is assessed in the written component while a candidate’s ability to discharge EMT responsibilities efficiently is tested in the practical exam. Licensure is often delayed due to the fact that the exams are only offered at certain times of the year. Sometimes this results in a delay between the time of completion of training and the issuance of licenses. Licenses have to be renewed every two years by EMTs via continuing education.

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