The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is an entry level position and a gateway to a lucrative and exciting lifelong career. There is no previous experience required and once you begin you have countless options for advancement. In fact, it is common for doctors, nurses, and firefighters to have started as an EMT at the beginning of their medical careers.
The EMT is an first responder to all medical emergencies. Every time 911 receives a medical call, EMT’s are called upon to handle the situation. They work closely with police and firefighters and are responsible for quickly and competently administering pre-hospital medical care to people injured in accidents, victims of crimes, and other medical situations. The EMT has an important role in saving lives and critical in the process of ensuring patients are stabilized and arrive at the nearest hospital ready for more advanced treatment.
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What Does a Fargo ND EMT Do?
The EMT is responsible for quickly assessing a situation and stabilizing anyone needing medical attention. The following is a short list of EMT responsibilities:
- Quickly respond to 911 calls at a moments notice.
- Evaluate patient condition and determine a course of action.
- Administer treatment and care, following EMT protocols.
- Stabilize patients for transport. Including using braces, restraints and backboards.
- Assist in transportation of patients to hospitals by ambulance or helicopter.
- Monitor vital signs during care and transportation.
- Report and Communicate condition of patient, evaluation, and care given to hospital emergency staff.
- Other tasks as dictated by the type of emergency.
In addition to the above the EMT spends their time in honing their skills and capabilities in handling emergency situations. They are also responsible for taking steps to ensure that their vehicles and equipment is always fully operational and that they have a ready inventory and access to needed medical supplies. The EMT is part of a team that is always prepared to instantly mobilize to save a life.
EMT Levels, Training, and Scope of Care
The EMT provides care as determined by patient need and the type of emergency. There are four levels of advancement as an EMT. Within each of these levels you are allowed to administer and perform an increased range of care and medical procedures.
EMT (Basic) – This is an entry level EMT. It requires more than 140 hours of training that includes both classroom (didactic) and field experience. The entry level EMT is allowed to do the following:
- Air passageway clearing and management.
- Basic ventilation.
- Basic Oxygenation.
- Caring for Trauma.
- Basic Cardiology.
- Basic medical care and bandaging.
- Patient stabilization using braces, backboards, and restraints.
EMT (Basic) – This is the first level of certified career advancement for an EMT. In order to become an I/85 you must have on the job experience as an EMT (Basic), take additional training, and pass a certification exam administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) . The EMT (I/85) is allowed to do everything that an EMT (Basic) can do and the following:
- Intravenous therapy.
- Using advanced airway equipment.
- Increased authorization in assessing more complicated emergencies.
- An increased list of medications that can be used.
EMT (I/99) – The EMT (I/99) is one advancement above the I/85. This includes more on the job experience and the passing another NREMT certification exam. The I/99 can do everything the I/85 can do and add the following:
- Endotracheal intubation.
- Nasogastric tube procedures.
- Using more advanced cardiac equipment and defibrillators.
- Controlling heart arrhythmias.
- Other more advanced procedures.
EMT (Paramedic) – The paramedic is the top level EMT. Becoming a paramedic involves first becoming an I/99, then adding additional job experience and completing over 1,100 hours of additional training. All paramedics must pass the NREMT paramedic certification exam. Paramedics can do everything the I/99 can do with an added long list of procedures and medications they can administer. All paramedics must attend a training program that is nationally accredited in order to qualify for the paramedic certification exam. This includes:
- Advanced trauma care.
- Advanced airway and breathing management.
- Advanced Cardiac procedures.
- High level blood chemistry and cardiac analysis.
- And a long list of allowed pharmacological treatments.
For a useful chart of procedures allowed for each level EMT visit EMT Levels and Procedures Allowed. While this chart is not fully inclusive of all duties and procedures, it does outline the most common.
How Do I Become a Certified EMT?
Fargo ND EMT’s are certified by the NREMT under the guidance of the Emergency Medical Services division within the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration.
The process is simple to understand and outlined below:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Pass a physician physical that clears you for your ability to perform as an EMT.
- Have a current CPR card.
- Successfully complete an EMT training program.
- Take and pass the NREMT certification exam.
Choosing a Fargo ND Accredited Training Program Is Important
EMT training programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) under a joint agreement with the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP). This accreditation is ultimately under the jurisdiction and guidance of the NHTSA.
That is a lot of of acronyms with the only one you should be concerned about is the CAAHEP. Currently there is only a requirement for paramedics to attend an accredited program therefore you can attend a non-accredited program and still become an EMT. The problem with this approach is that it limits you to prospective employers and to achieving qualification of becoming certified through the NREMT exam. Therefore it is possible, but difficult to become certified if you attend a non-accredited program.
The only smart choice is to start you new career off correctly and to make certain you attend an accredited training program. Accredited programs are not difficult to locate within most communities. They are given by community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and some hospitals and public agencies.
Make certain the program you choose is accredited. Accredited programs give you a solid foundation from which to launch your new career.
The Fargo ND EMT
Whether you plan to stay and work in Fargo ND or move elsewhere your EMT certification and training will qualify you for jobs anywhere in the United States. The EMT career is filled with opportunity. From serving as the foundation for a more advanced medical career to advancing through the different levels of an EMT to earn more income and have the ability to perform more advanced procedures. EMT certification is one of the few opportunities where you can enter into it inexperienced and without a specific background and then advance through career options that will provide you with a good stable income for a lifetime.
Beyond career stability, great benefits, and a great income EMT’s also maintain a high level of respect within any community. Just as police and firefighters are appreciated as first responders so is the EMT. An EMT career is a great choice for anyone looking for a starting point that can benefit them for a lifetime.