As an emergency medical technician (EMT), you will be learning information that will qualify you to handle emergency medical situations, perform emergency medical procedures such as cardiac-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and operate an ambulance in order to transport an individual needing emergency medical care to a hospital. An EMT is usually the first person to arrive on a scene involving injured people, who will immediately evaluate the condition of those who have been hurt in an auto accident, have suddenly become very sick, or are involved in other physically damaging circumstances. EMT's will attempt to stabilize a person's condition before transporting them to a hospital by using interventions such as treating shock, applying broken bone splints or tourniquets, and defibrillation for those undergoing a heart attack. Working as an EMT, especially in larger, urban areas where there is a high crime rate, can be stressful, sometimes frustrating job to perform but those who choose to be emergency technicians say they would not want to work in any other job field.
In order to be a certified EMT you have to complete and pass an emergency medical technician program offered by an accredited school, usually at a two year college or vocational school. You must have a high school diploma or GED (general equivalency diploma) before beginning your medical training as an EMT. Accredited courses will meet or exceed the requirements of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions. You should check with your community college or vocational school to make sure the program you are entering has either one of these agencies accrediting it.
Your medical training as an EMT will involve courses on human physiology and anatomy, which deal with how the body properly functions and what happens when it malfunctions, information you will need to know when gauging an injured person's condition. Knowing the correct care and procedures to use on someone before their condition worsens is undoubtedly the fundamental purpose of an emergency medical technician. While attending school and training to be an EMT, you will be shown how properly to utilize ambulatory equipment such as automated external defibrillators (AED's), backboards, blood pressure cuffs, and the applications of splints to broken bones. You will also learn what pertinent questions you need to ask the injured person when assessing their condition, such as "How long have you had this pain?" or "Are you having trouble breathing?" Learning the right way to lift an injured patient out of a wrecked car or simply off the floor without further hurting them is also another part of your medical training.
EMT medical training should not be confused with paramedic training, however. Paramedic training is more comprehensive and involves learning certain medical procedures such as inserting I.V.'s, performing endotracheal intubation, and injecting some with drugs, which can alter the heart rhythm of someone having a heart attack.