Emergency Medical Technicians


Employment Prospects


Approximately 262,100 emergency medical technicians and paramedics are employed in the United States. EMTs are employed by fire departments, private ambulance services, police departments, volunteer emergency medical services squads, hospitals, industrial plants, or other organizations that provide prehospital emergency care.

Starting Out

A good source of employment leads for a recent graduate of the basic EMT training program is the school or agency that provided the training. You can also apply directly to local ambulance services, fire departments, and employment agencies.

In some areas, you may face stiff competition if you are seeking full-time paid employment immediately upon graduation. Although you may sometimes qualify for positions with fire and police departments, you are generally more likely to be successful in pursuing positions with private companies.

Volunteer work is an option for EMTs. Volunteers are likely to average eight to 12 hours of work per week. If you are a beginning EMT without prior work experience in the health field, you may find it advantageous to start your career as a part-time volunteer to gain experience.

Flexibility about the location of a job may help you gain a foothold on the career ladder. In some areas, salaried positions are hard to find because of a strong tradition of volunteer ambulance services. Therefore, if you are willing to relocate where the demand is higher, you should have a better chance of finding employment.

Advancement Prospects

With experience, EMTs can gain more responsibility while retaining the same job. However, more significant advancement is possible if you move up through the progression of ratings recognized by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. These ratings acknowledge increasing qualifications, making higher paying jobs and more responsibility easier to obtain.

An avenue of advancement for some EMTs leads to holding an administrative job, such as supervisor, director, operations manager, or trainer. Another path might be further training in a different area of the health care field. Some EMTs eventually move out of the health care field entirely and into medical sales, where their familiarity with equipment and terminology can make them valuable employees.

Tips for Entry

Join the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians to receive discounts on continuing education classes, a free subscription to EMS World Magazine, access to networking opportunities, and other resources.

Visit http://www.emsjobcenter.com for job listings.

Talk to EMTs about their careers. Ask them for advice on preparing for and breaking into the field.