What You Need to Know Before You Become an EMT

What You Need to Know Before You Become an EMT
Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

EMTs are incredibly unique fellows. They sacrifice their precious time to work in some of the most precarious conditions ever known to humankind. To them, saving lives is more of a call to make a difference in the human race, not just a career. 

So congratulations if you've chosen to join the lot. You are only a few steps away to starting a job that will not only save and change the lives of others but also have an impact on your very own.

Desiring to save and help others is good, and being an EMT can be generally rewarding. However, there are a few things you need to know before you commit to being an emergency medical technician.

That's what's what we'll discuss in this article.

What You Need to Know Before You Become a Paramedic (EMT)

1. Understand What EMT Jobs Entail

The first thing you need to know to become an emergency medical technician is the nature of the job. More often than not, the work involves responding to emergency calls, offering first aid, rushing the injured to the hospital for proper medical attention, conducting medical assessments, and providing life support.

In other words:

Being an EMT means you have the responsibility to make an immediate first response so you can get a patient to the nearest medical facility on time.

You have to act fast, be emotionally alert, and cool under pressure. You'll be called to scenes that will make your heart sink and you'll find yourself in a place you never for once thought you'd be. 

In an EMT job, every second counts. And in that very short moment, you have to think decisively, because the next step you make could save a life or lose it.

Knowing what an EMT does is one thing.

Next, you have to check the job description of a given emergency medical technician job offer. This will help you to determine if you are fit for the position. This is important whether you have been in the field before or you are an entry-level worker fresh from a medical college.

2. You Must Have a College Certification Before You Become an EMT

On the surface, it seems that all you need to be an emergency medical technician is a passion for the job and the willingness to help others. 

But there’s more to it than the desire to assist. 

In other words, if you want to work with paramedics and other medical professionals, you need to be EMT certified. 

To get a certification, you have to go to college and cover an EMT course, which usually runs for about five months. During this time, you’ll learn everything you need to know to be effective in the job. You’ll be taught by experienced paramedics, professional firefighters, and former EMTs.  

Some of the most valuable skills you’ll learn as a new students include the right way to stabilize broken bones, operating oxygen tanks, resuscitating drowning victims, stabilizing head and neck injuries, administering necessary medications, and responding to medical emergencies sanely and the right way. 

Don’t want to study for five months just to get a certification? 

No problem. 

Because you can opt to take an intensive abbreviated course that can get you a professional certification in as little as 21 days. However, a course this short will only be suitable for you if you have some background knowledge in medical anatomy. Stick to the actual course, otherwise it’s going to be a struggle. 

The next step to getting your certification is to take a practical skills exams and then work in a medical setting or a fire department for at least 2 days. Your tutor will clear you for an NREMT computer-based test thereafter. 

3. Understand that Some Events Will Be Out of Your Control

Your mission as an emergency medical technician will be to save lives by making immediate first emergency response. And you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of contentment when you do so. 

Sometimes things will take the opposite direction. 

You’ll reach to a crime scene late, a first aid administration may go wrong, a first CPA may not resuscitate a kid you and the team pulled out of a swimming pool, and people will die. 

It’s freaking scary, but that’s what it is in being an EMT. 

Let’s put this way:  

You’ll not always be in control of everything. And you’re going to get emotional sometimes. But you’ll need to recollect yourself first and understand that as far as EMTs go, anything can happen. Regardless of what happens in the field, you’ll need to remain calm and fully composed when every Tom, Dickson, and Harry is freaking out. 

4. You Must Dress Up Properly for the Job, No Question Asked 

It was easy in the early days. You could dress up casually and walk to a paramedic job just fine. In fact, with restriction clothing being casual at the time, you could wear as you please. The rules weren’t tight. 

But the EMT field has undeniably evolved, and so has the dressing requirements. While it’s not easy to characterize the dress code of a first responder, particularly because agencies have dressing code rule that differs, your dressing code now has to be more professional than it used to be in the early days.  

Today, fire departments and medical settings require EMTs to wear uniforms more than they do civilian attires. You’ll need to get more than one similar uniform, clean them often, they’re subject to extremes after all. More often than not, the uniform required should be made of the most durable material yet. That means going for durable, premium fabric and leaving standard fabric uniforms on the table. 

Then there is the footwear, which is definitely a matter of concern. Remember, EMT jobs will take you to places you never been, some stranger than others. So go for EMT zipper bootsover casual sneakers; they take seconds to slip and you’re ready to get to work. 

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