Paramedics or Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are medical professionals who are in charge of handling medical emergencies such as providing first aid to patients while they are not yet or are currently being transported to a medical facility. The job of a paramedic can be highly stressful as persons responsible for such work are exposed to situations that require fast yet at the same time careful response.
Paramedics are highly in demand because of the nature of their work; they are capable of saving lives through their quick response towards medical emergencies. While most paramedics are employed in hospitals, there are also other avenues in which they can find stable positions, such as in fire departments, nursing homes, government agencies and private institutions.
At present, the median annual salary for paramedics and EMTs is between $28,000 and $42,000. Aside from salary earnings, paramedics are also entitled to benefits such as life insurance, paid leaves and retirement pension.
Where They Work
Paramedics can find the best employment opportunities in states such as Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, Alaska, Delaware and New York. They can also land on good jobs in Colorado, and Missouri.
Among the main reasons for these states to be the best places to work at for paramedics is due to the continuous rise of health care facilities, particularly of nursing and retirement homes. In these states, paramedics can expect hourly salary wages ranging between $23.79 and $35.85.
In most health care facilities, paramedics can work on a part-time or full-time basis. They may also work on an on-call contract, particularly when there are medical emergencies that they have to respond to.
Paramedics who are employed in hospital are usually subject to shifting 12-hour schedules, as they have to stand by for medical emergencies that may arrive at any time of the day. Paramedics who are scheduled in the night shift are entitled to night-differential pay, which is an additional percentage to their regular hourly wage.
Paramedics who work on a part-time basis are paid by the hour and are not entitled to benefits (aside from night-differential, if and when they are scheduled on the night shift). They may work for up to six hours a day, instead of the regular 4-hour schedule.
Meanwhile, paramedics and EMTs who work in police and fire departments may have to establish residence in their respective headquarters for most of the week. This way they are always ready to respond to whatever medical emergency that may be called to them.
How to Become A Paramedic
In order to work as a paramedic, the person should first complete a diploma course on emergency medical technician training. Nursing graduates may also work as paramedics as long as they are properly trained to handle medical emergencies.
There are three types of training courses that may be taken up in order to work in this field: EMT-basic, EMT-intermediate, and the Paramedic course. In EMT-basic and EMT-intermediate, students are taught both basic and advanced methods of handling medical emergencies. Paramedic courses meanwhile cover clinical duties and nursing assistance, and such courses are usually offered by community colleges that may last for up to two years.
Graduates of paramedic courses may proceed to higher paramedic positions, while those who have finished EMT courses may start at entry-level positions first before they can be promoted to higher rankings.
Paramedics and EMTs in the United States are required to secure a license to work before they can actually land on a job. Those who attempt to practice these occupations without a valid license may be subject to criminal charges.
Starting EMTs and paramedics may start at entry-level salaries for the first few years. Paramedics who work full-time may advance to better pay after two to three years, while part-time paramedics may have to discuss their salary increase with their employers first. Entry-level paramedics may also earn bigger wages especially when they have graduated from a Paramedic course, as compared to those who have only taken up EMT training courses.
Employment for paramedics and EMTs are expected to increase faster than average until the year 2018. Job opportunities are likely to be good due to the growing health care service industries, such as private ambulance services and newly established hospitals and clinics.
Paramedics are also becoming in demand not only in health care establishments but also in other fields such as sports and entertainment communities. Paramedics are required to be present during games and events that entail physical activity so that they can immediately respond to whatever medical emergency that takes place during the occasion.
Paramedics are also given special ranking positions in government bodies such as the police, fire department, and the armed forces. Paramedics who wish to pursue such positions in these fields may not only receive good compensation, but as well secure a wide range of benefits.