EMT vs. Paramedic

What is the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic? Many of the TV shows that are popular…

What is the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic?

Many of the TV shows that are popular today feature EMT’s and Paramedics who perform the duties of their jobs with utmost professionalism. Therefore just about everyone is familiar with these terms that describe the work of men and women who operate ambulances and bring help to the sick and the injured. The uniforms are easily identifiable in scenes of natural disasters or accidents of all kinds where these people are administering to the medical needs before transporting patients to the hospital. There is a difference between the work performed by an EMT and a paramedic and some people are not sure what the difference is between the two jobs.

The main difference between an EMT and a paramedic is the certifications that each one holds. The most common is the EMT, which means Emergency Medical Technician. These are the entry-level care providers and there are two certifications in this position – EMT-1 and EMT. EMT-1 is the first certification and then a person moves on to become an EMT. People with these qualifications provide emergency care to patients and are quite skilled in their work.  A paramedic is a higher level of certification than an EMT.

The difference between EMT and Paramedic

The work performed by both EMT’s and Paramedics is the same in providing first responder treatment to patients in medical emergencies. The main difference between the two classifications lies in the training and certification that these workers have and therefore in the ways in which they are permitted to treat patients.

An EMT has to take between 120 and 150 hours of training but that which is required for the paramedic designation is lengthier with between 1200 and 1800 hours of training.  Both are trained in CPR, the administration of oxygen and glucose and the treatment of allergies and asthma, but EMT’s are not permitted to administer any treatment that would involve breaking the skin. They are not permitted to use needles. This is the duty of paramedics who have to take more courses dealing with anatomy, physiology, cardiology and medications than do EMT’s. They therefore build upon the skills gained in EMT training and learn more advanced treatment techniques.


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