Transitioning From EMT to Paramedic


If you have worked as an EMT and found the career to be the right fit for you, you may want to consider the transition to becoming a paramedic. The primary difference between EMT basics and paramedics is the level of care that each professional is able to provide. Both are “emergency medical technicians” but the training of a paramedic is more extensive requiring more time and effort to accomplish. This is not to minimize the role of the EMT basic, as this level of care is the foundation for the emergency medical technician profession.
Many EMT basics have vast amount of knowledge and experience in emergency care and should be considered true professionals when it comes to emergencies, so long as they maintain their industry level standard of care and continue their education. They have the same responsibility of continuing their education as any other health care professionals.
Some EMT basics prefer not to take on the additional training and responsibility as a paramedic. Transitioning to a paramedic can be costly, very time consuming and comes with much more responsibility. The biblical saying, “To whom much is given, much is required.” is indeed a very true statement. It certainly is not for everyone, and EMT basics that choose to stay at the basic level of care should never feel inferior for doing so.
For those that choose to transition to the paramedic level, I have a few recommendation.
1. Get some experience as an EMT
Experienced EMT basics make for strong Paramedics. In addition, it is wise to actually work on an ALS unit with a paramedic. This will give you invaluable experience that will help smooth the transition.
2. Continue your education
Your academic level will certainly determine how you handle a paramedic program. Subjects like medical dosage calculations; pathophysiology and pharmacology can be grueling if you have never been exposed to them. Paramedic students who already have at least an associate’s degree handle the program much better then those without this education. This is not to say that you can’t do well without a degree, but it is to say that the more academically prepared for the program you are the better you will do.
3. Make sure you money’s right
You should be financially prepared for paramedic school. It is generally a 12 to 18 month full time program. If your budget is small, be sure to think ahead about how you are going to pay your bills and be very detailed with you financial plan. Running out of money during paramedic school can stop you in your tracks.
4. Want it for the right reason’s
Everyone is not cut out to be a care provider. You may have some experience, be educated and well financed, but that really is only half of what it is about. Knowing what to do and actually caring are about it are two different things. If your primary objective is to improve your career status and increase your income then I would seriously encourage you to look into another career. There are a lot of ways to make money. However, when it comes to health “care” you won’t ever be a truly great professional if you don’t truly care about your neighbor.

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