If you want to help people and make a decent living while doing it, there are few more exciting paths than being an Emergency Medical Technician, commonly referred to as an EMT. As an EMT, you are one of the first medical personnel on the scene when someone is having a serious health issue, and you have the responsibility of getting them to a medical center where they can be more fully treated. If you are interested in this line of work, you might not know how to go about it. Use the following guide to help you reach that goal.
First, Take Care of Prerequisites
In order to be licensed as an EMT, you will need some basic things before you can continue on. While it is different for every state, most of the time if you are interested in being an EMT, you may be asked to have:
- a driver's license in good standing
- a clean background check
- high school diploma or GED
- US Citizenship
Be sure to find out what your state requires from your local EMT department so that you can get yourself in order before you apply for an EMT position.
Next, Find the Right EMT Course
You may not know this, but many states have a number of different levels of EMTs. When you are just starting out, it is important that you search for the basic EMT course that will qualify you to sit for the licensing exam.
Once you are sure that a course will cover what you need to know for the exam, it's time to investigate other aspects of that particular course. Is it taught by current or former EMTs? Will you be going on so-called 'ride-alongs' with an EMT so that you can get real-world experience? If so, how many hours will that be? The answers to questions like these will help guide you to the best course for your needs.
Prepare For and Pass the Certification Exam
Passing the certification exam will allow you to receive an official license that is critical if you want to work as an EMT. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, or NREMT, offers certification exams throughout the year, so it should be easy for you to select to a date that will give you adequate preparation time.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that you only need to sit in class to pass the certification exam. It may be harder than you expect, so it is a smart idea to work on a few practice questions a week so that you can get a feel for how the questions are asked and what the test is asking you. You can find practice questions online at various EMT training sites or you can pick up a prep book at any bookstore.
Now that you have a better idea of how to become an EMT in your area, be sure to talk to your local EMT service to get more suggestions about how to proceed.