HEALTH ON WHEELS
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Become an EMT or Paramedic

"When the emergency call comes in and the sirens ring out, the margin of error is essentially zero.  Lives are on the line and Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics are often the first to the scene and the last line of defense against a tragedy.  The pressure might be daunting, but the reality is that people's lives depend on the speedy, competent care that EMT's and Paramedics provide." - Nathan Hellman, US News

With an increase in the country's aging population, the need for EMS providers is going to grow at a rapid rate.  As public health and safety services across the country prepare for this projected growth, the demand for EMT's and Paramedics will be at an all-time high.  The Bureau of Labbor Statisitcs estimates a 33% employment growth for EMT and Paramedics between 2010 and 2020, adding over 75,000 more jobs across the country in this field.  In addition to pursing a career in pre-hospital emergency medical services, EMT and Paramedic training is also frequently used as a stepping stone for those wishing to become doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in the future.

To become a certified EMT in Pennsylvania, you must be at least 16 years of age. The EMT training course is approximately 140 hours and includes both classroom and practical lab scenarios. Upon successful competition of the course, you must pass the state written and practical examination in order to obtain your certification. In Pennsylvania, EMT certification is valid for three years. EMT’s are trained to perform general patient assessments and provide emergency care including:

  •  Bleeding control
  • Spinal immboilization
  • Oxygen administration
  • AED usage
  • Complex immobilization procedures
  • Airway management
  • Assist in the administration of certain medications
  • CPR

To become a Paramedic in Pennsylvania, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid EMT and CPR certification. The Paramedic course varies from 14 months – 2 years, depending on whether the student chooses a certification or degree program, and includes components from classroom lecture, practical labs, in-hospital clinical experience and a field internship.  Paramedics are trained to perform all of the skills as an EMT plus:

  •  Advanced patient assessment
  •  Airway management
  •  Intravenous fluid therapy
  •  Trauma management
  •  Pharmacology
  •  Cardiology
  •  Other life-saving medical skills

More information and a schedule of EMT or Paramedic classes can be found at the George E. Moerkirk Emergency Medicine Institute.