Interested in becoming a Paramedic or EMT?


December 14, 2021 | Category: News

When considering a career, who better to talk to than the professionals that do each specific job for a living? We’ve asked four of our associates to help you decide if becoming an EMT or Paramedic may be just the thing you’ve been searching for. Read their stories below:

I have been doing this the better part of 21 years. I started in fire service the day I turned 14 after seeing some other family members serving our community. I have seen all aspects of emergency services from firefighting and first responder to getting my EMT and now a Paramedic. I have worked other aspects of the 911 system as a County 911 Dispatcher and as an emergency room patient care tech. I’ve realized no job is too small or too big to work as a team and get it done. I have gained more family knowing that we come to care for each other more than I ever thought I would when I started this journey, but I would not change it for anything. Here are my tips and skills that I feel would help someone interested in the industry:

  1. Willingness to show compassion and know that every patient matters no matter the size of the emergency to them this could be their worst day.
  2. Critical thinking plays a big part in our day to day lives. We can go from having absolutely no care in the world to making life or death decisions about a complete stranger. We must remember that everybody is somebodies’ family.
  3. Realize that we all have good and bad days. We may face some of our fears and see things that nobody should ever have to see in a lifetime and the next day we save a life and realize all over again what we are here for and why we do what we do.
  4. Never stop learning and listening to people’s stories from the past, it may help your future.
  5. Always make time for hobbies and family and a life outside of work and make every attempt to not bring work home with you.

Day to day we come into work and check our truck never knowing what each day has in store for us. Will it be a long and boring day, or will it be a day of weird calls and saving lives? Together, we make jokes and laugh when we can, and we are there for each other in our sadness as well. We have one of the strongest support systems because every one of your coworkers understands what you are currently going through. We do this job because we love to make a difference not only in our community but in each and every person we meet along this journey.

I have been a paramedic for a little over three years. I started my paramedic career in Williamsport, PA, through a college program and subsequently worked in a local company for two years. In 2020, I transitioned to Cetronia Ambulance Corps in Allentown, PA, where my skills and knowledge have continued to grow. Prior to becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT), I had little exposure to emergency medical services (EMS). The thought of carrying so much responsibility initially intimidated me; however, as I completed my EMT course, I became comfortable with my scope of practice and learned what resources were available to assist me. Now, while practicing as a paramedic, I have many opportunities to maintain my training which has built confidence. In unusual cases, I know I have a support system behind me, including consulting physicians.

I love the position because it requires adaptability. I have learned to leave my expectations at the door when I clock in at work. We are first responders, which means there is no way to know when the next emergency will be or what kind of problems we will encounter. After three years of fulltime work, I still have “firsts”. Recently, I performed a chest needle decompression, an advanced skill I have practiced for years, but had never deployed in the field. Because of the variety of cases, the position provides ongoing growth.

To anyone considering a certification in EMS, my advice is, “Go for it!” The skills and experience involved in the certification are worthwhile, even if you only work clinically for a short time. Due to a national shortage of first responders in all capacities, many volunteer fire departments and EMS agencies have resources to assist you in obtaining training or arranging a ride-along. Do not hesitate due to lack of knowledge; the training will prepare you. If you stay humble and avoid complacency, you will make an excellent first responder.

I started as an EMT as soon as I graduated high school in 2015 and continued to work holidays and breaks while I pursued my bachelor’s degree in Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. The junior year of the program was entirely dedicated to the paramedic course, and I received my national certification in 2018. I continued to work part time as a paramedic in Pittsburgh until I graduated in 2019 and returned to Cetronia where I’ve worked as a full-time paramedic since. My career plans include pursuing medical school and becoming a future emergency department physician.

I would say that the most important qualities in somebody looking to become a paramedic or EMT is that they must have a genuine desire to help others. The day-to-day job is not always as glamorous as television makes it out to be, but at the end of the day the members of our community count on us on what is sometimes the worst days of their lives to help them, and if that isn’t what brings somebody satisfaction then it’s unlikely that the rest of the job will seem worthwhile.

Versatility is also incredibly important for being successful in EMS. Your education provides you with the foundational knowledge for how to care for your patients, but at the end of the day there will never be two identical patient encounters. Every call requires some degree of situational improvisation and being able to use the tools you have available in order to provide your patient with the best care possible is a must.

Career advancement has many different paths that virtually all begin at the level of EMT, so the first step is to enroll in a basic EMT program to get introduced to the field. From there, working as an EMT creates a strong foundation for patient care that can be built upon and works well as a precursor to a variety of different healthcare related careers. Some options include furthering your education in pre-hospital care and becoming a paramedic or pre-hospital RN or transitioning into a hospital as a nurse, PA, or physician. There are also fewer common routes such as working as a ski patroller or with the national park service where having a foundation as an EMT can be beneficial.

I have been in EMS for 4 years, and I started in EMS at 16 years old as a Volunteer Emergency Medical Responder (EMR). I became an EMT at 18 years old during my senior year of high school. I have been working in EMS full time for a little over 2 years now, and I wouldn’t trade for the world!

Three tips I would give someone who wants to become an EMT or Paramedic:

1- Don’t do it for the money. If you do it for the money, you’re in the wrong profession.

2- You need to be able to keep your composure in bad situations. EMTs & paramedics go into some really bad life & death situations sometimes. If you had been in a really scary situation and weren’t able to think straight or keep your composure, EMS is not for you. And that’s OK because EMS isn’t for everyone.

3- You must have a heart for people. You will be invited to people’s worst moments, and if you’re not the type of person to have a heart of compassion and empathy to be there for someone, even when they can come off disrespectful or rude because of what they are currently going through; EMS is not for you.

Think you may be interested in a career in EMS? Reach out to us to find out more.