Emergency Medical Technician Career Profile

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) serve the community by providing emergency responses to medical situations. Once at the scene, EMTs provide the initial medical treatment received by patients. The work done by EMTs is on a 24 hour basis, around the clock and in all areas.

The work environment

EMTs work in highly efficient organizations which are geared to providing emergency services on a mobile, fast response basis. The work is comprised of incident responses dealing with whatever situations arise. EMTs are fully qualified health technicians, able to operate a range of systems in their vehicles. They're not equipped to the same level as an ambulance service or to perform those duties, but are able to provide a wide range of treatments onsite.

Some of the incidents EMTs deal with on a daily basis are:

  • Road accidents
  • Domestic or work related medical emergencies
  • Sporting event injuries
  • Local emergency services, dealing with medical situations relating to fires, earthquakes, floods, drowning, asphyxiation, terrorist or crime incidents.

This is a demanding work environment, requiring considerable personal dedication and commitment. EMT work is all go, all the time. A daily work routine may involve attending several incidents, providing onsite treatment to seriously injured or sick people. Physical work environments may involve a range of local conditions, from indoor medical treatment to working at the scene of an accident or shooting. The human element in their work can include working with mentally unstable or dysfunctional people, shock cases, and dealing with concerned parties regarding incidents.

Hours of work are usually shifts constructed on a roster or contract basis. In major emergencies it may be necessary for EMTs to work double shifts, to make up numbers on the ground. In some cases, off-shift workers may be called in to large emergencies.

Salary and wages vary. The average base salary is $25,000 up to $40,000 depending on grade, experience, qualifications and employer packages. Management levels and supervisor salaries are more variable, with the top of the range up to about $60,000. These are public sector jobs, so salaries are often subject to state budget provisions and employment conditions. In some cases senior staff is employed on executive level contracts.

The career environment

EMTs progress through a range of formal qualifications as a primary career structure, much like graduates. The advanced training in medical and operational systems they receive in-house is also a significant element in their qualifications. The other major element in baseline career progression is experience. Only qualified, experienced EMTs can really do the higher level field jobs.

The next tier of career progression is organizational management, which requires formal training, either in business management of appropriate types or public administration. The individual's experience as an EMT is an additional asset in promotion in operational areas. Command level EMT work requires thorough understanding of the role of EMTs in the field, and a comprehensive understanding of operational issues, resource management and dealing with demanding situations.