Emergency Medical Technician Career Trends

When a crisis strikes, the emergency medical technician is often the first person on the scene to deal with it. These highly skilled workers literally deal in matters of life and death. Those looking for a job with plenty of excitement and responsibility will find one in a career as an EMT. We'll take a look at current trends in the industry.

Employment Prospects

There is always a need for someone skilled in life-saving medical techniques, so the need for emergency medical technicians will not "dry up." However, the level of skill an EMT has can be a determining factor in getting employment. EMTs at the basic level will not be in demand as much as paramedics, who are EMTs with the most advanced training. Paramedics have more education and stricter licensing requirements than basic EMTs. There are also intermediate-level EMTs whose skill set is between basic and paramedic levels. The EMT with the most education and certification will be most in demand and also earn more.

The demand for trained EMTs is expected to remain high in large metropolitan areas. There are often openings in big cities as EMTs move to other careers or suffer burnout. The stress level is high for any EMT, but in great cities like New York or Los Angeles, it is a constant fact of everyday activity. In rural or remote areas, many EMTs are volunteers or work on a part-time basis. Mid-sized cities provide a full-time schedule but do not have the high incident levels of large cities.

In general, employment prospects for EMTs are good and should continue to improve as our society continues to age.

Increase in Training

A very noticeable trend in the world of the emergency medical technician is an increase in the amount of training needed for the job. New forms of portable technology, such as mobile EKGs and cardiopulmonary equipment, require extra education to make sure all EMTs are well versed in their usage. There are also changes in regulations and procedures that require constant retraining. With all the extra cost involved in this education, volunteer or part-time EMTs are starting to fall by the wayside. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Overcrowding and Budgetary Concerns

Emergency departments nationwide are becoming overcrowded as people live longer, and this has had a definite impact on emergency medical technicians. EMTs are now finding themselves rerouted to different hospitals and medical facilities when the "home" facility is full. This results in a lot of extra expenses for both private and public sector EMTs and puts a lot of strain on emergency medical departments. Because of longer trips and waits for open emergency rooms, EMTs are being forced to provide more treatment themselves. This is another reason highly trained paramedics are in such high demand.

Although employment for EMTs will remain steady, the budgetary pinch affecting almost every community as of 2010 will keep EMT earnings fairly flat. Almost 50 percent of EMTs are employed by private ambulance services, and this number is expected to stay level or increase slightly.