With The EMT Vs Paramedic Debate, It’s About The Length Of The Training

EMT vs paramedicEMTs and paramedics are both highly trained healthcare professionals who undergo rigorous training programs at accredited EMT training schools or medical training centers. People are often confused about the two; and when it comes to an EMT vs paramedic, they want to know about their job specifications, their training, their uniforms, their salaries and so on; are they the same or are they different?

When it comes to the nitty gritty, it depends on which level of EMT you are talking about, because there are different categories of EMT – basic, intermediate and paramedic, and the EMT-P is the same thing as a Paramedic. They have the most training and can also offer the most care for ill and injured patients. The EMT-B, when compared to the paramedic is restricted by what they are licensed to do.

Is The Paramedic More Favored Than The EMT?

When it comes to prestige, people want to know if the one if favored over the other one and how much more does a paramedic earn than a EMT. Both of them play a fantastic role in responding to emergencies, but the paramedic is more experienced than the EMT. They both attend to the sick, injured and dying at an accident scene. When it comes to the difference between the two, the main difference is the amount of training they get, and their scope of practice.

They both undergo pretty similar training, but to become a paramedic, you will have to receive more intense training; in fact the paramedic undergoes far more training than the EMT, completing up to 1800 hours of training as compared to 150 hours with the EMT. The eligibility requirements for EMT and paramedic courses varies from college to college. It takes about four months to become certified as an EMT-Basic and from there about fourteen months of training to complete the requirements for certification as a Paramedic.

The Paramedic Pierces Skin, The EMT Not

EMT and paramedic careers have a much broader scope of practice when compared to EMT-basic careers. Paramedics are allowed to pierce the skin, while the basic EMT is not permitted to in their scope of practice. Paramedics can give injections and also use advanced airway management devices to help support the patient’s breathing. Depending on which state the paramedic finds themselves, they are trained to be able to administer about forty different medications whereas basic EMT’s are far more limited to what they may administer to patients.

Employment Opportunities For EMTs And Paramedics

Job prospects for EMTs and Paramedics exist in different sectors, but most times you will see EMTs and Paramedics employed by public and private ambulance companies, but other job opportunities exist in hospitals as well as other industries. Job prospects abroad for these careers are equally good. The chance of earning particularly good money which is tax-free lures paramedics and EMTs to many different countries like the Middle East for instance. Apart from the earning capacity, there are often other perks as well.

EMT vs Paramedic In Terms Of Salary

Salaries for EMTs and Paramedics varies according to employer as well as the area they are operating in, however it makes more sense that with the increase in responsibilities with a paramedic, there also comes that chance to make more money. Currently EMT-Basics get about $30,000 per year, while Paramedics start at about $40,000 per year.

The world is becoming a much more dangerous place; there are so many people, and lawless ones at that, that accidents are inevitable. The need for EMTs and paramedics is better than ever and there is always going to be a need for their help. All levels of EMTs will need to be educated to provide a basic level of emergency medical treatment.

Training Is Much The Same

EMT TrainingTo be eligible for enrolment into an EMT course you don’t require previous medical experience but you need to be at least 18 years of age. Becoming an EMT is the first step to becoming a paramedic. Each course has its own medical and academic requirements, and there are some courses that may require you to submit proof of certain immunizations against particular diseases. The level of training is certainly different too, with paramedic training being far more advanced than for the EMT. Basic training for EMTs offers instruction on things like airway obstructions and allergic reactions for instance, and paramedics also get training in these areas; only the training is far more intense. Their training courses for both are made up of lectures, hands on skills and clinical and field internships. You will see them working hand in hand together at accident scenes, in ambulances, helicopters and hospitals. Both the EMT and the paramedic wear a uniform, and these are pretty similar looking which can also add to the confusion.


Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs are the most common type of providers in the field of emergency medical services. EMTs are sometimes referred to as EMT-Basics and the training they receive is the stepping stone to other wonderful medical careers. The EMT-Basic is also allowed to transport patients and provide them with emergency care, just like the paramedic. One of the most significant differences between the EMT and the paramedic is that the EMT is not permitted to offer any treatments where the skin is pierced.

Paramedics are advanced providers of emergency medical care and those entering the field of emergency services who do not hold EMT certification, will first need to complete an Emergency Medical Services Certification program, or EMT-Basic educational program. On top of their EMT training they go on to learn even more skills like providing advanced airway management for patients, resuscitation as well as being able to administer medications.

Paramedic Degree Programs

Paramedic degree programs include lectures, computer-aided training modules and hands-on activities. Getting to know emergency response care, physical assessment, cardiology., maths, advanced trauma, communications, PC applications and anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and trauma are all part of their training. Paramedics doing an online degree course will need to complete hands-on training at an approved medical center.

Advanced paramedic programs pay more attention to the development of paramedic knowledge, practical skills applications as well as leadership skills. Paramedics who only complete the first level of a paramedic study program will be known as first responders, and there are certain duties that they will not be able to assume. Some of the jobs they will be allowed to assume in the scope of their practice includes assessing the patient, assisting other EMTs and paramedics, as well as managing basic emergency care duties.

Those who are not satisfied with the fact that there are limitations to what they may do, can go on and complete the EMT-II and EMT-III programs because then they will be able to administer medication, transfer the patient from the ambulance to their hospital bed, and also offer respiratory and cardiac care.

Critical Care Paramedics perform inter health care facility transports, moving critically ill patients from one clinic to another, sometimes by helicopter. They are trained in all common aspects of critical care assessment and management, and their degree programs are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation on Educational Programs of the Emergency Medical Services Professions or CoAESMP.

Certification Needed For Both EMT And Paramedic

To become an EMT or a paramedic, there are certain steps to comply with and these often vary according to the state you are in. Both the paramedic and EMT must apply for certification. They must also pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians – NREMT, EMT, or Paramedic computer based exam.

Paramedics actually start out as EMTs, and to get certification as a paramedic, you will need to have started with basic training as an EMT-Basic. In some states the EMT Intermediate Level follows although this has been done away with in some states. If you are wanting to become a paramedic, the best way is to first do the basic EMT training followed by some field experience to learn how things are done on the job. From there you go on to the Intermediate EMT, and once you have achieved this the next step is certification as a paramedic.


ParamedicsParamedics are the highest skilled pre-hospital provider. As licensed healthcare professionals the health care they provide is equal to that of what goes on in an emergency room. The paramedic also has to complete written documentation on the state of the patient and what treatment was provided. To do this they need to understand all legal, moral and ethical issues surrounding emergency medical service. Their judgment of critical situations is superb and they are able to prioritize decisions and act quickly, functioning independently in sometimes chaotic environments. The paramedic must be able to remain calm while working in difficult and stressful situations, and stay focused while assuming the leadership role inherent in carrying out the functions of the position. Some of the care they provide are:

  • advanced airway management
  • EKG monitoring
  • manual defibrillation
  • external transcutaneous pacing
  • IV fluid therapy
  • intraosseus infusions
  • needle chest decompressions
  • administration of a wide array of critical care medications


EMTs functions as a primary care providers in the pre-hospital setting. The EMT is responsible for all aspects of care provided to the sick and injured. The EMT, similar to the paramedic, also provides basic life support, including patient assessment, airway management, use of the automatic defibrillator and assisting patients with taking some of their own medications. The EMT works under the direction of a Paramedic and is actually filling somewhat of a support role, doing nearly everything the paramedic does, just to a lesser degree. The EMT, just like the paramedic, has to have excellent judgment and be able to prioritize, knowing which things are more important to attend to first. Just like the paramedic, they also need to remain calm while working in stressful situations. EMTs and paramedics often work as a team, and for this reason the EMT needs excellent verbal communication skills.

Online Courses For EMTs And Paramedics

Both EMT’s and paramedics are provided with a wide array of educational opportunities online. Percom for instance is the home of Online EMS Education Solutions and their courses means you can get started as soon as you have completed the registration process. Thereafter you finish the course at you own pace. Their online EMT Basic Course is the starting point for a challenging but rewarding career in EMS. Anybody who has already achieved the EMT Basic level can enter directly into the Online EMT Intermediate / Advanced Course which is the Paramedic 1 course.

Online paramedic and EMT programs generally can run anything between several weeks to two years long, dependent on the state you are living in. The courses cover subjects relevant to every training level and Internet tools such as streaming audio and video, PowerPoint presentations, email and interactive chat rooms are used. With advances in technology, the range of accredited online EMT and paramedic programs are increasing, making it ever easier for pursue further education. Some of the online courses include things like Ambulance Operations which covers ways to outfit and service ambulances as well as advice on how to safely drive an emergency vehicle. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR is another course which is aimed toward EMTs seeking either CPR certification or re-certification. Medical and Legal Issues is another course which handles the potential legal consequences that EMTs and paramedics will face when they either misdiagnose or they carry out treatment outside their scope of practice and face disciplinary action.


Both paramedics and EMT’s online training is not complete without a good deal of practical and hands on training and provision is made for EMTs and paramedics to so their clinical and practicals at a specified campus closest to them.


With regards to the EMT vs Paramedic debate, there are differences and there are similarities. The main point is that both of these emergency medical workers are there to help us in our hour of peril, and with their accredited training, we can know we are in safe, trusted and reliable hands.

Leave a Reply