When Stephen Varanko III decided to become an EMT, he made a decision that would change his life. Career of an EMT is incredibly rewarding and inspiring. As an EMT, you will be expected to take action and think on your feet, dealing with true life and death situations. The job of an EMT is not one for the faint of heart and most EMTs will tell you that they were born for it. They must be able to cope under tremendous pressure and make stressful decisions in an instant.

Stephen Varanko III on Becoming a Paramedic

There are different EMT certification levels for someone who wants to become professionally involved in this career. Exactly what those levels are varies depending on the geographical area you reside in. Sometimes, fewer than four levels are available. What is the same across the board, however, is that your level of responsibility and your level of pay will increase with each level of training.

The levels, broadly speaking, are:

  1. The EMT First Responder. This means that you will play a crucial role in all the emergency calls that come in and you will be responsible to evaluate what is going on very quickly. As a first responder, you are likely to be trained in CPR, using defibrillators, applying splints and bandages, and help with emergency childbirth. Your main role will be to stabilize a patient so that they can be transported to hospital. Typically, the training will take 46 hours to complete and you will be expected to already hold CPR training. Additionally, you will have to complete an examination of between 80 and 110 questions. A field work assessment may also be required.
  2. The EMT Basic, which goes one step further. Besides the duties of the first responder, they can also administer epinephrine and nitroglycerine. These are drugs that can handle cardiac arrests and anaphylactic shocks in particular. The EMT basic stabilizes patients in more life threatening situations, therefore. Usually, there will be an examination of 70 to 100 questions to complete, as well as a psychomotor evaluation. Training is between 140 to 160 hours to complete.
  3. The EMT Advanced, which is sometimes called the EMT Intermediary. Within this level, there are often two sub levels depending on geographical location. You will have the same responsibilities as the basic, but you will also learn to administer pediatric ventilatory management, IV lines, shock management, bleeding control, ECGs, and cardiac arrests. You will have to answer around 150 questions and pass another psychomotor assessment. You will also have to learn about physiology and anatomy. Training usually takes around 250 hours.
  4. The EMT Paramedic, which is the most advanced degree of training. It involves all of the above training and more. As a paramedic, you will be responsible for saving lives. This will require you to be trained in around 40 medications, resuscitation techniques, and crisis assessments. You will often be the first on the scene, which means you will have to make on the spot decisions that could save someone’s life. You will need to complete and 80 to 120 question test, a psychomotor test, and around 1,500 hours of training.