Being an EMT


What is an EMT-Basic?

An EMT-Basic (EMT-B) is a person who has:

  1. Taken and passed a "CPR for Healthcare Providers" course, based on either the Red Cross or American Heart Association curriculum.
  2. Taken a state-approved, 110 hour EMT-B course based on the U.S. Department of Transportation EMT-B curriculum and passed with a final grade of 70 or more
  3. Passed the state written certification examination with a score of 70 or more
  4. Passed all of the stations of the state practical examination

The EMT-B course teaches initial evaluation, treatment and transport of patients with medical problems and/or trauma. Students learn to recognize and provide initial care for ailments like shock, heart problems, breathing problems, strokes, burns, diabetes, drowning and accidents.

EMT-Basics are the foundation of American prehospital Emergency Medical Care. For medical emergencies, they provide rapid response, initial evaluation and care, and transport to an appropriate medical facility. They also provide transport between facilities for people who are bedridden and/or require continuous monitoring and care.

Why take an EMT course?

A common reason that a person would take an EMT-Basic course is so that they can become certified and work full time on an ambulance. Some people take the course to work part time on an ambulance. Not all people who take the course work on ambulances.

Some people take the course because they might be a first responder (police officer, fire fighter) looking for more knowledge. Other people might take the course because they want to work as a police officer or fire fighter and are about to take a civil service exam (in MA being a certified EMT-Basic is 1 extra point on your civil service exam score!).

Other people may take the course because they will be part of an emergency response team at their current job or to volunteer for services like the American Red Cross. Some people take the course to have second job or work in a hospital. Some people take this course because it is worth a certain number of college credits.

What are my job options once I become a certified EMT-Basic ?

Once you have completed the course and successfully passed the state written and practical exam you will be a certified EMT. Once you receive your certification you can then work as an EMT.

People may work as an EMT in different ways. Some people will choose to work "in the streets". This might be in an emergency setting by working for a city or town's EMS provider. There are cities and towns who hire private ambulance services to provide EMS for their areas. This may be a great way to get right into "the streets". Some areas use the fire or police departments as their EMS provider. In these situations you would need to be an employee of that department, so you may have to take civil service exams to be hired.

Some people may choose to work as an EMT in a "non-emergency" role. This is usually accomplished by working for a private ambulance service that deals with mostly transfers from facility to facility. There are also some hospitals that hire EMT's to work in the emergency room setting.

There is also the chance to work as a volunteer in some places, such as working for the American Red Cross. Every area is a little different so there may be more or less opportunities in your area. We would be glad to help you find out what exists in your area.

Will I be certified after I take the course?

NO. This course will prepare you to take the state of Massachusetts written and practical exam. Upon successful completion of the course (a course average of 70% or higher, and successfully completing all practical skills) the student can apply to take the state exam. Only the state of Massachusetts can certify a student as an EMT. The state requires a score of 70% on the written exam, and successfully passing all 4 stations of the practical exam.


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