The Differences Between an EMT and a Paramedic


The Differences Between an EMT and a Paramedic

Photo : The Differences Between an EMT and a Paramedic

Emergency medical services consist of many different teams with professionals trained on different levels. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) are the most common of the emergency medical providers. They usually respond to 911 calls and provide lifesaving first aid to patients before transporting them to the hospital. Paramedics are also dispatched for emergencies and 911 calls but they are trained more extensively than EMTs. 

It might seem like EMTs and paramedics are the same, but there are important distinctions. If you're thinking about becoming either of the first responders, you should know the difference between the two to make the right decision and get the proper education. Here are some of the differences.

Training Requirements

One of the main differences lies in the training that EMTs and paramedics receive.  EMTs are considered to be entry-level patient care providers. They receive basic training, but this does not detract from their importance, as the procedures they learn can save lives. EMT training can be completed in about 150 hours. They need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification which you can get from institutes like Lifesaver Education. Along with this certification, the path to becoming an EMT also involves learning other basic life-saving medical procedures. This education is the foundation for all medical professionals. Some of the procedures can also be learnt by the public as they can help avoid preventable deaths.

Paramedics, on the other hand, are advanced emergency medical care providers. They are the highest level of EMT certification. In addition to the training that EMTs receive, paramedics need to complete an extensive training that might take a year or two. They might also need to undertake work experience.

Scope of Practice

EMTs cannot perform any procedures that break the skin such as those including injections or IVs, but they can do procedures such as CPR and help patients by treating an asthma or allergy attack, and giving them oxygen. 

The scope of practice is broader for paramedics. They can administer medications, start IVs, resuscitate patients who have had a heart attack or suffered from other trauma, and provide airway management. 

Emergency Response

Both EMTs and paramedics are dispatched to respond to emergencies and 911 calls. Both teams might be dispatched together in order to provide a patient with a full range of care. Paramedics and EMTs might also be assigned to transport patients from one facility to another.


Paramedics earn more than EMTs since they are more qualified. Paramedics salary differs from state to state. If salary is a deciding factor for you, you should research the state you want to practice in.

When you're thinking about if you should become an EMT or a paramedic, you should know that both careers are rewarding and offer good pay and job security. Both are first responders who need to be quick and they usually have busy days. EMTs have a limited scope of practice and work under the supervision of a physician. There are more paramedics than EMTs in the emergency medical services. Make sure you research the courses and look at your goals before you decide on a path. You can always upskill from being an EMT to being a paramedic.

© 2024 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
* This is a contributed article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics