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5 Potential Career Paths for EMTs

If you’re considering entering the healthcare industry, becoming an EMT is a great place to start because it opens doors after only four months of training. Demand for emergency medical services has grown exponentially in recent years. According to one report, the need for EMTs in the country is projected to reach 15% within the next five years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says a job growth rate of 11% from 2020 to 2030 is expected. 

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EMT training opens up a world of opportunities. EMTs can choose to advance and become a paramedic, or they can branch out to other areas in the medical profession, such as nursing or medical assisting.

Career Options for EMTs

EMT training can be a stepping stone to move up the career ladder. Here are some career options for EMTs:

1. Paramedic

For many EMTs, the next step in their career is to become a paramedic. Like an EMT, a paramedic is a medical professional trained to provide emergency treatment. They work together with medical doctors and other health professionals to provide life-saving care for patients until they can get access to appropriate medical treatment. 

While EMTs can help stabilize and transport patients, there are some limitations on what care and treatment they can provide. However, paramedics, since they have more training, can engage in more advanced emergency medical care, such as starting intravenous (IV) lines and managing compromised airways. 

Most paramedics work in the emergency department or ambulances. They can also serve well in different settings, such as cruise ships, air rescue, firefighting teams, special forces, and other private firms. 

2. Registered Nurse

EMTs can also aim to enter the nursing field should they want to advance their career. Becoming a registered nurse (RN) can provide EMTs with a significant increase in their salary, especially since there is a nursing shortage. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5.7 million nurses will be needed by 2030.

Since EMTs have the basic knowledge and skills for patient care, it’s relatively easy for them to transition to a nursing career. EMTs who wish to become nurses can enroll in a bridge program to learn nursing skills, clinical exposure, and the degree required to work as an RN. 

3. Medical Assistant

Working as an EMT can be physically and emotionally taxing. Those who still want to work in the healthcare industry but prefer a more relaxed atmosphere can shift to being a medical assistant. This profession will allow them to continue working in the medical field, apply their basic skills and knowledge, and still enjoy job security. 

Medical assistants are among the most in-demand healthcare professions, with an average job vacancy of 104,400 annually. Medical assistants enjoy greater freedom and flexibility in their working hours while still earning a median annual wage of at least $35,850

While they are technically within the same level in the healthcare industry, most medical assistants undergo a more extensive education pathway. EMTs would usually complete a diploma program from two to eight months, while medical assistants study for ten months at a minimum. 

Since EMTs have an emergency care background, they do well if they choose to become emergency room medical assistants. An EMT background can help in practical skills, while a medical assisting diploma can help strengthen theoretical knowledge. 

4. Emergency Services Educator

EMT training can also be a good background to transition to a career as an emergency services educator. Instructors can use their years of experience to transfer their practical knowledge to EMT students and aspiring EMS providers. As an instructor, they can have a direct hand in designing and implementing training programs in trade schools. 

This is usually the most straightforward transition since there are no additional educational requirements except for having one or more years of field experience. Do note, however, that some employers prefer emergency services educators with a bachelor’s degree. 

5. Physician

An EMT can also aim to become a physician. While it may take them more years of study compared to the other mentioned professions, many EMTs have taken this route. Many EMTs have become successful physicians because they have the necessary training to work under pressure while providing emergency medical care for patients. They also have clinical skills since they work so closely with patients in the field. 

EMTs can explore various career paths and find success. Their EMT training makes them attractive candidates for various healthcare careers—you just need to identify which of these career goals suits you.

If you want to learn more about different healthcare career paths available for you, please visit our programs page. 

Share this with your friends and help them explore their options, as well.