There are careers that have people wondering their whole lives if they made a difference. It’s safe to say that individuals working in emergency medical services (EMS) – don’t have that problem. EMS workers are our first responders and include: firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. And while each of these EMS careers involves responding to emergency situations; the level of care provided by an EMS worker varies depending on the position and also the specific guidelines in that state. The two roles most commonly confused roles in EMS, are the EMT and the Paramedic. Both roles provide vital support in emergency situations but it’s important to be aware of the distinctions between the two, especially if you are considering pursuing an EMS career. So, if this is you, keep reading while we explore the differences between the EMT and paramedic.

Training and scope of work – Perhaps the two primary differences between the EMT and Paramedic are – the level and scope of training, and the medical procedures each is allowed to perform after their training.

EMT programs typically consist of 120-150 hours of training and are more basic in nature. Students learn to administer oxygen, perform CPR, basic first aid and emergency treatment for things like allergies, asthma and other similar emergencies. An EMT is typically not allowed to use needles or perform services that involve breaking the skin with the exception of administering an epi-pen for emergency allergic reactions.

Paramedic programs, however, are usually between 1,200 – 1,800 hours long. Paramedics receive advanced medical training and learn a diverse range of skills from administering intravenous fluids and shots, to advanced airway management techniques and resuscitation. Many paramedics begin their careers as EMTs and go on to build on their existing skill sets to become paramedics.

Licensing requirements – All states require both EMTs and paramedics to be licensed and in the state of Florida and many other states; to be eligible for national EMS certification or reciprocity in other states, graduates must complete a program that is accredited by Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP). Graduates of programs that are not accredited by CoAEMSP will only be recognized on a state level as certified. Being eligible for national EMS certification can open the door to so many more opportunities in multiple states, so accreditation is key!

If you’re looking for a career that excites you and also makes a difference in people’s lives, working in EMS offers both and a whole lot more! With the demand for qualified EMTs and paramedics at an all-time high and predicted job growth of as much as 18.9%, by 2026 in Florida alone – it’s a great time to join the elite team of EMS professionals who show up when you need them the most. If you’re ready to take the first step, you should check out the EMS program at City College! Offered at 5 different campus locations across Florida, the City College EMS program is helping students get the hands-on training and skills they need to deliver life-saving support in a variety of emergency situation. Fully accredited by CAAHEP and recommended for accreditation by CoAEMSP, the EMS program encompasses both EMT training and paramedic courses and is designed to prepare graduates for the real world of EMS. Contact City College today to learn more or to schedule a tour of a campus near you!