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EMT Basic Training – Description, Cost And Difference With Paramedics

emt basic training

Have you ever been in an emergency, or been with someone as they were going through an emergency, that made you to call 911 or get immediate help?

If so, then you are probably familiar with the term “EMT,” which stands for Emergency Medical Technician.

Regardless of whether you had to catch a ride in an ambulance to medical providers, or the medical providers came to you, there was likely an EMT there anyways.

This is because part of being an Emergency Medical Technician, or, EMT, is to be one of the first responders to any emergency, whether it be emergency medical care, injuries, hazardous material exposures, fires, childbirth, and even child abuse and psychiatric crises.

Overall, an EMT is there in your most critical times of need, and that’s why they are so important.

Because of the vital role they play in the medical field, if you have ever considered becoming an Emergency Medical Technician, then hold onto that thought and give it some more consideration.

However, like any other job in the world, there is a specific process to becoming an EMT and receiving that certification you need.  And one of the most crucial steps in the process is going through EMT Basic Training.

But before you take this first step toward your future career as an Emergency Medical Technician, let’s dig a bit deeper into the real job of an EMT, what sets them apart from other emergency first responders, how to become one, and how much you’re looking at spending for EMT Basic Training.

What Is An EMT And What Do They Do?

EMT's assisting collapsed patient

Before going into any further detail about how to become an EMT, it is important to stop and answer one of the most important questions you could have: what exactly is an EMT, and what all do they do?

As I said earlier, EMT stands for “Emergency Medical Technician,” and it is their job to be one of the several first responders to practically any emergency or crisis.

As an Emergency Medical Technician, you’d be working with almost every type of emergency, from serious medical conditions and injuries, to psychological crises and child abuse.

Some Emergency Medical Technicians are in charge of only transportation of the critically ill and injured patients to hospitals, paramedics, and physicians, as well as the immediate treatment they need to hold them over for the time it takes to get there.  They can also serve as an assistant to these other medical professionals when it comes to treating the patient. However, all of these things are dependent on where the EMT works.

The responsibilities of Emergency Medical Technicians haven’t always been this numerous and broad, however.

In the past, Emergency Medical Technicians were actually thought of only as ambulance drivers, or seen merely as an assistant to nurses, paramedics, physicians, and other medical professionals.

However, their duties nowadays include many more responsibilities.

Once thought of as simply an ambulance driver, the EMT is now responsible for giving the patient immediate and on-sight treatment, such as providing them with oxygen through oxygen masks, doing CPR on the patient, which helps them maintain the patient's airway, while improving their breathing, air circulation, and more.

Emergency Medical Technicians also are responsible for providing immediate intervention to the injury by monitoring and controlling any external bleeding, preventing shock, and making sure that the patient is safe from any further injury.

The Difference Between An EMT And A Paramedic

EMT vs Paramedics

If you have been considering going into the medical field and you have done a bit of research, then it is very likely that you have also heard of the term “paramedic.”

People often get EMTs and paramedics confused, so it is very important that you know the difference between the two.

As I said earlier, at one point in the past, Emergency Medical Technicians were considered inferior to other medical professionals, paramedics being included.  However, today they play different roles, and EMTs are not simply their assistants anymore.

But, what exactly is a paramedic, and what makes them different from Emergency Medical Technicians?

Paramedics are very similar to Emergency Medical Technicians, though, especially since they are both first responders.  This means that when you are faced with almost any kind of serious emergency, it is likely that you will find a paramedic and/or an Emergency Medical Technician.

Also like Emergency Medical Technicians, the job of a paramedic is to stabilize the person in the emergency before and while they are being transported to the hospital, to relieve some of the current pain and damage as well as preparing them for future treatment from other medical professionals.

In fact, they are so similar that paramedics are even known as a certain class (or “type”) of Emergency Medical Technician.  They are known as the highest trained class, with the most education, most experience, and the requirements for becoming a paramedic and the process can be extremely rigorous.

So, what exactly is the difference between a paramedic and an EMT?

Well, the answer lies in the amount of training they have had, and the amount of education they obtain.

As I said earlier, the process for becoming a paramedic is much more extreme and complicated than the process of becoming an EMT, from going through the EMT Basic Training to receiving your EMT certification.  However, there is also a slight difference in their responsibilities, including what each one of them is allowed to do with a patient.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the fact that Emergency Medical Technicians are not allowed to give any patient a kind of treatment that requires them to break the skin, which means they are not allowed to use any kind of needle or shot.  Whereas paramedics, on the other hand, can break the skin of a patient in any kind of emergency (if necessary).

There are only a few exceptions to this rule for an EMT, one of them being in the case of an emergency that requires an auto-injection, for something such as an allergy reaction.

What Is EMT Basic Training

EMT performing their training

Now that you know all of the basics about what it takes to be an EMT, the difference between an EMT and a paramedic, and some of the major responsibilities of the two, it’s time to take a look at how exactly you can become an EMT and receive your certification, as well as how much it costs.

Going through EMT Basic Training is the very first step you take in receiving your Emergency Medical Technician certification.  It covers the first three levels of certification and serves as a prerequisite for receiving certification to become an EMT-intermediate or a paramedic.

This means that if you want to become one of these higher class, and more deeply skilled Emergency Medical Technicians, than getting your EMT Basic Training is a must before going any further with your career.

You can get your EMT Basic Training through several resources -- community colleges offer it, as do medical service providers, take fire departments as an example.

As discussed earlier, one of the biggest differences between being an EMT and a paramedic lies in the amount of education one has received.  When going through EMT Basic Training, the classes typically last for anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks, and in the end, you will have ended up with 120 hours of training under your belt.

For paramedics, however, training can take anywhere around 1,200 hours to finally receive certification.

As a student going through EMT Basic Training, you will get to experience a variety of classroom activities and practices.  These include classroom learning (such as lectures), aptitude enhancement, using physical skills, and hands-on training in practice for responding to emergency settings (in some cases).

The overall purpose of EMT Basic Training is to prepare students for taking the EMT Basic exam, which is given by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

In addition to all of this, EMT Basic Training is the only kind of education required for becoming an EMT, other than having received a high school diploma.

Cost Of Receiving EMT Basic Training

Finally, it is time to discuss how much it costs to go through EMT Basic Training.

There is no one set cost or price for going through EMT Basic Training.  Instead, the cost all depends on where you will be receiving your training and certification.  As I said earlier, you can take the training from either community colleges, universities, or even medical service providers such as fire departments.

Each of these places have different costs for enrolling in their EMT Basic Training courses.

If you plan to be taking the EMT Basic Training from a university, however, the cost can range anywhere from around $800 to $1,000. These programs that are held by universities also typically last anywhere from a month to three months.

Community colleges, on the other hand, offer training that costs anywhere from just $200 to $1,000 like universities.  However, it is also important to know that if you are an out of state student, your tuition might cost a bit more.

And finally, receiving EMT Basic Training from medical service providers can vary in cost, depending on the state and the department.

Going Through EMT Basic Training Is Affordable And Worthy Of Consideration

EMT rescuing a man

Regardless of what kind of emergency you have experienced in the past or will experience in the future, first responders such as EMTs and paramedics are some of the most important people on the planet.

Not only are they the ones that get you from the place of the emergency to a hospital to be cared for, but they also give you immediate treatment that is vital for your survival.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be one of these people? If you are considering becoming an EMT and going through EMT Basic Training, then I highly encourage you to do so.

Who knew that becoming such an important hero could be so simple and affordable.