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How to Get EMT Training in Florida

group of medical team help the patient from the stretcherWould you like to be an emergency medical technician in the state of Florida?

If so, then you are going to need the right education and proper EMT training.

Before you dive into all of that, however, you should know what EMTs do. That way, you can decide if this is the right career path for you before you invest time and money into your education.

What Do EMTs Do?

Many people think that being an EMT looks fun and exciting.

And, while it can be those things, it can also be exhausting work, both physically and mentally.

These professionals are called on to help the sick and injured in some of the most challenging times of their lives.

Often, EMTs do save a life or at least assist in saving lives, but they also sometimes have to see people die and deal with the pain and difficulty that comes with that.

Most EMTs are “on call” and are dispatched to handle emergency situations that get called in.

In addition to providing stabilization and general health care, they are also responsible, in most cases, for transporting people to and from hospitals in an emergency.

What Kind of Person Makes a Good EMT?

group of EMT help and give first aid to the patient

Image: CC BY 2.0, DFID – UK Department for International Development, via flckr

There is no one type of “perfect” person that makes a good EMT and have a proper EMT training. However, having specific skill sets and characteristics can make someone a better fit for the job.

For example, EMTs need to be empathetic. They should care about others and have a desire to help them. They also need to be good at working with others, both the people they serve and the other EMTs on their team.

EMTs have to be calm and able to handle themselves as such in even the toughest situations. They also need to be physically and mentally strong, hardworking, and capable of making important, often life-or-death decisions in an instant.

Being a good EMT doesn’t mean being a perfect person. And, it’s okay if you don’t have every single one of these qualities.

However, the more of these qualities you do have and the harder you are willing to work to develop the ones you don’t have, the more likely it is you will have great success as an EMT. This gives you a lot of fulfillment out of the work that you do.

Who is Eligible for EMT Training?

You might think that anyone can enroll in EMT training.

And, while that is almost true, there are some general eligibility requirements that most EMT training programs have. In the state of Florida, these typically include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Having a high school education
  • Having a driver’s license
  • Having a CPR certification
  • Having all required vaccinations
  • Being able to pass a drug test and a criminal background check

If you meet at least these requirements or can soon meet them, then you’re off to a great start already!

Understanding Licensing (EMT Training)

medical team undergo training and give a treatment to the patient

Image: CC0 Creative Commons, MRI, via Pixabay

If, after reading the above information, you still think that EMT training could be for you, then the next thing you need to understand is licensing and how it works.

In the state of Florida, EMTs have to be licensed by the Florida Department of Health.

Getting a license involves multiple steps, including the proper educational training and passing of a required test.

If you can meet those requirements successfully, you can even go on to earn a national certification via the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Also, in the future, if you would like to move from providing basic life support to your charges, you can further your education to become a paramedic and thus offer advanced life support.

Training Options for EMT Training

You will be glad to know that the state of Florida is home to more than 70 schools that feature EMT training programs.

Choosing a school is a highly personal decision and, ideally, should consist of plenty of research on your part to find the right fit.

Whatever school and program you choose, you will be required to complete 250 hours of classroom instruction, hands-on lab training, hands-on hospital experience, hands-on ambulance experience, and a relevant internship.

That may sound like a lot of hard work, and it is, but, if this is the right career field for you, you will find it well worth it.

What Will You Learn in Your EMT Training?

two men practice CPR

Image: CC BY 2.0, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s, via flckr

During your EMT training, the most valuable thing that you will get will be a real-life, real-world experience.

Aside from that, though, you will learn some skills that will come in handy on the job. These include:

  • CPR training
  • Childbirth skills
  • How to physically assess a patient’s condition
  • Bandaging wounds
  • Splinting sprains and broken bones
  • Airway management
  • Spinal immobilization

What Kind of Financial Investment is Required?

Tuition costs can vary widely depending on the exact school that you choose.

Generally, you will pay more for your education if you attend a private institution. Some financial aid and scholarships for both private and publication institutions may be available to help you offset some of these costs.

There are certain other fees you will need to consider as well, however. These include a certification application fee of $35 and recertification costs on a regular basis.

Also, if you wish to go on to take the national exam, there is a $70 fee.

What Can You Expect to Earn?

The big question many people who are considering EMT training have is how much they can expect to earn once they settle into their positions.

Like tuition costs, salaries vary greatly depending on your experience, where you are employed, and various other factors. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average wage for EMTs as of 2017 was $33,380 per year.

Keep in mind, though, that some areas tend to have better average pay for EMTs than others. In Florida, you’ll likely earn the most money if you work in Miami, Jacksonville, or Tampa. However, Orlando and Tallahassee also tend to have high pay rates for EMTs.

Because pay can vary so much based on where you live, you may want to think about commuting or even moving to a different area of Florida if it will earn you higher pay. This is especially true since, unfortunately, Florida EMTs do tend to earn a bit less than the national average.

Furthermore, the job is in high demand is expected to stay that way for quite some time. So, if you go into this field, you are practically guaranteed to be able to find and maintain a job.

Remember to Always Choose a State-Approved School

the outside building of a state college see the trees and the flag of United State of America

Image: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, COCOAFL, via Wikimedia

If even after hearing the salary and all of the requirements, you still think that becoming an EMT could be for you, then your next step is to find a state-approved school in your area.

It is very important that you choose a state-approved school so that your education will be valid and so that you will be thoroughly prepared for the state certification exam.

Fortunately, Florida residents have many great schools to choose from. These include:

  • Eastern Florida State College (Cocoa)
  • Hillsborough Community College (Ruskin)
  • Palm Beach State College (Lake Worth)
  • Seminole State College of Florida (Sanford)
  • Valencia College (Orlando)
  • Daytona State College (Daytona Beach)
  • Gulf Coast State College (Panama City)
  • Florida Gateway College (Lake City)
  • Manatee Technical Institute (Bradenton)
  • Sarasota County Technical Institute (Sarasota)
  • First Coast Technical College (St. Augustine)

These are just a few out of many great schools in the state, so, if none of these work for you, know that there are still other options.

The best way to choose a school is to look carefully at those options that are convenient for you. Compare what they have to offer, such as internships, professional connections, and more. Also, look at tuition fees and financial aid packages to make a smart decision.

It is always helpful to tour the campus too and learn about what past graduates of the EMT program have gone on to do.

It can take a lot of work and a lot of time to find the right school, but it’s worth it to get your education in the best possible place for you.

EMT Training: Learning More

If you’re still not 100% sure that EMT training is right for you, don’t worry. This is a big decision, and it’s okay to take your time and do plenty of research.

By looking into schools and learning more about the job, you can come to a decision.

The right idea is to try and connect with EMTs in your area. See if you can “shadow” them for a day or even sit down with them and ask any questions that you might have.

The more you can learn about this field, the better. That way, if you start the training classes, you will be more likely to finish them and to go on to great success in this wonderful and exciting field.

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