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What does an EMT do?

Learn all about EMT duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an EMT.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

An emergency medical technician (EMT) is a trained professional who responds to medical emergencies. EMTs are often the first responders on the scene of an accident or medical emergency and are responsible for providing care to patients until they can be transported to a hospital or other medical facility.

EMT job duties include:

  • Providing pre-hospital care and transport for sick and injured patients
  • Assessing patients to determine the nature and extent of their illness or injury
  • Providing first-aid treatment and basic life support
  • Monitoring patients’ vital signs and administering oxygen
  • Performing CPR and using automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
  • Immobilizing patients with splints and traction devices
  • Moving patients to safety
  • Communicating with dispatch centers to provide updates on the condition of patients
  • Documenting patient information and care provided

EMT Job Requirements

Most EMTs have completed a training program and obtained certification. Some states require licensure. Many EMTs have experience in the field, often working as volunteers before becoming paid professionals.

EMT Skills

  • Assessing patients
  • Providing care
  • Checking vitals
  • Transporting patients
  • Providing oxygen
  • Clearing airways
  • Performing CPR
  • Using a defibrillator
  • Administering medication
  • Communicating with patients and families
  • Working with a team

Related: Top EMT Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an EMT

Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are the first responders to many medical emergencies. They provide basic life support and care for patients before they are transported to a hospital or other medical facility. EMTs are trained to assess a patient’s condition and provide care based on their assessment.

Becoming an EMT requires completing a training program that is approved by the state in which you plan to work. Most programs take about six months to complete and include both classroom and hands-on training. After completing the training program, you must pass a state-approved certification exam before you can begin working as an EMT.

EMTs must be able to think quickly and make decisions under pressure. They must be physically fit as they may have to lift patients or equipment. They must also be able to communicate effectively with both patients and other medical professionals.

If you are interested in becoming an EMT, contact your local fire department or ambulance service to inquire about training programs in your area.

Related: EMT Resume Example

Related: EMT Interview Questions (With Example Answers)