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Generally, a high school diploma or a GED is required to enter a training program to become an EMT-Basic or EMT-Paramedic. Workers must complete a formal training and certification process.
At the EMT-Basic level, coursework emphasizes emergency skills, such as managing respiratory, trauma, and cardiac emergencies, and patient assessment. Formal courses are often combined with time in an emergency room or ambulance. The program provides instruction and practice in dealing with bleeding, fractures, airway obstruction, cardiac arrest, and emergency childbirth. Students learn how to use and maintain common emergency equipment, such as backboards, suction devices, splints, oxygen delivery systems, and stretchers. Graduates of approved EMT-Basic training programs must pass a written and practical examination administered by the State certifying agency or the NREMT.
The EMT-Paramedic provides advanced life support care to patients who are ill and/or injured. They transport and transfer patients and assess the extent of an illness or injury to establish and prioritize medical procedures to follow. Paramedics apply artificial respiration or administer oxygen in cases of suffocation and asphyxiation, they dispense antiseptic solution to prevent infection, start and administer intravenous fluids, and perform other emergency medical procedures during the ambulance ride. Educational requirements include a minimum of a high school diploma, registration with the EMT National Registry, and licensing by State EMS Authority. Paramedics must also be CPR certified and familiar with standard concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field.