WHAT DO PARAMEDICS DO?
Do you never leave the house without a first aid kit? Can you apply a tourniquet with your eyes closed? You might want to look at a job as a paramedic. Paramedics are first responders in emergency situations. Paramedics respond to 911 and emergency calls and give medical attention to people in trauma, and move them to medical facilities for advanced treatment.
Because people's lives are at stake, paramedics work quickly in the field to assess the situation, use their training to stabilize patients as best as they can, using their training to stop bleeding, use CPR or other techniques. Paramedics use specialized tools and are expected to lift patients by backboard or gurney into ambulances for transport to hospitals. As first responders, paramedics start a patient care report, documenting treatments and medications given. While most work in ambulances, some paramedics may be assigned to helicopters.
HOW MUCH DO PARAMEDICS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the 2010 median hourly income for paramedics and EMTs was $14.60, or $30,360 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Formal training is necessary for paramedics. Prior to that, paramedics must have a high school diploma or GED, plus cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Formal training can be found in community colleges, tech schools and specialty schools.
Paramedics must complete emergency medical technician (EMT) and Advanced EMT training, as well as advanced medical skills. Driving the ambulance requires further licensure.
Licensure is required by all states and can be found through the National Register of Emergency Medical Technicians.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Compassion: Paramedics interact with patients and their families usually only minutes after trauma has occurred, and must be supportive and understanding of their pain.
- Interpersonal Skills: Paramedics work in teams, and must work with patients, families, doctors and nurses in tense situations.
- Communication: Listening to patients and people on the scene will help determine what course of action to take, and calmly speaking to people to tell them what will happen is very helpful in this job.
- Strength: Paramedics have to lift patients on gurneys and may have to kneel and bend.
- Problem-Solving: Paramedics need to be able to assess the situation and administer the right medicine and procedures to save people's lives.
THE FUTURE OF PARAMEDICS
The growth in middle age and elderly people in the country means that paramedic jobs will continue to grow at a rapid pace. According to the BLS, paramedic jobs will grow by 33%, much faster than average.