Day in the Life
EMTs and paramedics work both indoors and out, in all types of
weather. They are required to do considerable kneeling, bending, and
heavy lifting. These workers risk noise-induced hearing loss from sirens
and back injuries from lifting patients. In addition, EMTs and
paramedics may be exposed to diseases such as hepatitis-B and AIDS, as
well as violence from mentally unstable patients. The work is not only
physically strenuous but can be stressful, sometimes involving
life-or-death situations and suffering patients. Nonetheless, many
people find the work exciting and challenging and enjoy the opportunity
to help others.
EMTs and paramedics employed
by fire departments work about 50 hours a week. Those employed by
hospitals frequently work between 45 and 60 hours a week, and those in
private ambulance services, between 45 and 50 hours. Some of these
workers, especially those in police
and fire departments, are on call for extended periods. Because
emergency services function 24 hours a day, EMTs and paramedics have
irregular working hours.
EMTs and paramedics
should be emotionally stable, have good dexterity, agility, and physical
coordination, and be able to lift and carry heavy loads. They also need
good eyesight (corrective lenses may be used) with accurate color
Paramedics can become
supervisors, operations managers, administrative directors, or executive
directors of emergency services. Some EMTs and paramedics become
instructors, dispatchers, or physician assistants; others move into
sales or marketing of emergency medical equipment. A number of people
become EMTs and paramedics to test their interest in health care before
training as registered nurses, physicians, or other health workers.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.