What is the difference between EMTs and Paramedics?

What is the difference between EMTs and Paramedics
Source: pexel.com

Both EMTs and Paramedics work in the medical field and render emergency medical services to patients.

However, even though they are quite related, there are still specific differences between them.

Therefore if you are eager to know the differences between EMTs and Paramedics, then this article has been written especially for you.

All you need to do is sit tight and read this article to the end.

Having said that, let’s forge ahead.

Who is an EMT?

Basically, an EMT is a trained health professional that provides emergency medical services to people who need them.

The abbreviation stands for Emergency Medical Technicians.  

They give care to sick or injured people who are yet to get to a hospital.  

Furthermore, they can also be referred to as ambulance technicians.

Mostly they are the first people that come to a scene after a medical emergency call is made.

Furthermore, in the EMS field, the EMTs are the most common Health Professionals you will find.

Who is a Paramedic?

A paramedic is also a health professional that is advanced in skills and renders emergency care services to patients.

In addition, they are also part of the first people who come to remedy an emergency situation when an emergency call is made.

Now you may be wondering what exactly differentiates an EMT from a paramedic.

We will be looking at these answers under four different sections and categories, which include their;

  1. Education and Experience requirements
  2. Job Description
  3. Workplaces.
  4. Certification and Licensure

What is the difference between EMTs and Paramedics?

#1. Education and Experience requirements for EMTs and Paramedics.


Majorly, to become an EMT you do not need a bachelor’s degree or even previous medical experience.

However, you must have a high school diploma or GED.

In addition, it is also expedient for EMTs to acquire a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate.

And in as much as you have gotten a high school diploma, you must successfully complete an EMT Training Program.

These programs can be done in community colleges and vocational schools. 

Unlike paramedics, most EMT training programs can be completed within 150 hours.

Nevertheless, all EMT aspirants must ensure they pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) cognitive exams.

Passing this NREMT exam is a very important educational factor for one who wants to become a certified EMT. 


It is an absolute fact that becoming a paramedic is the highest level of Emergency Medical Technician certification.

Therefore paramedics are required to totally complete training for basic and advanced EMTs.

In addition, they are expected to do and complete other additional studies.

This is because they provide an advanced level of care more than the EMTs.

Usually, their training takes about 1200–1800 hours to completely become a paramedic.

Furthermore, during their course of studies, prospective paramedics may work as EMTs to get on-the-job experience.

Usually, a college degree program for paramedics takes two years.

Nevertheless, an aspirant must pass the National Paramedic Certification (NPC) and the required state licensing, for one to be fully certified.

#2. Job Descriptions of EMTs and Paramedics EMTs

Listed below are some of the duties of an Emergency Medical Technician in any state:

  • EMTs respond to 911 emergency calls for medical assistance.
  • Depending on the situation, they provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation and bandage wounds.
  • They help to control external bleeding.
  • EMTs transport patients between health facilities.
  • During transportation, they use backboards and restraints to ensure that patients are still and safe in the ambulance.
  • Basically, they help to stabilize and treat patients while moving to a hospital.
  • Also, they give information to the hospital about the type of injury and the number of patients being transported to the hospital. 
  • EMTs assess patients and maintain their records.
  • These health professionals prevent shock and further injury of patients under their care. 


Listed below are some of the duties of a paramedic:

  • Paramedics provide breathing support with tubes and ventilating devices.
  • They provide the necessary medication needed either through an intravenous injection or infusion.
  • They are also qualified to stick needles in the chest to decompress the collapsed lungs of patients.
  • Paramedics also stabilize a patient’s condition while transporting them to the nearest Health facility.
  • They deliver babies in cases of emergency.
  • Paramedics create new airways for patients finding it difficult to breathe using tracheotomy or other ways.
  • They apply pacemakers to control heart arrhythmias.
  • Keeping records of patients’ treatment and the type of medication they received is also part of their job descriptions.
  • They also apply bandages where necessary and lift up injured body parts of patients to curtail further bleeding.
  • Giving medical Care on the sport of emergency is their priority. 
  • Therefore they ensure that the most badly injured patients receive medical care first.

#3. Work Places 

In this section, we will take a good look at where EMTs and Paramedics work. 


Listed below are some of the places an Emergency Medical Technicians can work in;

  • Private Ambulance Services
  • Fire Departments 
  • Government
  • Hospitals
  • Police Departments

Basically, EMTs work under the supervision of a medical director or physician because they have a limited scope of practice.


Interestingly, Paramedics are mostly employed by Emergency Medical Services.

Although they also work in ambulance services together with EMTs they do a higher level of work.

Moreover, when it comes to such settings there are more paramedics than EMTs.

Furthermore, Paramedics also work for air ambulances such as helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that are used to transfer patients from one location to another.

Lastly, these skilled professionals also work for fire services.

#4. Certification and Licensure 


Indeed CPR certification is a basic requirement for EMTs.

Generally, most EMT Training Programs require aspirants to obtain CPR certification before applying.

Some organizations such as American Red Cross and American Heart Association provide this certification.

Furthermore, EMTs are expected to obtain the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) certification.

This Certification is highly recognized by most states as an appropriate guarantee of competency.

Therefore for you to be seen as a Licensed Emergency Medical Technician in most states you must acquire this certification.

Depending on your state, there are several requirements for becoming a licensed emergency medical technician.

One of them is that you must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license.


In the same vein, for you to become a Licensed Paramedic, you must have a CPR Certification. 

Furthermore, you must also be at least 18 years of age.

Being a high school graduate with a valid driver’s license is also a key requirement.

Above all, for you to become a certified paramedic, you must be nationally certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).

Nevertheless, becoming nationally certified does not give you permission to start practice automatically.

Rather, paramedics must also acquire state licenses to practice in the state they are in.

Some states give Licensure on the basis of proof of NREMT.

However, some other states may likely give you their own test to undergo, before providing a license for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is Better EMT or EMS?

EMS and EMTs are two great interrelated entities.

Therefore, one cannot outrightly say that one is better than the other.

EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services, while EMT stands for Emergency Medical Technicians.

Basically, EMS is a broad community that encompasses EMTs.

This means that EMTs work within EMS, especially on basic life support.

Although the main purpose of these two entities is to save lives in emergency situations.

However, EMS, being a broader entity, covers much more than emergency situations.

They take care of situations such as possible poisoning threats.

EMTs only work within the scope of their training and certification.

Nevertheless, both EMTs and EMS see the provision of first aid as a major priority.


With the above-mentioned points, we can see clearly that the difference between EMTs and Paramedics rests on their level of education and the work procedures they are permitted to do.

The paramedics remain at an advanced level when compared to the EMTs.

However, their core purpose is to save lives by intervening in emergencies.

This singular act reduces the number of casualties in a state.

Therefore you would agree with me that these two occupations are noble professions.

We have finally come to the end of this article on “what is the difference between EMTs and Paramedics?”

We hope this piece was beneficial to you and all your questions have been answered.

Nevertheless, you can check out other interesting articles you can read.


How Long Does It Take To Get A Bachelor’s Degree?

How To Become An Account Officer | The Full Guide


medicaltechnologyschools -EMT vs Paramedic

mednet -whats the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic?

stillwellmemorial– what are the differences between EMTs and Paramedics?





Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here