How Hard Is EMT School? Expectations vs. Reality

The job of an EMT is hard, so training for it must be challenging too, right? Well, you’ll be surprised to learn that EMT school is not as hard as you think. But, just like every course, its difficulty will depend on the level you’re studying for and your ambitions.

Discover what it takes to go through EMT school and if it’s worth becoming an EMT.

How Hard Is EMT School Training?

There are four levels of EMT certification, and each of these programs has different difficulty levels. They include:

  • Emergency Responder
  • Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B)
  • Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT)
  • Paramedic (EMT-P)

These training levels have an ascending order of difficulty; the Emergency Responder is the least difficult training you can undergo, while the EMT-P is the most difficult.

Emergency Medical Responder

The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Responder is to initiate immediate lifesaving care to critical patients who require emergency medical assistance. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide lifesaving interventions, assisting higher-level personnel both at the scene and during transport.

The Emergency Medical Responder training takes a total of 56 hours of learning. So, EMR school is considerably easier than other EMT schools.

Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B)

The role of anyone with an EMT- B is primarily to assist in the transportation of patients. Also, you’ll help in administering medication.

Studying to be an EMT is more rigorous compared to Emergency Responder training. An EMT school course involves around 120 hours of classroom learning, excluding hands-on practice.

Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT)

AEMT training is harder than the EMT-B and the Emergency Responder training. With this certification, you can administer medications that you can’t with EMR and EMT-B certifications. You would also be authorized to use advanced emergency equipment on the field.

It takes a minimum of 250 hours of classroom study and 100 hours of hands-on practice to get a certificate in this course.

Paramedic (EMT-P)

Paramedic training is the most difficult EMT school course anyone can undergo. This EMT program requires a minimum of 800 hours of learning and 800 hours of hands-on practice split between emergency rides and hospital ER departments.

This course requires soft skills like problem-solving, working efficiently under pressure, and excellent communication skills. But, before you get here, you must complete EMT school first.

Is EMT School Harder Than Nursing School?

The truth is that nursing school is more demanding than an EMT school, and this is because it entails broader and more in-depth courses.

In nursing school, you learn about human physiology and anatomy and how to make a nursing care plan for a patient. You also get to face real-life situations, such as suctioning a tracheostomy patient and other clinical experiences.

A nursing student passes through a tougher process to earn a certification than a paramedic (the highest EMT level of training).

While EMT training lasts a couple of months, it takes about four years to become a nurse.

Paramedics are more highly trained than Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and go through about 1800 to 2000 hours of training. Still, they don’t measure up to the difficult process of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN).

How Hard Is It to Be an EMT? 

Being an EMT can be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging at the same time.

Aside from the courses and lengthy training periods, the most challenging thing about being an EMT is the number of emergency calls and situations they attend each day.

EMTs have a high probability of experiencing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This is due to the several emergency calls and conditions they face. For instance, hearing a ringtone similar to an emergency tone can put an EMT off balance even while off-duty. So, is it worth being an EMT?

Is It Worth Becoming an EMT?

If you’ve always wanted to attend to emergency patients and help administer care to them, it’ll be worth being an EMT, regardless of the stress involved.

Plus, working as an EMT gives you great practical experience if you have ambitions to go to med school.

In terms of the salary, this depends on the location and company. Paramedics in the US earn an average of $46,303 annually, while EMTs earn $30,500. Although, at Elite Ambulance, we’re proud to pay above the national salary average. Our paramedics earn $68,640, while EMTs earn $51,480 annually before taxes.

Reasons Why It’s Worth Being an EMT

Aside from the few reasons stated above on why being an EMT can be worthwhile, some other reasons include:

  1. Fastest healthcare training: When it comes to EMT training, you don’t have to spend as long as seven years to become a licensed Paramedic. Although you’ll have extended hours of classroom learning, it’s a faster process than in any other medical field.
  2. Job stability: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rate for EMTs and Paramedics is 24%. So you don’t have to worry about finding a job.
  3. Career advancement opportunities: Working as an EMT provides opportunities to advance your knowledge and expertise. For example, you can undergo the AEMT or Paramedic training.

Enroll in an EMT School in Illinois

Starting a career in EMS begins with EMT school. At Elite EMS Academy, we offer you the guidance you need to start your career.

Our courses aren’t just fun, they offer you the practical training you need to become a successful EMR, EMT, or Paramedic. 

Plus, you have a job waiting for you at Elite Ambulance upon graduation.

Sign up with Elite Ambulance’s EMS Academy today!

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