Pros and Cons of Being an EMT

Being an EMT may be fulfilling, but is it a good job?

Is it secure? Does it pay well? Does it offer a healthy work-life balance? 

These are questions you need to ask before you become an EMT. And we’re here to answer them. Discover the pros and cons of being an EMT, so you can figure out if it’s the right path for you.

The Pros of Being an EMT

1. Learn Useful Skills

Working as emergency responders will require you to think quickly and critically to respond to a wide range of emergency situations such as car accidents, heart attacks, and gunshot wounds. 

This type of work often requires split-second decision-making and the ability to remain calm under pressure. Such critical thinking skills will help you in almost any career path that you choose.

2. Work Stability

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for EMTs is expected to grow by 11% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

3. It’s a Rewarding Career

Few careers are as rewarding and fulfilling as being an EMT. Every day, you’ll be helping people when they are at their most vulnerable and in need of assistance. Being the difference between life and death for others can provide a great sense of meaning and purpose in your work.

4. Variety in Your Work

As an EMT, one thing’s for certain: you’ll never be bored.

No two days are the same. You will never be stuck in a rut in this job. Every day, you deal with different people in different situations. You never know what will happen next, which can make your work stimulating.

6. Plenty of Career Advancement Opportunities

Once you have some experience, there are many opportunities for career advancement. 

Additional training such as EMT-Advanced (or EMT-II) or EMT-Paramedic (or EMT-III) can allow you to provide more advanced life support and medical treatment in emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes. Many EMTs also end up becoming instructors, paramedics, or supervisors, either within the same EMS system or in a training facility.

7. Teamwork

Working as an EMT will often require you to work closely with other members of the EMS team, such as paramedics and firefighters. 

It’s common practice for EMS crews to work together to provide the best possible care for patients. This teamwork can provide a great sense of camaraderie and help you build strong friendships with other EMS professionals.

So, if you love being part of a team, EMT is a good job for you.

8. Honest Salary

At the end of the day, you know you’ll be compensated for the hard work that you do as an EMT. 

The average salary for an EMT is $37,730 in 2022. However, the more you advance in your career, the higher your salary will be. For example, the average salary for a paramedic is $46,303.

By the way, at Elite Ambulance, we’re proud to compensate our EMTs well. Our starting salary is $51,480* before taxes. And paramedic salaries at our company start at $68,640/year.

Cons of Being an EMT

1. The Work Can Be Stressful

We won’t sugarcoat it. Being an EMT can often be very stressful. 

Dealing with life-or-death situations and having to make decisions quickly and accurately is no walk in the park. You will also be working in physically demanding conditions with little rest. This can take a toll on your mental health over time, so it’s important to have a healthy support network and good self-care practices.

2. It’s Physically Demanding

It’s common for EMTs to spend much of their shift on their feet. They also have to lift and carry patients who may weigh up to 250 pounds. This can lead to physical fatigue and overuse injuries such as back pain and strains.

3. It’s Emotionally Taxing

EMTs see people at the worst moments of their lives. And seeing that can take its toll emotionally. It’s crucial for EMTs to have a good support network and to take care of their mental health.

One silver lining: it does get easier. While some EMTs simply get used to the emotional aspect of the job, others rely on the thought that their job can help people in immeasurable ways.

4. Non-Urgent Calls

EMTs often receive calls from people who do not need urgent medical care. These calls can be time-consuming and unfulfilling, as you provide aid to someone who does not really need it. 

But, as annoying as they can be, they’re just part of being an EMT.

5. It Can Involve a Lot of Paperwork

When you think of EMTs, you think about working in an ambulance, rushing to the scene of an emergency, and transporting patients to the hospital. But, that’s not the whole picture.

EMTs often need to complete a lot of paperwork after each call. This can involve taking detailed patient histories, filling out insurance forms, and writing extensive reports.

6. It’s Not Always Exciting

Despite what you may see on TV, working as an EMT is not always exciting. Many calls involve helping people with simple problems or dealing with non-emergency situations (such as drunk and disorderly). 

This can be frustrating and make the job seem less glamorous than it is often portrayed to be. But, it doesn’t make that you’re not doing important work.

Start Your Career as an EMT Today

Even with the cons in mind, being an EMT is an awesome job. And an important one. If you’re interested in becoming an EMT, your first step is to get certified. 

Luckily, you only need a 12-week course to get started. 

At Elite Ambulance, we’re proud to train and prepare the next generation of EMTs in Chicago. 

Our courses are designed to give you the skills and knowledge to succeed in this demanding field. Plus, you also get automatic job placement at the end of your course.

If you’re based in Chicago, and you want to become an EMT, sign up to Elite Ambulance’s EMT training program today!


*Figures based on 50-hour workweeks, before Illinois average income tax.

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