EMTs are fully trained to provide essential life support at the scene of an emergency. An EMT can perform tasks such as spinal immobilization, bandaging or splinting, and monitoring vital signs, as well as respiratory management procedures such as CPR, oxygen administration, and artificial ventilation. Certified EMT training courses can involve anywhere from 80 to 150 classroom hours, plus additional internship and field experience.
In addition to offering life support services, paramedics are further trained to provide advanced treatment equivalent to emergency room care. The broader scope of a paramedic’s competencies includes the ability to break patients’ skin by giving them shots, inserting intravenous lifelines, or administering breathing tubes, tasks that EMTs in most states are not permitted to undertake. Paramedics typically undergo 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training, plus hundreds of field hours.
Notwithstanding these differences, both paramedics and EMTs are highly trained in their respective functions, and both have the necessary knowledge and skills to care for and transport patients in emergency situations.