How to start an EMS career: 6 tips on what you need to know

EMS career

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Are you looking forward to a successful EMS career but don’t know how to get started? Or have you selected an EMS course for yourself but have no idea what to do next? Don’t worry because, in this article, we will go through everything you need to know about EMS and its scope. Also, the six tips mentioned here will help you jump-start your career in EMS.

What does an EMS career cover?

EMS is an abbreviation for Emergency Medical Services. It is a critical area of the healthcare industry responsible for providing emergency care before the patient arrives in the hospital. EMS is further divided into several fields, such as:

  • Ambulance or transport EMS
  • Firefighting EMS
  • Trauma centers
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Paramedics

In brief, EMS is involved everywhere in providing acute out-of-hospital care. A standard EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) performs functions like CPR, delivering medicine and oxygen, stopping or reducing bleeding, wrapping wounds, and stabilizing injuries.

Considering its broad applications and scopes, an EMS career has a high demand. You can make a successful career in EMS if you know your area of interest and which academic route is the right fit for you.

EMS career courses and eligibility

You don’t need a college degree to become an EMT. Several EMT courses provide you with enough training to work in the field. However, you must ensure that a well-known agency accredits these courses. Though there are no rigid prerequisites to enter into EMS, the following steps will ensure that you make a successful career in this field:

  • Find a high-quality, accredited EMT course
  • Make sure that it has the approval of your country or states agencies
  • Attend and complete the course
  • Pass the computer-based and skills examinations
  • Obtain a National EMT Certificate

As EMS has several fields, the eligibility and roadmap of each program vary significantly from the other. Similarly, the number of credit hours and certifications will differ for each course. Therefore, make sure you check out each course’s details to avoid redundancies later.  

Tips to kickstart your EMS career

Now that you know what EMS is and its roadmap, let’s have a look at the tips to launch a successful career in EMS.  

Educate Yourself First

It is imperative to know your niche before starting a career in EMS. Emergency Medical Services include several departments and fields. If you want to start a career and succeed in it, you should identify your strengths and interests. For example, you might slightly prefer fire-fighting or trauma-related services. Therefore, make sure you explore different credentials and certificates that suit your interests and EMS goals.

Seek Guidance From Your Mentor

If you are confused about selecting a career in EMS, consider taking guidance from your mentor. A mentor will guide you about the best career path and assist you in identifying the skills required for a successful future. In addition, they can provide you with the expertise needed to be more productive.

Though you can go to a career counselor, choosing someone from the EMS field is a better option. They must have a better idea of the credentials and license. Also, they may connect you with a network of professionals required to succeed in your professional life.

Plan Wisely

Once you have the list of possible career lines and a guide from your mentor, it’s time to plan your goals. Outline points like which course to enroll in, which university to apply to, and the time it will take to complete that course or degree. If you are unsure about your interest yet, try completing an introductory course first.

Though EMS has several career opportunities, the three main routes are Operational, Management and Education. Once you choose one of these career lines in EMS, you can start with small, attainable goals. For example, if you want to pursue a clinical line, begin with a short EMT course. If you are more interested in management, try an associate degree first. Once you are sure about your line of interest, you can enroll in long-term courses or degrees.

Be Adaptable

Try to keep an open mind when evaluating or reassessing your goals. There might be times when you will not reach the milestones you have set. It’s good to evaluate yourself once in a while to know where you are going. However, make sure you are not hard on yourself. 

Similarly, do not get scared of changing your direction. There are several opportunities available in Emergency Medical Services, including clinical and management sides. While most students would like to stay in the clinical area (paramedics, EMT), being open to non-clinical jobs is also a great option. Some of these are high-paid jobs such as HR Manager, Emergency Dispatcher, Contract Medic, and Offshore Medic.

Avoid Needless Expectations

No matter how effective and long-term the EMS program is, it can’t transform you into a doctor. Often, you might get overwhelmed by a patient’s condition and feel tempted to make extra efforts by coming up with a treatment plan. However, in such cases, you should stick to your core job of protecting ABCs. (Air, Breathing, and Circulation).

You must understand that being an EMT, your priority is to ensure patients’ care and safety till they reach the hospital. Then, the treatment plans are part of the definitive care department and consultants. Hence, avoiding unnecessary expectations from your course will aid you in sticking with your primary objective.

Never Stop Learning

It’s not uncommon for EMS students to get a burn-out. Some days you might feel over-enthusiastic, while on the others, you may feel like giving up. However, don’t forget that it’s normal to feel exhausted, especially when you are a beginner. The key here is never to stop learning.

You can sign-up for additional certifications. Credentials like an NREMT certificate can help you beat the competition with more job opportunities. It will also help you obtain proper licensing faster in the future.

Final thoughts

EMS has a vast array of career opportunities. If explored wisely, you can make a great future in it, in terms of both finance and self-growth. Regardless of what expertise you choose to step in, don’t forget to execute these tips before you kick start your career in EMS.