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How to Become an EMT or Paramedic

August 28, 2019

Hartford HealthCare’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation, the international training destination known as CESI, offers hands-on training to doctors and nurses but also to EMTs and other first-responders.

Here’s Michael Zacchera, and Emergency Medical Services educator at CESI:

Q. There are several different courses offered for EMS personnel. What are the differences?
A. Emergency Medical Services, much like our colleagues in the Police and Fire Departments, is a component of the public safety system.  EMTs are the backbone of emergency care. They provide care to sick and injured people and transport them to the hospital, providing important medical care en route.  Including such things as CPR, bleeding control, splinting, delivering babies, and administering a few important medications. EMTs learn the essential skills to help in life-threatening situations and their education is the foundation for all other levels of provider.

Paramedics provide even more advanced care than EMTs do. A paramedic performs all the skills of the EMT, but also has a more in-depth knowledge of pharmacology, cardiology, neurology, obstetrics, pulmonology and endocrinology and administer a number of advanced care interventions to patients (such as intravenous fluids, medications, advanced airway care and the use of electricity to control the heart).

EMS Instructors are the EMTs and paramedics who teach EMT and paramedic training programs.

Q. If someone is interested in becoming an EMT, what are the requirements?
A. In Connecticut, you must be at least 16 years old. You must complete a state approved EMT training program, such as the ones we sponsor here at Hartford Hospital.  These classes are about 190 hours long and include riding along in an ambulance, and a clinical rotation in the hospital emergency department

Another requirement is successfully passing the National Registry of EMTs written and practical exams to become certified.

Q. Are there other requirements for becoming a paramedic?
A. You must be at least 18 years old and have completed a state approved and nationally accredited Paramedic Training Program, such as we have here at Hartford Hospital.  This class is about 1,600 hours in length and meets over a year and a half.  In addition to class time, students rotate to most areas of the hospital, such as the emergency department, respiratory therapy, anesthesia, Labor and Delivery, the Cardiac Cath Lab, the Psychiatric Emergency Department and at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Q. This is a growing field with high demand for staffing. What’s on the horizon?
A. The US Department of Labor is predicting the need for EMTs and Paramedics will increase by over 14% over the next 10 years, which is double the average of other jobs.

The future will have multiple opportunities for EMTs and Paramedics.

If you are interested in signing up for an EMT or paramedic course at Hartford HealthCare’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation, call 860.972.9564 or click here. A new class is starting on Sept.  10.