Emergency medical services personnel work in pre-hospital emergency care, providing immediate care to the critically ill and injured. In Virginia, career (paid) and volunteer opportunities are available with rescue squads, fire departments, hospitals, commercial ambulance services, medevac services and private industry.
Depending on their training, emergency medical services personnel:
• control bleeding, provide CPR, treat environmental emergencies, care for burns, splint and bandage, free those
trapped in vehicles or water and assist with emergency childbirth.
• observe and report patients’ conditions and communicate with medical personnel at emergency departments
via mobile radio and telephone systems.
• immobilize, secure, lift and move patients.
• assess the nature and extent of illness or injury before arriving at the hospital.
• work with law enforcement, fire services and emergency dispatch centers.
• reassure patients, families and bystanders during medical emergencies.
• assess hazardous material incidents, using decontamination techniques as needed.
• drive and operate emergency vehicles.
• clean, maintain and inspect medical and rescue equipment.
There are various levels of emergency medical personnel:
• first responders control bleeding, perform CPR, provide oxygen and stabilize fractures.
• emergency medical technicians (EMTs) assist those being transported by ambulance. EMTs assess patients’ conditions, immobilize broken bones, deliver babies and treat for shock, serious illnesses or cardiac problems.
• enhanced technicians start intravenous fluid lines, administer limited medications and employ specialized airway techniques.
• intermediate technicians administer a variety of medications, use advanced airway
techniques, do cardiac monitoring (EKGs) and use defibrillator units.
Paramedics offer the highest level of pre-hospital care in Virginia. They receive expanded medical, trauma and pediatric emergency training, including extensive inhospital clinical rotations. Paramedics can administer a greater variety of drugs and do specialized cardiac monitoring and trauma care. In Virginia, medevac helicopter units
employ specialized flight nurses or paramedics.
Average Salary Range
$22,000 – $38,000
Students interested in emergency medical service professions should take challenging courses in high school science and health/safety and first aid (including CPR). Students should also take driver’s education and volunteer in a related setting. To be certified for positions beyond EMT, candidates must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The higher level the position sought, the more additional education and training required. Continuing education is necessary for recertification.
National Association of EMTs
408 Monroe St.
Clinton, MS 39056
National Association of EMS Educators
700 N. Bell Ave., Suite 260
Carnegie, PA 15106