Emergency Medical Technician - Basic (EMT-1/EMT-B/EMTS)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) provide emergency medical care to the sick or injured at the scene and en route to the hospital. They assess many varying emergency situations and determine what care is needed and provide that care.
  • They maintain contact with the hospital emergency room physicians who prescribe drugs and/or medical procedures that EMTs administer to patients while en route to the nearest ER.
  • When arriving they transport patients to the emergency department, and report their observations and actions to hospital staff. Afterward, they restock supplies, check equipment, and decontaminate the vehicle if disease was present.
  • Some must be able to safely drive ambulances through traffic to get people to hospitals as quickly as possible.
  • Beyond general duties, there are four levels of qualifications for further duties: First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate/Intermediate Technician, and EMT-Paramedic. Some states, however, do their own Certification and use different rating scales to determine proficiency.
  • Medical First Responder – Entry level, very basic emergency medical care. Many firefighters, police officer, and business/industry utilize this level therefore we will not deal here with this basic training.
  • EMT-Basic – Trained to care for patients on accident scenes and on transport by ambulance to the hospital. They have skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage breathing, heart, and trauma emergencies. Potential occupations include EMT-Basic, Ambulance Attendant and Firefighter.
  • EMT-Intermediate Technician – Will be able to initiate intravenous (IV) therapy, administer select medications approved by DHFS and local medical directors via intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, sublingual and inhalation routes. (See Intermediate Technician/EMT-Intermediate)
  • EMT-Intermediate – Has more advanced training that allows dealing with cardiac problems using advanced invasive skills including advanced airways, cardiac rhythm interpretation, and medication intervention. (See Intermediate Technician/EMT-Intermediate)
  • EMT-Paramedic – They provide the most extensive pre-hospital care and techniques for advanced level private and municipal ambulance services.
  • All levels work in hospitals, police, fire and public services departments, or are employed by rescue squads or private ambulance services. (See Paramedic)

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • EMTs like helping people during emergencies. They take pride in efficiently handling serious medical situations.
  • They must be able to work as a member of a team. Must be able to work without direct supervision.
  • Their work can be stressful. Not for people who lose control during a crisis. Courage, dedication and assertiveness are assets.
  • Many work rotating shifts, weekends, and holidays.
  • EMTs work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather, under adverse conditions.
  • 80% of EMTs in Wisconsin are paid on a per call basis. Some EMTs are volunteers.


Getting Started

Career Outlook