Being a Volunteer EMT Can Help You Decide Your Paramedic Career Path

HealthcareMarch 28, 2014

If you are considering going to school to learn how to be an emergency medical technician (EMT), here are some great reasons why volunteering as an EMT first can help you decide if this is the career you want.

Observe Before You Commit

Being a volunteer EMT for a fire department or ambulance company close to home will give you the most valuable and direct experience you can receive before committing to working as a certified EMT. Some of the skills you will need to volunteer as an EMT include:

  • Being able to lift and carry heavy objects
  • Having perfect or corrected vision
  • Being in good physical shape
  • The ability to make quick decisions in dire situations
  • Remaining calm and focused
  • CPR certification

As a volunteer, try to "shadow" a certified EMT and learn exactly what will be expected of you. Learning about the kinds of situations you might face on a day-to-day basis will give you a closer look at what to expect.

A Day in the Life of an EMT

Even as a volunteer EMT, you can expect to be exposed to helping with people who have been injured in automobile crashes or other accidents. You may be asked to hand supplies or other tools to your certified coworker so that they can efficiently do their job. Being so close to the accident scene, you will most likely see things (severely injured people and blood) that should immediately give you a sense as to whether this is something you would be able to deal with on a daily basis.

Deciding Factors

You may be called to assist with accidents that have occurred at home or involve someone who has had a heart attack or stroke. You may also be asked to help carry a person down a flight of stairs into a waiting ambulance. Though only a volunteer, you may be asked to help rescue people during severe weather conditions. Are you able to work in bitter cold and snow or ice? Can you help to care for someone in a brutal heat wave?

These are all questions you'll need to ask yourself before you decide whether you want to further your schooling in an emergency medical technician program. That's why volunteering first is the perfect opportunity for you to see exactly how this profession works before you make a commitment!


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