Dean College EMT Training students

Please Note: Our EMT training program is no longer accepting applicants at this time. However, if you are interested in a career in the field of healthcare, we encourage you to explore our Biology degree program, which can provide a strong foundation for various healthcare careers.

While the terms emergency medical technician (EMT) and emergency medical services (EMS) tend to be used interchangeably, they are actually two very different things. The latter is an entire field of emergency medicine, which the EMT and paramedic are both a part of. Basically, an EMT is the employee or specialist who can handle emergency medicine. The career field in which they work is considered to be EMS.

When someone calls EMS for an emergency, an EMT shows up to perform the medical work that needs to be done. With that said, even though one is a larger field and the other a specialized component of it, there are other differences between them as well.  

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

If someone gets hurt in their home and needs medical treatment, EMS is called. This is a blanket term that refers to all specialized emergency medicine that needs to be take place between the home or accident scene and the hospital. Those who work in EMS are either EMTs or paramedics. (There are differences between those two jobs as well.)

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

An emergency medical technician, or EMT, is someone who works within the EMS system. These EMTs have a certification in specialized emergency medicine. They might utilize an ambulance to get to the patient, and once they arrive, their goal is to stabilize the patient before transport and while enroute to the hospital. With that said, EMTs can also be firefighters or specially trained members of the police force as well.

While an EMT can perform many emergency medical functions, there are some that they do not handle, such as airway management (keeping the airway clear so the patient can breathe), starting IVs, and determining which IV medications and fluids should be given. These are the responsibility of other roles within EMS.

Other Jobs Within EMS

Many people who choose to work in emergency medical services end up starting as EMTs. This is the first level of the job, where the basics are taught, such as CPR, diagnosing minor ailments that will need emergency care, such as allergies, and performing basic first aid. Over time, EMTs end up going through further training in order to become paramedics. There are several layers in between, such an EMT-intermediate and EMT-critical care, but once you reach the top, you become a paramedic.

A paramedic can perform all of the functions of an EMT, with some specialized additional techniques, such as being able to insert devices to clear and airway, starting IVs, giving shots, performing further resuscitation efforts beyond CPR and more. Paramedics work for an EMS team, making them a crucial part of the emergency medicine system.

Do You Want to Work in EMS?

If you want to work in emergency medical services, whether as an EMT or a paramedic, you'll need to get some specialized training. Learn more about our EMT certification course that can help you get started on your journey into the field of EMS.