Emergency Medical Technicians, a career to be first on the scene

Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Written by: Emily Hollingshead

When the rest of us are at our worst, that is when Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are at their best. During the coronavirus pandemic, our public safety officials have been on the front lines, as busy as ever. “When someone is seriously sick or injured, an EMT is often the first part of their care team that they will come in contact with,” said Seminole State College of Florida Professor of Emergency Medical Services Angel Nater. “It is really important that the first impression is a good one and that EMTs can gather the appropriate information.”

What do EMTs do?

Angel Nater, professor and program manager of emergency medical services.

EMTs fill many roles but are primarily part of the emergency medical services system that responds to 911 calls. EMTs can provide oxygen, CPR and help stabilize critical patients. EMT’s often work alongside firefighters, paramedics, police officers and hospital staff to handle emergency situations. In fact, becoming an EMT is the first step for those who want to become a paramedic or firefighter.

“In the field, there needs to be a lot of communication between public safety officials as they interact a great deal,” said Nater. “We put our students through complex simulations to enhance their critical thinking skills, teamwork and provide them with real hands-on experience.”

Where do EMTs work?

An EMT’s workday never looks the same. New locations, new people and new challenges are constants for EMTs. They can work for fire departments, hospitals, private ambulance services and more. The job takes them both indoors and outdoors regardless of the time of day or weather, and while the nature of their work can put them in a wide variety of situations, they will never be stuck behind a desk.

Does the work change during a pandemic?

The pandemic has changed the way many fields operate on a daily basis. However, EMT’s work remained constant. “It is not really possible for EMTs and paramedics to work remotely like a bulk of the population,” said Nater. “But being an emergency personnel is very satisfying, since you can make a difference in someone’s life.” Due to COVID-19, those in the healthcare field have brought even more attention to disease prevention measures, implementing face masks and methods to minimize contact as much as possible to protect the patient and the crew.

How do I become an EMT?

EMTs should be able to work well under pressure as they deal with emergency situations. “Not only do we want the students to know the information and perform the skills, we want them to be able to treat people the way they would want their family to be treated,” said Nater who stresses professionalism, courtesy and compassion as well as the clinical skills. Due to the steady nature of emergencies such as car crashes and natural disasters, in addition to an aging population, the demand for EMTs is projected to grow in the next 10 years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you are interested in becoming an EMT, visit seminolestate.edu/ems/info-sessions for information on the emergency medical services programs at Seminole State. 

Those who are unemployed, furloughed or have reduced hours due to COVID-19 may be eligible to complete the EMT certificate in Spring Term 2021 through the College’s Rapid Skills program, which helps students to earn college credentials and get on track for career success in 18 weeks or less. 

The cost of tuition, fees, books and industry certifications is covered for students who qualify to participate in the Rapid Skills program as long as funds are available. To learn more, visit seminolestate.edu/rapid-skills.

About the Center for Public Safety

Seminole State's Center for Public Safety is a statewide educational resource for all aspects of criminal justice, fire science and EMS. In addition to preparing future first responders, the Center for Public Safety provides advanced, specialized and in-service training for current law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. The College also offers students an Associate in Science degree in all three disciplines. Visit seminolestate.edu/public-safety for more information.