While technology is eliminating the need for some jobs, we will always need paramedics: In fact, EMT job growth is expected to explode by up to 33% within the next two years. So, how can you enter this career, which is both financially and emotionally rewarding? Here are three simple steps to pursue your future as an EMT!

Do You Have What it Takes?

Becoming an EMT requires more than just a desire to help people. To begin, you need a high school diploma or equivalent, along with a clean criminal record. If this describes you, you may be qualified to pursue this type of career, provided that you have also reached your eighteenth birthday.

It’s also important that you possess certain skills, such as the compassion to relate to your patients on a personal level and the ability to get along well with diverse co-workers. Listening and communication skills are also important because you’ll need to explain situations to your patients and follow the instructions other caregivers relate to you. Finally, physical strength is important, because there is much lifting and bending involved in the day to day activities of an EMT.

Get Your Training and Certification

This is a multi-step process that begins with obtaining basic CPR certification, but it also involves several other training and certification courses. Once you have CPR training, you’ll need to pursue your EMT-B certification, which is the basic certification for most EMT personnel. The courses for certification can take anywhere from three to six months to complete with a tuition of $500 to $900.

Once you have your EMT-B training completed, it will be time for you to take the National Registry EMT-Basic exam. This is a computer test that adapts to your level of knowledge. The more you know, the more difficult future questions will become. The test is intended to establish the full range of your knowledge.

Advancing Your Career

From here, you have a few choices. You can either begin working as a paramedic immediately, or you can pursue additional training to get your EMT-I (EMT Intermediate) certification. In either case, you’ll eventually have to enroll in paramedic school, which requires 1,300 hours of training and will earn you an associate degree. Tuition costs vary, depending on the community college or technical school in which you enroll. If you obtain employment as a EMT-B/firefighter, your fire department may pay a portion of the tuition.

Paramedic school will teach you more advanced procedures, such as administering an IV and learning how to interpret echocardiogram (EKG) readings. You’ll also learn advanced human anatomy and biology, and college level math and English. Next, you’ll get certified as an ambulance driver, as well. Once you’ve fully completed this training and earned your degree, it will be time to take the National Registry exam for paramedic.

The process for becoming a paramedic is long and challenging, but it can lead to a rewarding career. If you’re interested in helping others and changing lives, this may be the right career path for you. Taking on the title and responsibilities of paramedic can lead you into a worthwhile career and one that will always be in demand.