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Career Profile: Emergency Paramedic

Why Is an Emergency Paramedic a Job of Tomorrow?
Emergency paramedics will remain an integral part of the health care industry. Unpredictable circumstances sometimes require immediate medical attention that physicians and nurses cannot provide. For these situations, the skill of an emergency paramedic can mean the difference between life and death. Consequently, having an adequate number of emergency paramedics is a must. Job opportunities for emergency paramedics are expected to grow by 19 percent by 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for emergency paramedics is $27,070.

What Does an Emergency Paramedic Do?
Emergency paramedics are responsible for responding to sudden medical emergencies, such as automobile accidents, heart attacks, childbirth and victims of violence such as gunshots or stabbings. Paramedics are dispatched by an operator and speed over to the scene in an emergency vehicle equipped with basic life-saving devices to tend to the victim. Upon arrival, paramedics must determine the nature and severity of the injury, as well as administer any appropriate aid. Some minor injuries, such as collapse or fainting, can be treated right away without any additional attention. However, major cases, such as if the patient is gravely injured or has suffered a heart attack, must be transported to an emergency care facility for further treatment by physicians. In these incidents, the paramedics will quickly transport the patient.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become an Emergency Paramedic?
Prospective emergency paramedics must have a high school diploma and complete an accredited training program, which can take one or two years. Some paramedic programs result in an associate degree in emergency medicine. Courses cover anatomy and instructions on how to deal with bleeding, fractures and other medical emergencies. Paramedics typically must be recertified every two years to ensure that they are up to date on procedures.

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