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EMS and Paramedic Careers

photo of a female fire medic and firefighter

Working Environment

Because emergency services function 24 hours a day, EMTs and paramedics have irregular working hours. The working environment for this rewarding and challenging field includes:

  • Working both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather
  • Kneeling, bending and heavy lifting of patients and equipment
  • Exposure to infectious diseases such as hepatitis-B and HIV
  • Making quick decisions in life-and-death situations
  • Receiving unpredictable reactions from patients who are stressed and in pain
  • Communicating effectively to determine what is wrong and how to proceed with treatment

For realistic information on job duties and working conditions, check out:

Certification Levels

Beyond the general duties listed, specific responsibilities of EMTs and Paramedics depend on their level of qualification and training. To determine this, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians registers emergency medical service (EMS) providers at four levels. Some states, including Texas, also offer their own certification.

  • First responders (Emergency Care Assistants — ECA) are trained to provide basic emergency medical care because they tend to be the first people to arrive at the scene of an incident. Many firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers have this level of training.
  • EMT represents the first component of the emergency medical technician system. An EMT is trained to care for patients at the scene of an accident and while transporting patients by ambulance to the hospital under medical direction. An EMT has the emergency skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac and trauma emergencies.
  • EMT-Advanced (EMT-A) has more advanced training that allows the administration of intravenous fluids, the use of manual defibrillators to give lifesaving shocks to a stopped heart and the application of advanced airway techniques and equipment to assist patients experiencing respiratory emergencies.
  • Paramedics provide the most extensive prehospital care. In addition to carrying out all of the above procedures, Paramedics may administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations and use monitors and other complex equipment.


Job opportunities include working with:

  • Private ambulance services
  • Fire departments
  • Police departments
  • Emergency 911 services
  • Hospitals and clinics

EMTs and Paramedics

EMT and Paramedic training may apply to other work than emergency medicine in the field. A Paramedic can become a supervisor, operations manager, administrative director or executive director of emergency services.

Some EMTs and Paramedics become instructors, dispatchers, nurses, physician assistants or other health care professionals. Others may move into sales or marketing of emergency medical equipment. 

Salaries and Projected Job Growth

According to America’s Career Infonet, salaries for the following occupations in Texas are:

Job Median Hourly Rate Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Through 2022
EMTs and Paramedics $15.95 $33,200 +29%
Firefighters $22.03 $45,800 +18%