Job Description If you are thinking about helping people for a living there are a handful of career opportunities for your consideration but none more involving than that of a paramedic. This is a job in which you are not only an ambulance driver but a part doctor, part nurse and part counselor. Depending on the job's requirements, a paramedic can work for the fire department, a hospital and in some cases for a private ambulance service. A paramedic's primary function is to offer medical care for people who have sustained injuries and to people in need of medical care, but can also transport people to nursing homes and hospitals so they can go through medical tests and procedures. Some paramedics can be used as nurse substitutes within hospitals and nursing homes and this is why paramedics who do not want or who cannot respond to emergency calls can still be able to provide medical care to patients without the use of ambulances. Paramedics are generally part of a two-person team working together with a EMT, with the paramedic being held responsible for the correct administration of drugs to patients in need of medical care as well as determining how to safely transport the patients in the emergency vehicle. Probably the most important thing to remember is that through their ability to provide competent medical care paramedics save lives. Training and Requirements If you are considering a career as a paramedic you are required to at least have a GED or a high school diploma as well as being at least 18 years of age. You will be required to pass a physical examination as well as undergoing a series of medical tests in order to determine if you are both physically and mentally fit. The next step is completing a basic EMT training course, which can take about 2 years at many community colleges. These courses are developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and they help you deal with cardiac emergencies and airway management, as well as trauma and patient assessment. At the end of these courses, you will be able to asses trauma, manage airways afflictions, as well as providing advanced first aid. Next step is going through an intermediate EMT training course which takes 30-350 hours to complete, this course will build on the capacities acquired during the basic EMT course and it will provide you with the knowledge to administer intravenous fluids, analyze heart rhythms and how to properly administer medications. Having completed the first two EMT courses, you will now be required to follow a EMT Paramedic training program which covers advanced medical skills as well as anatomy and physiology courses. The program has a completion period of almost 2 years and during this program you are required to take part in clinical rotations and ambulance runs. The aptitude to read EKGs, the knowledge of how to use various sophisticated equipment and the ability to perform endotracheal intubations are among the capacities of a paramedic. After completing the EMT courses you will now be able to become certified as a paramedic and certification is earn after successfully completing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam. Outlook and Salary Being an essential profession within the community of both urban and rural areas, there is always a demand for paramedics during the continuous growth in population. According to the Department of Labor, the job of a paramedic is among the 15 fastest growing occupations with an expected growth rate of over 33 percent. Paramedics should have no difficulties finding jobs within state health care facilities as well as working in the private sector and the number of available jobs varies depending on the state or agencies in need of paramedics. Because of the continuous growth in population, hospitals sometimes become overcrowded which means the amount of time spent by paramedics with patients increases, all this resulting in a constant need for both hospitals and private healthcare facilities to hire additional personnel. Most healthcare job openings in the United States can be found in New York, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and California. A paramedic's salary depends on level of training, experience, the organization looking to hire, as well as the state a paramedic is looking to work in. The average salary that can be expected by a paramedic ranges between $30,000 and $50,000 per year and it can substantially grow depending on experience up to somewhere in the region of $70,000 per year. Salary also varies according to state as in Louisiana the average wage for a paramedic is $33,000 while in New York the annual salary can reach $45,000 in average. As per usual, healthcare professionals receive certain medical benefits but the average hourly salary within the United States varies from $12 to $20 depending on the state and nature of the employer. Paramedics are sometimes required to work almost 60 hours a week and it is generally believed that the salary does not fully reflect the effort put into the job. However, the best paid jobs for qualified paramedics can be found in metropolitan areas where the number of medical emergencies is constantly growing along with the increase in population.
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