What Is the Difference Between an EMT and a Paramedic?

There are two main differences between an EMT and a paramedic: the amount of training they have received and the types of procedures they are able to perform. An EMT generally finishes 150 hours of training and coursework, while a paramedic completes between 1,200 and 1,800 hours of training and coursework. Both EMTs and paramedics have to pass an exam administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians .

The other difference between an EMT and a paramedic is the type of procedures each is able to perform. An EMT can perform general first aid, such as CPR and the administration of oxygen. EMTs also have the ability to give a patient over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol or aspirin. EMTs also perform patient transport between different facilities, transporting patients from a hospital to home.

A paramedic is able to perform more complex procedures, many of which involve breaking a patient’s skin. Examples of these procedures can include starting an IV, giving a patient a shot of epinephrine or performing a procedure known as a tracheotomy. Paramedics also have the ability to give patients some types of medications; however, the types of medications vary depending on state regulations in the area where the paramedic works.