Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are some of the most important people in any society. They’re the people on hand at any kind of emergency situation to provide crucial medical care that can literally save lives.
However, gaining an EMT certification doesn’t just restrict you to working as an emergency responder. Infact, there are dozens of other careers you can pursue with this qualification.
In this article, we’re going to be talking about why someone with an EMT certification might want to pursue a different kind of career and look at 11 other jobs that they can do instead.
Why would an EMT want to switch careers?
There are a number of reasons an EMT might want to call it quits and go into a different line of work.
As with any profession, some people find that they lose the interest that they felt at the start of their career and look to other opportunities to rekindle that passion. However, these are some of the other reasons many choose to switch:
EMTs are known as some of the hardest working people in the world, often working shifts up to 24 hours!
Some people enjoy being able to work for longer periods in a working day and have more days off throughout the week, but this obviously isn’t for everyone.
As you might have guessed, responding to emergency situations isn’t always the safest thing to be doing every day. EMTs can never be 100% of the situation they’re going into but they have to be brave and get involved to save people’s lives.
For some, this can seem like an exciting job in which uncertainty and unpredictability keep each working day new and interesting. After time, though, many EMTs feel the physical and emotional drain that comes with such a dangerous line of work and look to safer careers instead.
Again, this is something that can apply to pretty much any profession, and seeking to earn more money than you currently are is practically a universal desire.
An EMT in the US can earn anywhere from $30k to $80k per year but it’s massively dependent on where they’re working. For example, EMTs in Washington earn more than double the salary of EMTs in Alabama.
For some people, the option of moving to a different part of the country isn’t possible with family commitments, so seeking a career switch is a smart idea to earn a bigger salary.
11 jobs you can get with an EMT certification
Now that we’ve established why an EMT might want to pursue an alternative career, let’s take a look at some of the professions they’ll be well suited to.
Lifeguard ($29k per year)
Whilst the average pay for a lifeguard in the US probably isn’t more than an EMT will earn, it certainly provides some desirable working conditions.
For example, a beach lifeguard who might work on the coast may get to enjoy spending a whole shift out in the sunshine and not be required to rescue anyone.
Of course, it is still essential that lifeguards are able to perform rescues when necessary and that’s why EMT training and certification is often sought for this job.
Lifeguards are typically involved in far fewer life or death situations than an EMT, so many seek this career as a less stressful alternative.
Firefighter ($48k per year)
Perhaps a little more similar to the lifestyle of an EMT, firefighters are also some of the first emergency responders on the scene when a dangerous fire needs extinguishing.
Often also regarded as heroes of the community, firefighters are required to save lives and prevent great damage to structures in urban areas and wildlife in rural areas.
One of the main differences between a firefighting career and an EMT job (other than the obvious difference in the type of service they provide) is that firefighters are often given food and accommodation during shifts that can last for days and weeks at a time.
Many firefighters spend most of their time living at the fire station and constantly on call for an emergency situation.
Also, firefighters are often required to provide emergency medical assistance and first aid at certain scenes. That’s why an EMT certification is often desirable.
Emergency dispatcher ($41k per year)
Most EMTs will already be familiar with the role of an emergency dispatcher. That’s part of the reason an EMT certification is often sought after by those hiring dispatchers.
Their job is to take calls from citizens in emergency situations and direct the appropriate response service to them.
However, as well as the administrative responsibilities of communicating with different emergency departments, dispatchers are often also required to give crucial information and advice to those on the other end of the phone to keep themselves and others safe.
This, again, is a similar role to that of an EMT but allows people to take a step back from the immediate action of an emergency situation whilst still being able to help out.
Crime lab technician ($57k per year)
This may seem like it’s come from a CSI TV script but EMTs are actually pretty useful to the scientists who work in crime labs.
EMTs have great experience dealing with patients, assessing injuries and evaluating risks to other emergency staff. Therefore, this role works in tandem with the scientists in the lab, as EMTs can help them collect data and evidence in the safest and most effective way possible.
This role also allows workers to be involved in helping others by assisting in solving violent crimes making the world a better place.
Contract medic/paramedic ($59k per year or contract work)
This job requires many similar responsibilities to that of an EMT, with very different working conditions. Contract medics are often employed by private companies to work at events like music festivals, sports tournaments and at amusement parks.
As you can imagine, this diversity of working environments is desirable to many EMTs as it’s often much less dangerous than being an emergency responder and still varied enough to keep things interesting.
The only downside to this career is that the majority of the work is contractual, meaning there often isn’t any guarantee of employment at any given time in the future for a contract medic.
However, there are some dedicated events companies that employ contract medics as full time staff.
Emergency room technician ($42k per year)
This is probably the role that has the most similarities with the job of an EMT.
Whilst EMTs are required to go to the scene of an emergency to provide vital medical assistance, an emergency room technician will have patients brought to them from the scene of an emergency to provide more well equipped medical attention.
Those with an EMT certification will already have knowledge and experience of monitoring a person's vital signs and blood pressure to accurately determine their progression. This is one of the many reasons EMTs are often sought after to work in emergency rooms at hospitals.
Medical equipment service technician ($40k per year)
Whilst this role does differ a lot from the responsibilities and qualifications required of an EMT, it’s still something that many people with the certification go into.
With this career, you’ll often move around between different offices and hospitals, repairing emergency response and hospital equipment and supplies.
Of course, something like this does also require some technical knowledge, so many employers will seek someone with a degree of relevant experience. However, some will also provide on the job training.
Physician assistant ($73k per year)
As well as being one of the most well paid jobs on our list, a physician assistant is also one of the most difficult.
This role involves working very closely with doctors and surgeons in hospitals, helping them to assess the severity of a patient’s injury and determine the most effective treatment.
Because of the amount of responsibility that comes with this career, extra training will almost definitely be required.
However, those with an EMT certification will be prioritized over those who don’t because of their existing knowledge and experience that will make the training process much easier.
Combat medic ($44k per year)
As you might have guessed, the working environment for a combat medic can actually be even more dangerous than that of an EMT. They work in military environments and the most experienced are often called upon to travel to and work in active war zones.
This is effectively the same job as an EMT, with major differences in working conditions. For some people, the opportunity to work in such a thrilling and rewarding environment is a positive one.
However, this job certainly isn’t for everyone and should be considered carefully before pursuing it.
First aid instructor ($54k per year)
This is a pretty self explanatory role, as it simply requires providing training and lessons in first aid to those who might want and need it.
This often involves teaching CPR, treating wounds and AED. Naturally, those with an EMT certification will already have this knowledge, as well as even more rigorous training.
The role often requires travelling to different locations, including schools, offices and special events.
However, first aid instructors are also responsible for teaching those who need to learn it for a certain qualification. For example, lifeguards and sports coaches need to have this training to be able to perform their role safely, making first aid instructors necessary for many industries.
Offshore medic ($69k per year)
The final job on our list is the offshore medic, a role which requires workers to spend weeks and even months away from land and their loved ones, making it a very demanding career.
The responsibilities of an offshore medic are very similar to that of a paramedic or EMT and involve administering medical care to injured or sick workers on an offshore rig.
This is definitely one of the most demanding jobs on our list. However, it is also one of the most well paid, with many feeling that the payoff is worth the hard work.
Of course, EMTs are very well suited to this career, given that they will already have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide adequate healthcare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth getting EMT certified?
This is obviously a matter of personal preference and requirements because some people will value a career as an EMT more than others.
If you’re passionate about healthcare and want to work in a fast-paced, exciting environment, getting an EMT certification and a career as an EMT is very useful.
Alternatively, if you’re not sure that you want a career as an EMT, the qualification is still very useful to have for transferring your skills to a different profession. Check out our list of 11 jobs you can do with an EMT certification above.
Is EMT a good paying job?
EMTs earn vastly different salaries in the USA, depending on where they work and how much demand there is for emergency medical staff in that area.
For example, an EMT that works in a busy city with frequent emergency situations that require their assistance will earn a very good salary, up to as much as $80k.
However, in smaller towns and cities where there are fewer people and fewer emergencies that require EMTs, they can earn as little as a $30k salary.
Can you live off being an EMT?
In most cases, yes, you can live off of the salary of being an EMT alone. EMTs tend to earn less money in smaller towns and cities where living costs are also lower. Therefore, even a lower paid EMT can survive off of their salary.
That was our guide to the alternative careers you can pursue with an EMT certification. Of course, there are other appropriate options to those with the qualification that we haven’t mentioned so feel free to keep researching to find the role that’s perfect for you.
Whatever you choose to do with your EMT certification, you’re bound to make an incredibly positive impact on those around you throughout your career.