Calling EMTs and Paramedics


Flock Mistress
14 Years
Jan 12, 2007
Land of Lincoln
Well my hubby finally passed his EMT Basic and got his license by the state. He was definately happy with the news and started to go for applications and interviews.

Heres the bummer...he was told that he would strictly do "Geritol" runs and non emergency runs. He thought he would be with the paramedics and the EMI's and get some experience thru them and the ambulance service. Well the boss at the ambulance service said the EMT basics do NOT go out on emergency runs, only the paramedics and "I" are allowed for emergency runs.

Hubby has been an EMT almost twenty years ago at a rural ambulance service and all they had was Basic and I's for their services. Has alot of things changed?

Why are the ambulance services required more paramedics? If it is required paramedics to be on ambulance services, then why offer the EMT Basic courses??? Are the Basic courses for policemens, fire fighters and public service folks only?

He does NOT like to adminster drugs, IV's and intubation is not a problem for him. He is very weak in math and does not know alegbra or fractions very well as required of a paramedics. I think it would be too much of a challenge.

Is there anything else besides a Basic EMT can do rather than the "Geritol" runs (as the ambulance folks says)

What are the difference in EMT Intermediate and Paramedic courses offer and what they really do?????


equine chick

14 Years
Feb 9, 2007
Volant Pa Lawrence County
You know you never know what you can do unless you try. What would it hurt to take some paramedic courses at the local community college? Emt's are needed to transport patients to other facilities that require medical care. They are stable but they still need watched. I'm not an emt but a critical care nurse and I offer time every month on some rides in my community. A paramedic in simple terms is similar to a reg nurse that is trained in the field and in trauma.
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11 Years
12 Years
Jan 25, 2008
The Wilds of Western PA
When I took my medic course back in high school (1993-94), the medics had a lot more to learn than the EMT's. We were taught 27 (??) medications we could administer, I know we had to know complete anatomy & physiology, down to the skull bones, we were IV certified. It was a long course. We were taught how to block flipped cars, how to rapelle (sp?) down buildings, how to carry gurneys up and down steps, stuff like that.

I know around here EMT's are mostly in the volunteer stations and when you dial 911, they're first on scene to administer what aid they can till the medic arrives.

The wage difference between EMT and medic is about $7.25/hourly.

I've let my medic go, I went into nursing. I think with all the problems there are with people and being sue happy, malpractice and all that, they're required by insurance companies and such to have certain staffing standards.

Even as an RN/BSN, I'm required to carry my own malpractice insurance. Health care is a nightmare these days.



In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 11, 2008
st. clair county illinois
he can try the local hospitals sometimes they hire emt-b to work in the ER. down in the southern part of illinois the emt-b run with the paramedics. have him ask around to different ambulance services in the area, this might just be a protocol that that particular company has.


12 Years
Mar 2, 2007
North West South Dakota
As a former EMT-I, you have to be a basic first and then you can advance after that. He needs to get some experience under his belt first. I worked for a volunteer service to begin with and in little towns like that they take everyone available. The bigger service the more Medics are needed for services. If he just passed, he's got time and room for lots of improvement on being a basic first. Now if he wants to he can further his medical attention towards paramedic or intermediate. I wish him lots of luck and believe me it's worth going on for more. The more schooling he gets the better pay he can get too.


12 Years
Jan 8, 2008
Northern Michigan
His best bet will be to check into volunteer fire departments. Our department is a basic non transport. Our ambulance comes from the city with 2 medics.

Unfortunately if he wants to be on an ambulance more than likely it will be all non emergency runs.

I've been a basic for 14 years now, I've been asked to take the medic class several times, and have declined everytime. I enjoy being a volunteer.


Frugal Fan Club President
15 Years
Jan 20, 2008
That's weird. My guy just went through the EMT basic and EMT paramedic to get those courses over with, and basics in this town are always paired with the paramedics. The intermediates don't exist around here anymore, and they've eliminated the classes for it. In the very short interim of being a basic, he would assist the paramedics, doing the small things like hold body parts in place while the paramedics decided what drugs were called for and that sorta thing.
The things he couldn't do as a basic but is now doing as a paramedic are give trachs, advanced airway techniques, run the EKG machines, give medications . . . as a basic he could only give medication if it was on the person at the scene, like advil in a purse. The classes weren't much different, he just had to know mid math and memorize 300 different drugs and their uses, and when to administer them, he had to memorize more body parts and functions, and he had to familiarize himself with more equipment. It must have been hard work, though, because only 2 out of twenty something people passed, and most of them had been basics for years before taking the class.
Some places will pay for the paramedic course for their employees, you should check and see if that's an option.


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
British Columbia, Canada
It totally depends on the service. Here you can begin as an EMT (we call them PCP) in either the Emergency or the Transfer fleet. From there you can lateral between the two or upgrade to Paramedic (ACP here). There have been times when turnover is low that you had to take a spot on the transfer fleet in order to get hired full time but in a bit of time you could get to the Emerge fleet.

ACP is not for everyone and depending on the years he has left before retirement he might not think it's worth it. Here the training is very expensive and the payback in wage is often the reason I hear for not going ahead. If he really wants to do it money of course should not be the only factor but sounds like your hubby is thinking he is not wanting that role.

Back when I started the emerge and the transfer roles were not separated, we crammed the transfer calls in between the street calls and it was not good. Few transfers went at the booked time and we never got any breaks, jumped right from delivering to the whichever ER to scrambling up to the ward to get someone out any direction they happened to be going regardless of 'our' area. The transfer fleets now have the luxury of scheduled breaks, a set route or logical connection between calls and a known start and finish time. The calls can be very rewarding and it is a good training ground for getting to the Emerge side.

I chose to move on to ACP, then to CCP back doing interhospital transfers but of critical patients from ICU to ICU or small rural hospitals to big centers for more treatment again with more routine transfers in between. Basically the Emerge and Transfer fleet in aircrafts. Now I'm back doing street ACP work. All of it is enjoyable, none of the paces or demands can be matched up.

Good luck with whatever he decides.


14 Years
Mar 19, 2007
I've been a paramedic for a 911 service for the last 17 years. Thing have changed alot since then.
We used to run each rig with an EMT-B and a Paramedic. About 10 years ago they implimented the EMT-I training. Now all the rig are staffed with a EMT-I and Paramedic. When an EMT-B finishes with class they will normally ride along with us as a third person. They are expected to go on to the next I class, normally within 6 months or so. If they don't go one to I class or don't pass it, they are normally released from our service and normally go on to work with fire or lifeguard. We consider the B class as just a basic class to see if you like and can handle EMS field work.
With all the advances in medicine and equipment, my job has changed alot and is more difficult and technical that it was 17 years ago when I started. I rely alot on my I partner to be able to suppliment my skills in getting the dozen critical tasks that need to be done, and done correctly so I don't miss anything. After all if anything goes wrong...and it sometimes does...I am the one ultimately responsible.
Litigation and law suits are getting out of hand. When someone dies because they crashed their motorcycle doing 90mph, it is my fault as a paramedic that I didn't save them. Or when they drown in 20 foot surf it is my fault that I didn't resustate them. I have had several supid and frivilous lawsuit filed against me and my crew because we didn't save someone...luckily none of them have prevailed. People can never take responsiblity for thier own actions....if they get hurt or die, it has to be someone elses fault and that soemone is normally me and my crew who are first on scene.
Good luck to you and your hubby. If he wants to make a career out of EMS tell him if buck it up and go and do the I class and even get his paramedic liscence. There are ways around not being able to do math, like having cheat sheets with drug calculation already done. Even after 17 years I still have my cheatsheets and shortcuts written down to reference if I need. Out in the field we are doing a job that would normally be done by 2 or 3 nurses and a doctor if it were to happen in a hospital setting. You don't have another nurse to check your drug calculation or a respitory therapist to verify your ventilator setting. Thats where cheatsheets work in verifying your calculations and work you are doing by yourself under a difficult and stressful situations.
EMS would be a perfect job if we could just get rid of all the stupid people who do stupid stuff
but that will never happen so we have to take the bad with the good and make the best of every bad situation.


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