The majority of our students come from a premedical background but there are a few with other career choices such as firefighter, paramedic, law enforcement, etc.
I truly believe becoming an EMT is one of the best decisions you can make when you’re either on the fence of diving into healthcare or if you want to pursue something deeper in healthcare. It opens many doors in various industries.
Private ambulance companies
Most private ambulance companies are always hiring. They have the tough spot of being a stepping stone for most employees (deeper discussion for another blog post). Look for a company that pays what you’re happy with, fosters a good company culture, and services the type of clients and calls you’d want to work with. Positions at ambulance companies tend to be a little more flexible especially for those with other jobs or are in school. There might be down time between calls to study or nap. You’re working with one partner for the entirety of your shift and you’ll have only one patient at a time. For those pursuing advanced degrees like Physician assistant, nurse, or physician, I recommend finding a company that deploys 1-1 rigs. You get the benefit of working with a paramedic without going to medic school.
2. Emergency Room Technician (ER Tech)
This was unheard of for me when I was an EMT. But recently, I’ve seen EMTs become ER techs straight out of school. This is a position that is also sought after by nursing assistants as well as paramedics. You’re essentially support staff for nurses. Duties include but are not limited to stocking, cleaning, transporting patients, performing EKGs, blood draws, and CPR. You’ll be working closely with providers of various levels while seeing a variety of medical illnesses and traumatic injuries depending on the hospital you work at. It's important to keep in mind that you are not functioning as an EMT when you're an ED Tech/Assistant. So when it comes time to renewing your certification or license, you'll have to directly correspond with the IDPH rather than an EMS Coordinator within a system.
3. Urgent Care Tech
The same rules apply as an ER tech. The acuity level will be lower in comparison to the patients you’d see in the emergency room.
4. Standby EMS for events
The company that comes to mind in Chicago is Event Medical Solutions. The biggest event they provide EMS for recently is Lollapalooza. You’ll either be placed in various spots around the event or be stationed in one of the medical tents assessing and managing patients as they come in.
5. Various assistant/tech roles around the hospital/Plasma Donation Centers
I personally became an Anesthesia Technician at Northwestern solely off of my experience as a paramedic and have been fortunate to bring on coworkers who were EMT students of ours. Most hospitals do seek for an official anesthesia tech certificate, but this is one example of how having an EMT background can get your foot in the door
6. Security/Law Enforcement
We've had students that were already law enforcement officers for Chicago Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Reserve participate in our course. One applicable role is SWAT paramedic.
7. Fire department
There are a few fire departments that would take you on as an EMT and put you through the fire academy and paramedic school. A good number of our students either are coming from a fire department to get or renew their EMT or are interested in the fire service.