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Nature of Work

Working as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or as a paramedic is one of the most rewarding careers possible.  While the pay may not be the best in the world, the benefits are certainly worth it.  This article will highlight some of the benefits and drawbacks of working as an EMT or paramedic, and it will also provide average salary information, training requirements, training centers in Region I, and more.

If you are looking for employment in Region I, and if you are already an EMT or paramedic, then click the link titled "Current Employment Opportunities in Region I," which is on the left side of your screen.  This is the most up-to-date listing of jobs that are available within our 16-county region.


·         Emergency medical services (EMS) is a demanding job field, both mentally and physically

·         Working as an EMT or paramedic often requires long shifts, including holidays, nights, and weekends

·         Mental stability is required to deal with the multitude of emergencies that an EMT or paramedic sees in his or her lifetime

·         Patient interaction requires superb interpersonal skills

·         Specific training is required to become an EMT or paramedic - sole ambulance drivers do not exist in Georgia

·         A license is required to work as an EMT or paramedic in the State of Georgia

·         Employment is expected to grow faster than average as the population grows significantly in each of the 16 counties comprising Region I


People’s lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care of emergency medical technicians (EMT's) and paramedics.  Incidents as varied as automobile accidents, heart attacks, drownings, childbirth, and gunshot wounds all require immediate medical attention.  EMT's and paramedics provide this vital attention as they care for and transport the sick or injured to a medical facility.

Depending on the nature of the emergency, EMT's and paramedics typically are dispatched to the scene by a 911 operator and often work with police and fire department personnel.  Once they arrive, they determine the nature and extent of the patient’s condition while trying to ascertain whether the patient has pre-existing medical problems.  Following strict rules and guidelines, they give appropriate emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient.  Some paramedics are trained to treat patients with minor injuries on the scene of an accident or at their home without transporting them to a medical facility.  Many EMS agencies in Region I utilize standing orders, which allow EMT's and paramedics to provide treatment, including medications, without a direct consult with a physician.

Usually, one EMT or paramedic drives while the other monitors the patient’s vital signs and gives additional care as needed.  Some EMT's work as part of the flight crew of helicopters that transport critically ill or injured patients to hospital trauma centers.

At the medical facility, EMT's and paramedics help transfer patients to the emergency department, report their observations and actions to staff, and may provide additional emergency treatment.  After each run, EMT's and paramedics replace used supplies and check equipment.  If a transported patient had a contagious disease, EMT's and paramedics decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and report cases to the proper authorities.

Beyond these general duties, the specific responsibilities of EMT's and paramedics depend on their level of qualification and training. To determine this, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) registers emergency medical service (EMS) providers at four levels: Emergency Medical Responder (First Responder), Emergency Medical Technician-Basic, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic.  Georgia does not license Emergency Medical Responder.  Georgia also maintains the level of Cardiac Technician, Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate;1985 but does not approve training programs or reciprocity at these levels.

The lowest level—Emergency Medical Responders—are trained to provide basic emergency medical care because they tend to be the first persons to arrive at the scene of an incident.  Many firefighters, police officers, and other emergency workers have this level of training. 

The EMT-Basic represents the first component of the emergency medical technician system.  An EMT-B is trained to care for patients on accident scenes, but in some regions this level cannot be part of an ambulance crew answering emergency calls. The EMT-B has the emergency skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies.

The Advanced EMT has more advanced training that allows administration of intravenous fluids, limited iv medications, use of automated defibrillators to give lifesaving shocks to a stopped heart, and use of basic airway techniques and equipment to assist patients experiencing respiratory emergencies.

 EMT-Paramedics provide the most extensive pre-hospital care.  In addition to the procedures already described, paramedics may administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform manual defibrillation and synchronized cardioversion, perform endotracheal intubations, perform chest decompression, and use complex equipment.

Click this link to view the scope of practice in Georgia for these levels

Georgia Scope of Practice



EMT's and paramedics work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather.  They are required to do considerable kneeling, bending, and heavy lifting.  These workers risk noise-induced hearing loss from sirens and back injuries from lifting patients.  In addition, EMT's and paramedics may be exposed to diseases such as Hepatitis-B and HIV (AIDS), as well as violence from drug overdose victims or mentally unstable patients.  The work is not only physically strenuous, but also stressful, involving life-or-death situations and suffering patients.  Nonetheless, many people find the work exciting and challenging and enjoy the opportunity to help others.

EMT's and paramedics should be emotionally stable, have good dexterity, agility, and physical coordination, and be able to lift and carry heavy loads.  They also need good eyesight (corrective lenses may be used) with accurate color vision.  Many employers will conduct extensive background checks on their applicants.  These background checks may include information on your criminal history, education, and possibly your credit information.  In addition, many may require you to submit to psychological, physical agility, and other forms of testing.


Formal training is required to become an EMT or paramedic.  To become an EMT, one must complete an EMT course, which includes classroom and clinical time.  To become a paramedic, one must already be certified as an EMT and must complete a formal paramedic program.

The following schools in Region I offer EMT and paramedic training programs:

Emergency Medical Technician Programs in Region I:

Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services - Canton
150 Chattin Drive
Canton, GA 30115
(678) 493-4000

Georgia Northwestern Technical College - Rome
1 Maurice Culberson Dr
Rome, GA 30161
(706) 295-6963

Georgia Northwestern Technical College - Calhoun
1151 Highway 53 Spur
Calhoun, GA 30701
(706) 295-6963

Chattahoochee Technical College - Acworth
5198 Ross Rd
Acworth, GA 30102
(770) 975-4000

Georgia Northwestern Technical College - Rock Spring
265 Bicentennial Trail
Rock Spring, GA 30739
(706) 764-3510

Murray County EMS
P.O. Box 1406
Chatsworth, GA 30705
Walker County Fire and Emergency Services
107 Alex Drive
Chickamauga, GA 30707

West Georgia Technical College - Waco
176 Murphy Campus Blvd
Waco, GA 30182

Paramedic Programs in Region I:

          Chattahoochee Technical College - Jasper
           100 Campus Drive
          Jasper, GA 30143
          (706) 253-4500

Georgia Northwestern Technical College - Rome
1 Maurice Culberson Dr
Rome, GA 30161
(706) 295-6883

It is not necessary to attend an EMT and/or paramedic course in Region I in order to work in Region I.  Any EMT and/or paramedic course that is approved by the State Office of EMS will allow you to work in Region I provided you become registered by the National Registry of EMT's.

Advancement beyond the EMT-Paramedic level usually means leaving fieldwork.  An EMT-Paramedic can become a supervisor, operations manager, administrative director, or executive director of emergency services.  Some EMT's and paramedics become instructors, dispatchers, or physician assistants, while others move into sales or marketing of emergency medical equipment.  A number of people become EMT's and paramedics to assess their interest in healthcare and then decide to return to school and become registered nurses, physicians, or other health workers.


Certification is needed to become an EMT or paramedic.  All 50 states possess a certification procedure.  In 38 states and the District of Columbia, registration with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is required at some or all levels of certification.  Other states administer their own certification examination or provide the option of taking the NREMT examination.

Georgia requires registration with NREMT prior to certification by the State of Georgia.  Individuals must pass the NREMT-administered EMT-Intermediate (1985) or EMT-Paramedic examination before he or she will be granted a certificate/license by the State of Georgia.

The following is required to become certified as an EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate or EMT-Paramedic by the State of Georgia:


  • Attend a formal EMT-Basic course that includes
  • No formal clinical training is required.
  • This certification does NOT allow one to staff an ambulance at many EMS agencies.  Check with your local provider or where you wish to be employed to see if they hire EMTs as ambulance attendants.

Advanced EMT:

  • Attend a 377-hour EMT course offered at an available school. (includes 345 hours of classroom time and 32 hours of clinicals)
  • Pass the NREMT-Advanced EMT exam written and practical.
  • Apply for certification by the State of Georgia using the results of your NREMT Advanced EMT exam.

Cardiac Technician:

Cardiac technician courses are no longer offered in Region I.  Therefore, their certification requirements will not be listed.


  • Attend a formal paramedic course that includes classroom and clinical  
  • Perform required hours of clinical time including but not limited to rotations in the emergency department, intensive care unit/critical care unit, operating room, labor and delivery, psychiatric institutions, pre-hospital, and other areas.
  • Pass the National Registry Paramedic written and practical exams
  • Apply for certification by the State of Georgia using the results of your National Registry Paramedic exam.

To maintain certification, EMT's and paramedics must earn continuing education units (CEU's) and must recertify every 2 years. In order to recertify, an EMT must earn 40 hours of CEU's and be certified in CPR.  Paramedics and cardiac technicians must earn 40 hours of CEU's and be certified in CPR and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).  Individual EMS agencies may require more training and continuing education requirements before their EMT's or paramedics are allowed to practice under the license of their medical director.


EMT's and paramedics employed in Region I work a regular shift that is 24 hours on-duty followed by 48 hours off-duty.  Employees are usually provided with sleeping quarters.  However, individuals may get no sleep during their 24-hour shift.

The typical work week is two 24 hour shifts (48 hours total), but every third week the employee will work 72 hours.  This is because the shifts fall on Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  Many county EMS agencies and fire departments will allow this, but many hospitals do not.  The advantage of working 3 24-hour shifts in one week is the 32 hours of overtime.  The advantage of not needing to work your third shift is that you will get a 5-day vacation every third week.  Each has its own benefits.  Those who work the 72-hour workweek will average 56 hours per week (when all weeks are figured).  Those that do not work the 72-hour workweek will only average 48 hours per week.

The average salaries for EMT's and paramedics in Region I are:

Emergency Medical Technician






These salary estimates are based on an average 56-hour work week (24/48 shift with the 72-hour work week every third week).


Employment of EMT's and paramedics is expected to increase nationally over many years.  Population increases will cause more communities to transition from volunteer ambulance corps to paid ambulance services.  Region I EMS does not contain any volunteer ambulance services, but the projected population increases in all of our counties will cause increases in the number of ambulances in operation.  This will result in the need for more EMT's and paramedics.

If you are interested in becoming an EMT or paramedic, call your local EMS agency.  They will be able to provide you with further information.  Many EMS agencies will allow prospective students to ride on the ambulances to see first-hand what it's like to be an EMT or paramedic.  For a list of ambulance services in Region I, please see our EMS Providers section.

We are indebted to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for their permission to use and modify their EMT job outlook information.

Work Conditions

Training and Cont. Education



Employment Outlook

Current Employment Opportunities in Georgia



































































































Original document:
Used and modified with permission of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics

This document is designed for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as an official document.  Region I EMS does not warrant the information contained within this document.

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