Call us at 978-466-1444

What is the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic?

What sets an EMT apart from a paramedic? Is one intrinsically more valuable to their field than the other? Should you aim to become an EMT solely to eventually become a paramedic, or do EMTs provide crucial, life-saving services alongside paramedics? Is there any value in working as an EMT if you are not going to become a paramedic? The answer might surprise you.

More often than not people view paramedics and EMTs as similar purely because of the nature of their jobs. Each one provides medical services to patients in need, but the training required to perform each job, and the limitations from not having that training,  paints a better picture of the differences between the two.


Emergency Medical Technicians are considered trainees or entry-level medical service workers. A typical EMT will have 190 hours of training in emergency medical services, depending on the location and program. EMTs face limitations on the services and medications they can provide, such as not being allowed to give injections or start intravenous lifelines in certain states. They are qualified to use oxygen, glucose, asthma inhalers, and epinephrine auto-injectors.

These limitations mean that EMTs cannot provide the same services and level of care that a paramedic might. However, becoming a paramedic requires vastly more training and time, and they are often in short supply. EMTs are the lifeblood of emergency services, and without them many ambulances would have difficulty assisting every single patient. There are strict limitations on the services EMTs can perform, but that should not prevent anyone from becoming an EMT, whether they want to become a paramedic or simply want to enter the field of emergency medical services to assist every possible patient.


A paramedic is an advanced provider of emergency medical care. They receive approximately 1200 hours of training depending on location and programs. They are able to give injections as well as use advanced airway management devices to support breathing. They are commonly trained to use 30-40 medications, depending on the state. In addition to their classroom hours they are required to do extensive in-hospital and ambulance training.

Without paramedics emergency medical services would cease to exist. EMTs are the support structure and paramedics are the crucial components. The time and effort it takes to become a paramedic is outweighed by the incredible support they provide to local communities. Every single paramedic and EMT is as valuable as the next, and each one cannot exist without the other. Paramedics are crucial for providing life-saving treatments, and if you want to become a paramedic there is no higher calling.

Should you become an EMT or Paramedic?

Do you want to save lives? Do you want to provide medical support to your community? Then emergency medical services might be right for you. Whether you want to become an EMT or paramedic, the support you provide to your local community is irreplaceable. Whether you have invested 190 or 1200 hours, you are a crucial part of your local emergency services team. Every moment on the job is another skill you are developing to save your next patient.

Ultimately, paramedics have more training than EMTs. That doesn’t make them a better person or more valuable to someone in need of medical services. If you want to become an EMT to become a paramedic or you just want to help, your local community will thank you. If you are interested in joining the emergency medical services field, contact our team today. We would love to help set you down the path of becoming a life-saving force in your community.


MedStar Ambulance
Worcester, MA

MedStar Ambulance
Leominster, MA



Other locations