Difference Between Paramedic and EMT

Both paramedics, as well as EMT professionals, are trained under the Emergency Medical Services system. Though trained under the same system, their courses are separate, and so are their training and the duration of the course.


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Paramedic vs EMT

The difference between Paramedic and EMT is that the level of education they receive and the scope of practice, and the level of care they can provide their patients. Paramedic is required to go through a course of approximately twelve months of about 1,200 to 1,800 hours at the max. However, EMT, or as the full form stands for Emergency Medical Technician, goes through a course of 170 hours.

Paramedic vs EMT

The paramedics are referred to as “Next to Doctors” as they always attend to patients in the absence of the doctor and assist them during a life-threatening and critical medical situation.

The EMTs are the medical professionals who give the basic medical care to patients and also are qualified enough to conduct the basic medical tests.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonParamedicEMT
Name MeaningNext to DoctorEmergency Medical Technician
Hours Required12,000 hours to 18,000 hours170 hours
In general They are trained to give specialized and advanced medical care.They are trained to give basic medical care.
Level of Responsibilities Lesser than doctors, but more than EMTs.Lesser than paramedics.
Major ResponsibilitiesCPRs, clear airway, give or prescribe IV medication, prescribing or giving someone a tracheotomy, etc.Conducting basic medical tests, assisting medical emergencies via 911 calls, etc.

What is Paramedic?

The word “Paramedic” can be divided into two terms, para and medic, which give meaning to the word. The first half means “next to”, and the latter one means doctor.

The paramedics are required to train and learn more than that of an EMT. They are more qualified to handle a critical emergency medical situation.

When the doctors are not around, they are qualified enough to supervise the rest of the team comprising of less experienced and less qualified staff like an EMT.

They are required to take a course of a minimum of 12,000 hours. Some of the courses might even go up to 18,000 hours if required.

After the completion of the course, one is required to sit for an exam demanded by the state. One needs to take a valid certification from a government-authorized place within two years after passing the exam.

During a critical situation, a paramedic can do a few of the following things:

  • CPRs
  • Clear airway
  • Give or prescribe IV medication
  • Prescribing or giving someone a tracheotomy

What is EMT?

Emergency Medical Technicians, or as they are called EMTs, are the most common type of providers who attend EMS situations patients. They learn and are train to assist during a life-threatening situation.

The course which they take on is approximately 170 hours long. In general, an EMT is not required to have a medical, educational background to pursue this particular course.

These risky situations may include serious allergies, vehicle accident victims, or even doing CPR when a patient is experiencing a cardiac arrest.

The EMTs are required to carry a medical toolbox with them when on duty. The EMTs are required to take several motor and cognitive tests to make sure they can work in high-pressure situations.


Main Differences Between Paramedic and EMT

  1. The level of responsibilities of the paramedics is less than that of doctors but more than that of less experienced staff, as the EMTs, whereas the level of responsibilities of the EMTs is less than that of the paramedics.
  2. CPRs, clear airway, Give or prescribe IV medication, prescribing or giving someone a tracheotomy, etc. Whereas the major responsibilities of the EMTs are: Conducting basic medical tests, assisting medical emergencies via 911 calls, etc.
Difference Between Paramedic and EMT


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1197/j.aem.2005.02.013
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867416307966
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