Emergency Medical Services Personnel

What do Emergency Medical Services Personnel do?

Emergency medical services personnel work in pre-hospital emergency care, providing immediate care to the critically ill and injured. In Virginia, career (paid) and volunteer opportunities are available with rescue squads, fire departments, hospitals, commercial ambulance services, medevac services and private industry.

What might EMS Personnel do in a workday?

Depending on their training, emergency medical services personnel:

  • control bleeding, provide CPR, treat environmental emergencies, care for burns, splint and bandage, free those trapped in vehicles or water, and assist with emergency childbirth.
  • observe and report patients’ conditions and communicate with medical personnel at emergency departments via mobile radio and telephone systems. immobilize, secure, lift and move patients.
  • assess the nature and extent of illness or injury before arriving at the hospital.
  • work with law enforcement, fire services and emergency dispatch centers.
  • reassure patients, families and bystanders during medical emergencies.
  • assess hazardous material incidents, using decontamination techniques as needed.
  • drive and operate emergency vehicles.
  • clean, maintain and inspect medical and rescue equipment.

Developing a Career in Emergency Medical Services

There are various levels of emergency medical personnel:

  • First responders control bleeding, perform CPR, provide oxygen and stabilize fractures.
  • Emergency medical technicians assist those being transported by ambulance. EMTs assess patients’ conditions, immobilize broken bones, deliver babies and treat for shock, serious illnesses or cardiac problems.
  • Enhanced technicians start intravenous fluid lines, administer limited medications and employ specialized airway techniques.
  • Intermediate technicians administer a variety of medications, use advanced airway techniques, do cardiac monitoring (EKGs) and use defibrillator units.

Paramedics offer the highest level of pre-hospital care in Virginia. They receive expanded medical, trauma and pediatric emergency training, including extensive in-hospital clinical rotations. Paramedics can administer a variety of drugs and perform specialized cardiac monitoring and trauma care. In Virginia, medevac helicopter units employ specialized flight nurses or paramedics.

How much salary do EMS Personnel make?

Annual Mean Wage

How do I become an EMS Personnel?

Students interested in emergency medical service professions should take challenging courses in high school science and health/safety and first aid (including CPR). Students should also take driver’s education and volunteer in a related setting.

To be certified for positions beyond EMT, candidates must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The higher level the position sought, the more additional education and training required. Continuing education is necessary for recertification.

Where else can I learn about becoming an Emergency Medical Services Personnel?

Virginia Job Opportunities:


Professional Associations:

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
P.O. Box 1400
Clinton, MS 39060-1400
(800) 346-2368

Office of Emergency Medical Services
Virginia Department of Health
1041 Technology Park Drive
Glen Allen, VA 23059

(804) 888-9100
(800) 523-6019 (Virginia only)

National Association of EMS Educators
250 Mount Lebanon Boulevard
Suite 209
Pittsburgh, PA 15234

(412) 343-4775

Air Medical Physician Association
951 E. Montana Vista Lane
Salt Lake City, UT 84124

(801) 263-2672

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