Paramedics Versus AEMTs

Paramedics and advanced emergency medical technicians (AEMTs) are essential emergency medical services (EMS) professionals. Both are present in emergencies, performing medical interventions to save lives. While their scope of work seems similar, the definition of an advanced emergency medical technician and a paramedic are slightly different. 

Both can administer medication and provide advanced care, but paramedics are more highly trained and can provide more specialized services, including the ability to administer more types of drugs. Paramedics can continue their duties even after transporting patients to a medical facility, such as assisting doctors and nurses in the emergency room or hospital. 

To become an AEMT, it’s recommended to take an online AEMT course and use a study program, like the Video Vault from The Paramedic Coach, to supplement your required training program. In this program, you’ll learn how to pass the advanced EMT test by building a stronger foundation on EMS concepts. 

The Differences Between Paramedics and AEMTs

While both professions have almost the same responsibilities, paramedics and AEMTs differ. Here’s a quick guide on how the two are distinct:


To become an AEMT, you must first be certified as an emergency medical technician (EMT), which entails enrolling in an EMT course and then passing the corresponding National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. Only then can you advance into a more intensive AEMT training program, after which you must pass another NREMT exam and earn a license.

Paramedics have a similar pathway in the sense that one must first be an EMT before pursuing paramedic training. They must also have at least six months of experience in the field. Some paramedic programs may also have admission requirements, which can include a physical exam or an entrance test.


AEMT students must complete a course that runs at least 240 hours. This spans approximately four months and is designed to teach aspiring AEMTs relevant topics applicable to ambulance or rescue services. This is similar to an EMT course, except it tackles more advanced medical interventions plus pharmacology.

Paramedic students, on the other hand, need to finish a program between 1,200 to 1,800 hours. This takes longer, lasting roughly six to twelve months. The course covers anatomy and physiology, cardiology, medications, and advanced medical procedures.


Both paramedics and AEMTs are required to be certified or have a state-issued license before they can practice. They must pass their corresponding NREMT exam and be CPR and basic life-support (BLS) certified. 

Scope of Work

Paramedics and AEMTs share a lot of the same responsibilities as they’re both often the highest level of emergency care providers in out-of-hospital settings. AEMTs are often tasked to assess and monitor patients while providing advanced first-aid care. 

On the other hand, paramedics are pre-hospital service providers, meaning they can perform duties similar to emergency room caregivers. This includes administering medication, treating crash victims, and even delivering newborns.


AEMTs earn an average salary of $38,000 in the United States. Paramedics earn a bit more at an average of $49,000 a year. These numbers vary based on location, experience, and scope of work (e.g., paramedics who work out of air-borne rescue transport earn more).

How to Become an AEMT or a Paramedic

To become an AEMT, you must first enroll in an AEMT training program, take the necessary hands-on training (which could include an internship at an ambulance service), and pass the AEMT exam. After that, you can work as an AEMT or begin a journey to become a paramedic. 

Either way, you must build your comprehensive knowledge of EMS. You can do this with the help of the Video Vault from The Paramedic Coach, an AEMT test prep course made to help you better understand key concepts and pass your NREMT exam. Get lifetime access to our Video Vault today!

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