What Is an AEMT?

An advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT) is an emergency medical technician (EMT) who provides emergency medical services. They provide limited but advanced emergency medical care and transportation to patients who need access to the emergency medical system or emergency medical services (EMS).

An AEMT is another rung on the ladder of EMS service providers, requiring a higher level of knowledge and skill than emergency medical responders (EMRs) and EMTs, but has more limited ability to provide a range of care than a paramedic.

The certification process to become an AEMT can be lengthy. While there are online AEMT courses, these courses usually require an in-person component, whether completing clinical rotations on an ambulance or participating in skills-based AEMT simulations.

While AEMTs and EMTs sound very similar, the two roles have different permissions and authorizations when providing emergency medical care to patients. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between an EMT and an AEMT, as well as where EMR professionals and paramedics rank in comparison.

The Four Levels of EMT Certifications

Only some people who work inside of an ambulance are paramedics. In fact, four types of EMS professionals can work in emergency medical vehicles. Each of these roles has its own unique scope of training and services it can provide when responding to an emergency.

EMR

Emergency medical responders (EMRs) are professionals who administer life-saving interventions or techniques until a more qualified medical professional arrives at the scene. EMR professionals typically use techniques such as CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and they can assist other medical professionals during the emergency or during transport. An EMR professional should be able to perform basic, life-saving interventions with minimal equipment effectively.

EMT

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) go a step further from EMRs, having acquired the knowledge and training to transport patients for all emergency calls. This can include routine medical transports to life-and-death emergencies. Typically, the professional driving the ambulance is an EMT.

EMTs are able to provide life-saving treatment both on the site of the emergency and in the ambulance during the transport. An EMT can:

  • Control bleeding
  • Address shock
  • Stabilize fractures
  • Perform CPR
  • Bandage wounds
  • Ventilate patients
  • Open and maintain an airway

Generally speaking, EMTs can provide basic life support medical interventions using minimal equipment.

AEMT

So, what can an AEMT do that an EMT cannot do? A key difference between an EMT and an AEMT is that AEMTs are trained to use more advanced medical equipment found in an ambulance to provide medical interventions. A few examples of the advanced medical equipment AEMTs use include:

  • Intravenous (IV) access and administration equipment
  • Advanced airway technology, such as i-gel and King LT
  • Intraosseous (IO) access and administration equipment

AEMTs are also authorized to administer non-prescribed emergency medication to patients when necessary, whereas EMTs cannot. Because AEMTs work with more advanced equipment and medicines, their certification courses can range between 150 to 250 hours and include a clinical rotation, internship, or on-the-job simulations to complete their course.

Paramedic

The final rung on the EMS personnel ladder is the paramedic. Paramedics are the most advanced and skilled emergency responders, with approximately 1,000 hours of training and coursework. This doesn’t include the internships or clinical rotations they must complete to earn their certification.

Paramedics have an advanced understanding of emergency life support skills, including:

  • Intubation
  • Medication administration
  • Intravenous therapy
  • Manual defibrillation
  • EKG interpretation

Paramedics have all of the knowledge and shared responsibilities of an EMR, EMT, and AEMT but typically act as the leader when responding to an emergency.

Next Steps With the Video Vault

Whether you are just dipping your toe into the emergency services field or looking to advance your current position as a responder, you need to be fully prepared for the certification process. Each role must complete a National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) accredited course for their desired role.

These courses can be overwhelming, with complicated medical jargon and a fast-paced timeline. This is where the Video Vault comes in.

Designed by EMS personnel for EMS personnel, the Video Vault comes with lifetime access to more than 480 resources to prepare you for your certifications and beyond. These resources include videos, audio files, NREMT practice questions, worksheets, and drug cards to help you understand the material and better prepare for the job!

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