EMT, Paramedic, EMS – What does this mean?

EMT, Paramedic, EMS – What does this mean?

January 5, 2021 By: Donna Weiss

EMT, Paramedic, EMS – What do these things mean?

If you are thinking about a prehospital career, you may have heard these acronyms.  Even if you’re not in the medical field, chances are you have heard of an EMT or paramedic.  The COVID pandemic has made our first responders household names.  We all understand that when you call 9-1-1, depending on your exact emergency, you are likely to see the police, an ambulance and/or fire truck.

 The professionals that will arrive when you have a medical emergency will likely be an EMT-Basic (EMT) or EMT-P (paramedic).  Some states have different licensure levels, however, in Missouri, the most common licensure levels are EMT and Paramedic.

EMS Professionals

EMT’s (emergency medical technicians) have the basic training to identify and treat life threatening conditions.  They have the basic training to be employed on an ambulance or respond to emergency situations.  In Missouri, EMT’s are required to attend a state-approved program and pass a psychomotor and written exam to be licensed.  You can read more about what an EMT is and what the training involves here.

A paramedic is highly trained and educated in topics such as anatomy and physiology, cardiology, medications, and medical conditions.  To enter paramedic school, students must first complete EMT training.  EMT training is the first step in entering the field of EMS (emergency medical services).  Paramedics must attend an accredited paramedic program and are extensively trained in topics such as medication administration, IV access, airway management, advanced cardiac life support, and prehospital trauma life support.  The training for a paramedic can range from twelve months to two years.

Respond Right EMS Academy EMT Program

EMS stands for emergency medical services.  The EMT’s, and paramedics are the professionals that work in the EMS system.  There are many components of the EMS system including 9-1-1, dispatch, first responders (EMT’s, paramedics, police officers, fire-fighters, etc), ambulance transport, and air transport.   The EMS system is complex and has many moving parts that work together to assist the community when in need.


Have you thought about becoming an EMT?  Getting started is easy.



Written by: Toni Milan, Paramedic - Program Director