Choosing to become a paramedic is a great decision. As a paramedic, you play a critical part in helping to save lives during an emergency situation. However, the job of an advanced emergency medical technician is not all sunshine and roses. As with any job, there are pros and cons to entering this emergency medical services field. Below, you will find some common pros and cons associated with becoming a paramedic.
To get things started, here are some of the pros to being a paramedic.
Helping Others: This by far can be considered the number one pro to becoming a paramedic. You are directly involved with helping someone else. Often times, you are helping to save the life of someone you don’t even know. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re making a difference to a person who is potentially having the worst day of their life.
Good Pay and Job Outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment as an EMT and paramedic is expected to grow by about 33 percent between now and the year 2020. This is much faster than other occupations. Paramedics earn more money than basic EMTs. Your salary is commensurate with the level of education and experience you have. As you gain more in both knowledge and training, you can expect your pay to also increase.
Easy of Entry: In order to become a paramedic, it is not required that you go to college. In most cases, you simply need to be at least 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma. After that, you have a number of options as to how you obtain your formal training in order to become eligible to sit for and pass the state administered paramedic exam.
Now, let’s look at some of the cons of deciding to pursue a career as a paramedic.
Lack of Sleep: As a paramedic, you may be required to work long hours. As a result, you may end up working a shift where you are on the clock for 24 hours, and then off for 48 hours. Chances are, you’re going to end up needing to be awake for those full 24 hours too because you might not always get the opportunity to sleep through the night.
Not So Nice Patients: Let’s face it, as a paramedic you are more than likely going to come into contact with people who are not having the greatest day. Patients and their family members, as a result of being involved in an emergency situation, might speak to you in language that is offensive and/or rude. In extreme situations, you may even be the target of someone’s attempt to assault you, all because of the stress that an emergency situation can cause.
Risk for Work Related Injuries and Illnesses: As a result of all of the bending, lifting, and kneeling that you’ll be frequently doing, you are at risk for suffering from a work-related injury and/or illness. You may be spit on or come into contact with a patient’s vomit. As an advanced EMT, you might come into contact with persons who are infected with diseases like hepatitis-B or AIDS.