Become an ER Technician
An ER technician is a person who has undergone extensive medical training, much the same as an EMT. Whereas an EMT works primarily in an ambulance, an ER technician works in the emergency room at a hospital. ER technicians provide assistance to nurses and doctors in caring for patients. By taking early steps such as meeting with an ER technician and developing your education in the field, as well as getting licensed and experience as an EMT-basic, you should be able to find a job as an ER technician.
Laying the Groundwork
- Arrange a meeting with an ER technician to learn about the job. The best thing to do when you're thinking of pursuing any career is to speak to someone working in that field. Speaking to an actual ER technician will allow you to find answers to all the questions you have about the job. Contact the reception of your local hospital and explain your situation and tell them you'd like to speak to an ER technician when they're not working.
- Ask the ER technician questions like: "What do you like the most about the job?" and "is there anything I should study that will help me with the job?"
- Develop your knowledge of biology. A decent knowledge of biology will certainly help when you're working in the job as an ER technician. You'll need to take a variety of health and safety courses on your way to becoming an ER technician. Health and safety will focus on different areas of the body and a knowledge of biology will tell you what each area does.
- Get a Basic Life Support for Health Providers (BLS) Card. Most emergency medical technician courses require 1 of these cards or certificates for access to the course. The BLS course is offered by the American Heart Association. You can take the course in 1 day over the course of 4 and a half hours.
- You can find and apply for BLS courses at the following link: https://cpr.heart.org/AHAECC/CPRAndECC/Training/HealthcareProfessional/BasicLifeSupportBLS/UCM_473189_Basic-Life-Support-BLS.jsp.
- The BLS course will cost around $100.
- The course will teach you the AHA chain of survival, the differences between rescue techniques for adults, children, and infants, how to perform CPR, and how to relieve choking, among other things.
- When you finish the course, you will be presented with a BLS card. The card will be valid for 2 years.
Improving Your Education
- Find and apply for an EMT basic training program. Basic training must be completed by all people who want to become an ER technician. Search online to find which colleges near you offer the basic training program. Plenty of technical schools and community colleges across the United States offer the EMT basic training program.
- Use the NREMT website to find and apply for basic training: https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/emt.
- EMT basic training will cost between $1000 and $1500.
- Note that you must be at least 18 years old to enroll in an EMT basic training program.
- Take and complete the EMT basic training course. EMT basic training typically takes somewhere between 120 and 150 hours to complete. The course will teach you the basic skills that you'll need when working as an ER technician. You will learn how to deal with cardiac, respiratory, and trauma emergencies.
- In the classroom, you will learn about anatomy, physiology, medical jargon and terminology, as well as how to assess patients.
- Some courses will require you to work in an ambulance or a hospital to get work experience.
- Complete a bachelor's degree if you want to boost your resumé. Colleges throughout the country, universities, and community colleges offer courses in health care and emergency medicine for potential ER technicians. A bachelor's degree will boost your resumé and increase your chances of employment, as well as increasing your knowledge about the field.
- Some colleges allow the bachelor's degree course to be taken online.
- Most colleges have entry requirements. Find out the college's entry requirements on their website or by contacting them via email or phone.
- The bachelor's degree is optional but will make you stand out far more to prospective employers.
Getting a Licence and Experience
- Prepare for the NREMT exam. Like all exams, it's a good idea to study before you take your NREMT exam. The exam is difficult but with plenty of study, you should have no problem passing the test. You can take practice exams online at the following website: https://www.emt-national-training.com/demo/create_test.php.
- The test will cover subjects including trauma, cardiology, resuscitation, respiration and ventilation, neurology, obstetrics, gynecology, and EMS operations.
- Take and pass the NREMT exam. To get certified and licensed to work as an ER technician, you will need to pass the exam held by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Some states might require you to take another exam on top of the NREMT exam to get certified.
- The exam costs $70.
- Use the following website to sign up for the NREMT test: https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/cognitive-schedule.
- Receive your license to work as an EMT. Once you've passed the exam, you should receive your license in the mail in the following 3 to 4 weeks. If you did not pass the exam, the NREMT will send you a letter to tell you. You can retake the exam 2 more times.
- You will need to take the test every 2 years to keep your license.
- Contact your state department to find out the rules and regulations on getting an EMT license.
- Create your EMT resumé. At this point, you should have more than enough education and training to write a detailed resumé. A well-written resumé which emphasizes the depth of training and education you have in the field will look great to prospective employers. Include in your resumé:
- A skills section where you mention that you thrive under pressure, you're a skilled problem-solver, and excellent at working in a team. List an example of a time you used each skill in the past.
- Your education and training should be front and center on your resumé. You will have very little experience, if any, at this stage so it's vital that you emphasize how well educated you are in the field.
- Apply for internships or jobs as an EMT-basic. While you have loads of training and education at this point, you now need experience on the job. Now that you've completed a solid resumé, you're ready to apply for jobs or internships as an EMT-basic.
- Take an advanced training course to boost your resumé. You can find advanced EMT training courses at community colleges, technical colleges, or universities. These courses will build on what you were taught in basic training. In an advanced EMT training course, you will learn about pharmacology and how to operate machines in the emergency room.
- Find and apply for EMT advanced training at the following website: https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/advancedemt.
- EMT advanced training can cost between $750 and $1500.
- Advanced training courses take around 300 hours to complete.
- When you finish the advanced course, you can take the NREMT test again to become licensed as an advanced EMT.
Finding a Job
- Look for jobs as an ER technician. Contact hospitals in your area by email or phone and ask about open positions for ER technicians. Search for job openings online or at job fairs.
- Apply for jobs as an ER technician. If you find a job on 1 of these job websites, you can upload your resumé and click "apply" to send your application. However, it's always better to mail your resumé and cover letter to the employer rather than use these sites. Mail applications will impress employers as they will recognize the effort you had to go through to apply.
- Include a cover letter with each application. A cover letter is a letter sent with your resumé that allows you to delve into the contents of your resumé in greater detail. You can also explain why you think you're the perfect candidate for the job.
- In your cover letter, talk about your education and experience in depth. Start the letter with "Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to you to apply for the ER technician job at [hospital name] as advertised on [where you saw the job advert]."
- Talk about why you are a perfect fit for the job in your letter.
- Keep it short. Don't let your cover letter run over 1 page in length.
- Interview for ER technician positions. It's vital that you dress well, turn up 10-15 minutes before the interview time, and smile during the interview. You need to appear confident to the interviewer. Don't slouch in your chair and maintain eye contact.
- Talk about your extensive training, as well as your experiences as an intern.
- Answer the interviewer questions as concisely as possible. Don't ramble.
- Work as an ER technician. Once you find and get offered a job, you can work as an ER technician. Working as an ER technician is hectic and busy, but is also a highly rewarding job. You will work under pressure every day and assist nurses and doctors in administering emergency care to patients.
- If you want to move into management in a few years, you can return to college and complete a bachelor's or master's in emergency medical services administration.
- It is very likely that you will need to pass background checks before getting your EMT license.
- Potential employers will also check if you have a history of criminal activity,