Often times people refer to first-response emergency medical technicians (EMT) as ambulance drivers. Although driving an ambulance to a certain destination is important, EMTs don't actually do the driving - they are in for a much bigger purpose: to maintain stability of one's vital functions while they transport a victim to the hospital.
Often times people think of EMTs and paramedics as the same thing - which they're not. You can become a certified EMT after just 120 hours of training, whereas paramedics require anywhere from 1200 to 1800 hours and usually comes with a 2 year degree.
In other words, all paramedics can be EMTs, but not all EMTs can be paramedics. In addition, EMTs are not allowed to perform many functions that paramedics are. Often times, especially the lower level EMTs, are allowed to only perform some of the most basic health administering functions. Higher levels of EMT experience will provide you with the ability to perform other, more advanced functions.
Most states will not allow EMTs to start intravenous lifelines or perform shots. However, paramedics are allowed to give shots as well as administer many other air support functions.As an EMT, you are limited to about 40 medications which you can use, as well as asthma inhalers, oxygen, glucose, and epinephrine auto-injectors (a relatively common exception for the no needles rule).
In Case of Emergency
Both paramedics and EMTs respond to accidents. Ambulances require at least one certified EMT to be able to assist a patient in the back of the ambulance. Both EMTs and paramedics can administer patients at the back of the ambulance, usually 2 staff members per ambulance. It can be 2 EMTs, 2 paramedics, or one of both.
Becoming an EMT
There are many EMT jobs available for EMT professionals. Getting an EMT certificate requires only about a hundred hours of training, and you can advance as you work. There are many EMT jobs available, and opportunities to advance are endless. Getting higher level of EMT means a little more training, but only after you’ve gained some experience as a lower level. In-field training is required, and you must administer at least 10 patients before you can advance to higher level.
Advancing to Paramedics
After reaching a highest level of EMT you can absolutely become a paramedic for an increased pay and more flexibility. More work will become available to you as you will now be able to perform many functions that are generally restricted to EMTs.