The biggest differences between paramedics and EMTs are the training and the scope of practice (what they are allowed to do). Basic EMTs usually receive 120-150 hours of training, while paramedics get anywhere from 1,200 hours to 1,800 hours of training. Paramedic programs often award two-year degrees.
The scope of practice differences between EMTs and paramedics can be summed up by the ability to break the skin. Most states do not allow basic emergency medical technicians to give shots or start intravenous lifelines. Paramedics, on the other hand, can give shots as well as use more advanced airway management devices to support breathing. Basic EMTs are usually restricted to using oxygen, glucose, asthma inhalers, and epinephrine auto-injectors (a common exception to the no-needles rule). Paramedics are trained in the use of 30-40 medications, depending on the state.
Not all Fire Departments staff paramedics, as their salary is higher based on the training they have received. Springfield Township staffs Paramedics and provides the highest quality of care for all emergencies.