Paramedic careers include the professions of ambulance paramedic, nurse paramedic, fireman paramedic and law enforcement officer paramedic. All of these professionals render emergency medical services in a variety of settings. Most people in paramedic careers are employed by ambulance companies, police departments and hospitals, but some are private healthcare providers hired by politicians and traveling businesspeople. Politicians and businesspeople might have medical conditions that require emergency care while away from their primary care physicians and specialists.
Many fire departments in the United States will hire only a firefighter who also is a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT), also known as a health care provider for basic life support. A few departments require firefighters to hold paramedic certification, known as advanced life support. This requires the completion of a state-approved course in paramedicine, the passing of a written exam and a multiple-stage practical exam. Requirements such as these have resulted in the creation of the role of fireman paramedic. Firefighters with paramedic careers are among the rescuers who often are the first responders to administer pre-hospital care.
Emergency medical services also might need to be provided by law enforcement officers such as the police, a highway patrol agent or a sheriff, because they also are among those who are first responders to emergency situations. This is why they might be required to earn certification as EMTs or paramedics as well. Paramedic careers in which they might work include those of police paramedics or police EMTs and sheriff paramedics or sheriff EMTs.
The ambulance paramedic probably is the most well known and most practiced of all of the paramedic careers. These pre-hospital healthcare providers render emergency medical services in private homes, nursing homes, schools, assisted-care facilities, the back of ambulances and many outdoor settings. They usually work in close cooperation with law enforcement officers and firefighters. Their cooperation with physicians typically involves contact by radio and in the emergency room of hospitals to report on a patient's conditions and receive medical direction.
Other paramedic careers include employment in paramedic nursing and emergency rescue of scuba divers. Paramedic nurses, unlike nurses who are not paramedics, tend to work exclusively in the emergency rooms of hospitals. Ship captains, forest rangers and personal fitness trainers also might work in paramedic careers or hold an EMT license. Medical emergencies can develop quickly on ships, in remotes forested areas and in fitness training gymnasiums. When these people have the knowledge of how to handle life-threatening medical conditions or injuries, the chances of saving lives increase because medical care can be provided before the arrival of an ambulance.