Many people who are considering going into the healthcare field may ask themselves “What is the difference between a nurse and paramedic?”. When choosing a career path life is full of difficult choices. It takes some careful consideration to make the best choices in life. Deciding upon a career is one of those difficult choices. The medical field is a great area to enter but deciding which area of medicine to pursue can be quite difficult. Many students struggle to decide between attending nursing school or paramedic school; both are wonderful career choices, but which should students choose?
What is the Difference between a Nurse and Paramedic (EMT)?
Although nurses and paramedics both provide a high level of quality health care, there are differences in the two professions.
Paramedics participate in a medical technician program where they progress through three levels: Basic (EMT), Intermediate (EMT), and Paramedic (EMT). Coursework may consist of topics in trauma, emergency skills, and patient assessment. These students must also spend time in an ambulance and emergency room to gain knowledge of the emergency equipment. They gain their certification by through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT). Recertification is required every two years. The responsibilities of paramedics usually consist of caring for patients with life-threatening emergencies.
Nurses must attend accredited vocational school, colleges, and universities. They can become licensed vocational nurses, registered nurses, and certified nurse aids—just to name a few. Their education is a combination of coursework and clinical experiences. They can gain their various certifications by passing the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX for their respective areas of certification. Nurses must also recertify periodically. They provide outpatient and inpatient care for patients in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices.
Nursing Salary Versus Paramedic (EMT) Salary
The median annual salaries for paramedic were $30,710 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10% earn salaries of $19,880 annually while the top 90% earn wages of $53,050.
The greatest employment opportunities are in the following industries: other ambulatory health care services, local government (OES Designation), general medical and surgical hospitals, other support services, and offices of physicians, respectively. The greatest number of employment opportunities for paramedics are in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, respectively.
The median annual salaries for licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and licensed practical nurse (LPN) were $41,150 annually. The lowest 10% earned wages of $30,650 while the top 90% earned salaries of $57,080 annually. The median annual salaries for registered nurses (RNs) were $65,950 annually. The lowest 10% earned wages of $44,970 annually while the top 90% earn wages of $96,630 annually.
The greatest number of employment opportunities for LVNs and LPNs are in the following industries: nursing care facilities, general medical and surgical hospitals, offices of physicians, home health care services, and community care facilities for the elderly, respectively. The greatest number of employment opportunities for RNs are in the following industries: general medical and surgical hospitals, offices of physicians, home health care services, nursing care facilities, and outpatient care centers, respectively.
How Long is the Nursing Program Versus the Paramedic Program
Paramedics attend school for one to two years and end their training with an associate’s degree. In addition to gaining certification through the NREMT, paramedics can also gain certification by taking state administered tests.
Nurses can attend training ranging from a few months to four years to become nurses. They may also choose to advance their careers through master’s and doctoral programs, which can add an additional two to four years or schooling, depending on level of education.
Both paramedics and nurses provide valuable services to the community. Deciding which career path to enter depends greatly on the individual needs of each individual. Both careers are rewarding for patients and the professionals.