Although being an EMT is often thought of as an entry-level position to prepare you to be a paramedic or to get further into an advanced health care field, it should be seen as a smart and fulfilling use of your time and skills as well. The job itself is in high demand as medical emergencies happen all over the world every minute.

Whether you’re needed to provide life-saving care to a heart attack victim or to help a woman give birth outside the hospital, your skills are vital in metropolitan districts, suburban cities and rural areas. Before you can work as an EMT, you’ll need to know the following educational and personal skills.

You’ll Need to Know Emergency Response Skills

The biggest piece of information that you’ll need to know as well as the most obvious one is emergency health care skills. You must be BLS-certified and must prove that you can perform CPR and basic life-saving care. Maintaining an airway, providing patient ventilation and monitoring and assisting with patient circulation are important starting points.

However, you’ll also need to know how to deal with trauma victims who may be bleeding, have head wounds or have broken bones or burns. Finally, emergency response is not complete without basic medical skills, including providing basic obstetric or gynecological care.

You’ll Need to Know How to Remain Calm

Even the best and most accurate knowledge will not be enough to deal with the stressful demands of this job if you don’t have a good support network or an excellent method for self-care. As you can imagine, as an EMT, you will see many difficult things. You will not have a lot of downtime and some of your work hours may be packed with running places on your feet or performing constant hands-on care. Not only will you need to deal with stress without much anxiety and with no panic, but also you must be able to deal with the physical demands of the job.

You’ll Need to Know How to Deal with Long Work Hours

Part of the physical demand on an EMT is the long hours. Don’t assume that all of your work days will be eight hours. Most of the time, you’ll find it difficult or impossible to clock out on time. You’ll be reporting off to your coworkers or finishing up your last job. If you are in the middle of an emergency run, you’ll need to finish it before clocking out. Many EMTs work 10 to 12-hour days.

You’ll Need to Know How to Be Certified

Finally, to be an EMT, you must be properly trained and certified. Your state will require a specific certification before it allows you to practice legally. To become certified, you’ll need to pass a written multiple-choice test as well as a hands-on skills test where you may demonstrate everything from trauma care to basic BLS skills and patient assessment.

Once you’ve been certified as an EMT, you have many opportunities to advance your career further. While this is an entry-level position, it can get your feet wet to help you know if you want to delve further into a career as a paramedic or a nurse, for example. You may also be able to advance your career as a firefighter because many fire departments now provide the majority of emergency medical services for an area. If you love fast-paced environments, plenty of adventure and the joy of helping others, getting your EMT certification is a smart idea.