Are you interested in healthcare and looking for something a little different? Do you respond well in emergencies? You might want to consider a career as an ambulance care attendant. Read on to find out if emergency medical care is the right field for you.
Ambulance care attendants provide transport and basic emergency healthcare to seriously injured or ill people. In this position, you'd respond to dispatcher calls from healthcare facilities or 911 services by driving or riding in an ambulance to the scene of a medical emergency. As one of the first to arrive, you'd help emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics or firefighters assess patient medical conditions and provide first aid, including oxygen administration and stabilization of vital signs, before transporting patients to hospitals.
Other tasks you might carry out as an ambulance care attendant are participating in rescue operations at an accident scene or moving patients between healthcare facilities in non-emergency situations. After completing a job, you'd be responsible for cleaning and decontaminating the ambulance and equipment, as well as restocking supplies. You may have to provide reports for hospital personnel or law enforcement. As you consider the career of ambulance care attendant, you'll want to be aware that in addition to exposure to contagious diseases, you may also be at risk for back injury from repeated heavy lifting, kneeling and bending, along with injury from violent or aggressive patients.
Employers for ambulance care attendants include ambulance companies, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. In addition to ambulance care attendant, your job title could be EMT-Basic, emergency vehicle operator, first responder or emergency medical services driver. You might also work as an emergency room technician, a lifeguard, or on ski patrol. Another option is to continue your education and become an EMT or paramedic.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), ambulance drivers and attendants earned an average annual salary of $24,130 in May 2010 (www.bls.gov). If you were to become an EMT or paramedic, you'd earn a higher salary; during the same month of May 2010, the BLS reported an income of $33,300 for those professions. Job growth over the next decade is comparable, however. The BLS showed an expected increase of nine percent for EMTs and paramedics from 2008-2018, while O*NET OnLine predicted that ambulance attendant jobs would increase by 7%-13% (onetonline.org).
Certificate training programs for EMT-Basic and emergency medical technology are usually taught at community and technical colleges. You may need to have current adult, child and infant CPR certification before enrolling; medical terminology may also be a prerequisite. Program courses would teach medical assessment techniques, injury care such as bandaging, splinting and traction, immobilization for spinal injuries and airway management. You'd also learn rescue, extrication and childbirth procedures. If you wish to continue your education, ambulance care attendant training may transfer to an EMT or paramedic program.