How Do I Become an Emergency Room Technician?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

An emergency room technician, also known as an ER tech or ERT, is a vital part of emergency room procedures. In some regions, there is a constant demand for ER techs due to growing populations and a constant need for medical services. In order to become an emergency room technician, a person will need to complete medical training and educational requirements. In addition to technical prerequisites, certain personal and lifestyle skills are needed to work as an emergency room technician, such as the ability to multi-task, stamina, a flexible schedule, and a desire to work in the high-pressure medical field of emergency care.

An emergency technician might work any day and time.
An emergency technician might work any day and time.

Educational and training requirements needed to become an emergency room technician may vary by region, but many areas share basic guidelines for this profession. In general, a person must possess a high school diploma or equivalent certificate in order to get a job as an emergency room technician. Advanced training for ERT jobs is done through trade schools, community colleges, or even four year universities. Many different degree and training programs can feed into the ERT job market, including medical or nursing assistant programs, emergency medical technician or EMT training, and paramedic training programs.

EMT training is useful for people becoming emergency room technicians.
EMT training is useful for people becoming emergency room technicians.

The technical skills needed to become an emergency room technician include both patient care and hospital management techniques. An ERT may help do preparatory work on ER patients, such as starting IV lines, administering shots and medication injections, drawing blood, and checking vital signs. Emergency room technicians may escort patients to testing facilities and answer any questions they may have about diagnostic procedures. They may also help administrators manage the ER floor, by determining which patient goes into which room, and making sure that each room is cleaned and sterilized following a patient's departure.

An emergency room technician is usually trained in a number of medical procedures.
An emergency room technician is usually trained in a number of medical procedures.

In addition to completing educational requirements that feed into the ERT field, some regions may require certification in order to become an emergency room technician. Certification may be awarded at the end of a qualifying education program, or may be granted through testing in basic medical knowledge and emergency procedures. Certification helps show potential employers that the candidate has been judged competent in the basic skills required to become an emergency room technician. Some medical facilities may consider completion of a degree program as an adequate substitute to a formal certification program.

An emergency room technician may perform prep work, such as drawing blood.
An emergency room technician may perform prep work, such as drawing blood.

When considering trying to become an emergency room technician, it is important for candidates to consider the stress and lifestyle changes common in this field of medical care. ER techs often work long shifts, including late night and early morning hours. Schedules may change from week to week depending on the facility's needs, so it may be difficult to arrange any kind of permanent availability outside of work. The emergency room can be an extremely stressful place, with common illnesses running alongside critical injuries and even fatalities. In order to be a successful emergency room technician, it may help to be the type of person that thrives in fast-paced, high-stress environments.

A paramedic may help keep a patient stable until she can be transported to a hospital emergency room.
A paramedic may help keep a patient stable until she can be transported to a hospital emergency room.
Emergency room personnel need training in both patient care and hospital management techniques.
Emergency room personnel need training in both patient care and hospital management techniques.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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