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My Experience As An EMT

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

By Makena Smith

My passion for emergency medicine sparked from my dad’s work in physical therapy. While PT is not a very active or high-stakes environment, I knew from working in his office that I needed an environment saturated with action and activity that required game-time decisions. During the summer of 2022, I decided to earn my EMT license to 1) gain clinical experience needed to apply to medical school, and 2) immerse myself in emergency medicine to see if that was really the career path I wanted to explore. The experience of EMT school itself was extremely rewarding– not only did you learn tons of valuable skills and information to prepare yourself for a hands-on job of caring for patients, but also got the opportunity to meet people from all over the area working together and collaborating to receive a great educational experience.

My life has kind of taken a couple of drastic turns since earning my EMT license, which hasn’t allowed me to be fully employed as an EMT, but I actively look for opportunities to volunteer or short-term positions that require support at events or stations needing the extra help. While the process of becoming an EMT may be scary (you may be nervous about caring for others hands-on, questioning if you will do your job correctly), but trust me, the academy you go to will fully prepare you to excel at being an EMT. In the job, you are constantly learning and contributing to the people around you, which provides you valuable experience you won’t get anywhere else.

My future aspirations consist of attending medical school via the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), which is a program through the US Military that pays for your medical school. The scholarship is eligible for you to attend any accredited medical school in the US. To sum it up, while you attend medical school, the military covers your tuition, 45 days’ pay (during annual officer training), signing bonus, and a living stipend. In return, you must serve one year of service for every year of medical school they pay for. For more information, visit this link:

Overall, when deciding how and where to get clinical hours, my biggest suggestion is to find what YOU’RE interested in. If you’re interested in emergency medicine, get your EMT license, but if you would rather spend time completing research, scribing, shadowing, or a combination of different opportunities, that is completely fine! You want to make sure that the experiences you are exposing yourself to are ones that you find valuable and interesting! The last thing you want is to be stuck completing clinical hours as an EMT, when you’d much rather be in a doctor’s private office scribing, gaining one-on-one clinical experience with a physician.

Thanks for reading!

For those interested: I attended the Bay Area Training Academy (BATA) located right next to Oakland airport. I had so much fun learning and thought the environment was prime. Alex Aste was my instructor, so if you are thinking about getting your EMT license, BATA is great, especially with Alex at the helm!

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