The state of Wyoming has set standard for three levels of Emergency Medical Technicians.
All pre-hospital emergency life support providers that transport patients on an ambulance start at the Basic level. An EMT-Basic course is approximately 160 hours in Wyoming. At this level, the EMT is trained to provide the initial and ongoing assessment and treatment for a patient who is ill or injured at the basic level. Wyoming EMT-Basics are well trained in basic life support, as well as caring for the trauma or medical patient. They can also assist a patient with specified medications that are prescribed for the patient, such as breathing inhaler or nitroglycerin. Wyoming EMT-Basics cannot provide invasive treatments such as IV access or advanced airway management.
The next level of EMT is the EMT-Intermediate. In Wyoming, the length of the course is dependent on the intermediate modules taken. These include IV Access, Advanced Airway Management, Medication Administration for Medical Emergencies, Medication Administration for Cardiac Emergencies and ECG Interpretation and Manual Defibrillation. In addition to the classroom time, Intermediate students are also required to spend time in the Emergency Room, initiating IV access and honing assessment skill.
The highest level of EMT, recognized in all 50 states, is Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic. The classroom time and clinical time required to become a Paramedic is a minimum of 1,200 hours. Classroom time is much more in depth with an increased focus on the pathophysiology of various disease processes, pharmacology and medication administration, traumatic injury, medical emergencies, and the critical thinking involved in caring for the ill or injured person. Clinical and file internship time allows the student increased exposure to a variety of emergencies and the ability to solidify all that has been learned in the classroom and lab under the guidance of an experienced preceptor.
To put things in perspective, it has been said that in the first ten minutes of a cardiac arrest, there is little difference between what a doctor can do and what an EMT-Paramedic can do. EMT Paramedics are trained in the use of numerous emergency procedures that other levels of EMT are not. In addition, EMT-Paramedics are trained in the administration of many medications that lower levels of technician are not authorized to administer.
Graduates of the program work at fire departments, private EMS companies, dispatch centers, hospitals, or volunteer with an EMS or fire service. Opportunity also exists in the industrial setting. Also, instructors in the Casper College Paramedic Technology Program continue to work in the profession so they can keep up with the ever changing field.
As with most health science degree programs, paramedic technology clinical and field experiences add months to the process of learning as associate's degree, which is sometimes thought of as a "two year degree." The Associate of Science degree in paramedic technology usually takes between two-and-a -half to three years.