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Growing Healthcare Opportunities in Cumberland County

The healthcare industry is growing steadily throughout the U.S., and Cumberland County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country for those interested in entering the healthcare field. Let’s take a closer look at the healthcare career opportunities in Cumberland County, and the kind of PA job training programs and experience you need to take advantage of them.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses provide patient care in healthcare settings, rather than being the first responders to emergency calls. They tend to work in doctors’ offices, hospitals and other established facilities, and are responsible for the health and well-being of their patients.

The average salary for a registered nurse or RN in Cumberland County is $68,700.

A Day in the Life of an RN

Unless a patient arrives at a medical facility in an ambulance, RNs are often the first medical professional a patient sees. An RN will perform initial physical exams and review the patient’s medical history, and will often help the doctor with diagnostic procedures.

They also help record vital signs, change wound dressings and administer medication. RNs often work in high-stress environments such as hospitals where they work long shifts or are required to be on call. They also spend a lot of time walking, bending, standing and even lifting during an average day on the job.

How Do I Become an RN?

Again, entering this field requires going back to school. Choose coursework that focuses on subjects like anatomy, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition and psychology.

There are three different paths to help you become an RN, including a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing program.

You will also be required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination before you can begin to work as a registered nurse.

EMTs and Paramedics

Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, and paramedics in Cumberland County all work for the Emergency Medical Services section of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Both these careers are highly skilled and require years of training and experience. However, there are differences in the kind of care and treatment EMTs and paramedics can administer.

Between the two careers, there are roughly 55,000 certified EMTs employed in Pennsylvania, and more than 1,000 different air and ground agencies that can respond to emergency calls. In Pennsylvania alone, there are more than a million calls for emergency service every single year.

What Do EMTs Do?

Emergency medical technicians are trained to stabilize and transport emergency victims to the nearest hospital where they can receive treatment. In addition to stabilization and transport, EMTs can:

  • Perform CPR
  • Administer oxygen
  • Provide basic airway management
  • Immobilize spines
  • Bandage and splint injuries
  • Monitor vital signs

EMTs are trained to respond to all sorts of medical emergencies, but they aren’t qualified to provide advanced life support care.

What Do Paramedics Do?

Paramedics take more courses than EMTs. In addition to the care offered by an EMT, paramedics are trained to provide:

  • Advanced airway management
  • Intubation
  • Manual defibrillation
  • External transcutaneous pacing
  • EKG monitoring
  • 12-lead EKG acquisition
  • IV fluid therapy
  • Needle chest decompression
  • Other skills as needed for critical care

Paramedics receive the necessary training to respond to any kind of emergency, just as EMTs do, but they can also offer more lifesaving care, in addition to stabilization and transportation.

A Day in the Life of an EMT or Paramedic

What does a day in the life look like for an EMT or paramedic?

Most of these individuals work 12- or 24-hour shifts, and a third of them work more than 40 hours per week. EMTs and paramedics are often the first on the scene during an emergency. Many work overnight shifts or are on call even when they’re off-duty, which can make it hard to keep a standard schedule.

The number of calls that happen during any given shift, and the severity of the cases, will vary dramatically. Some days might be very easy to handle, while others can be hectic. This unpredictability can make it a challenging career to manage for some people.

On average, an EMT will make around $32,000 a year in Pennsylvania, while paramedics make approximately $39,000 because they require more specialized training.

How Do I Become an EMT or a Paramedic?

If you’re interested in becoming an EMT or a paramedic, the first thing you need to do is go back to school. Both careers require coursework that focuses on anatomy, injury assessment, CPR, emergency management and how to lift and move patients. One good place to start is to look at the National EMS education standards.

To become an EMT in Cumberland County, you will need to complete 220 hours of medical coursework and pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam.

Once you’ve passed the NREMT exam and become a state-certified EMT, you can start working toward becoming a paramedic. In addition to the coursework required to become an EMT, you will be required to complete an additional 1,200 hours of paramedic curriculum, as well as pass another exam.

EMTs, paramedics and registered nurses are among the highest-demand careers in Cumberland County right now, and PA workforce development experts estimate healthcare will remain one of the fastest-growing industries hiring in PA. If you’re interested in jobs in healthcare, your first step will be to go back to school if you don’t already have the required education.

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