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EMS vs EMT: What’s the Difference?

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There is some confusion out there about EMS and EMTs. In fact, a frequently asked question is:

What’s the difference between EMS and EMT?

After reading EMS vs EMT you will know and understand the answer.


EMS vs EMT: Mnemonic


What does EMT stand for? Emergency Medical Technician

EMS stands for: Emergency Medical Services

EMS vs EMT: A Person vs. A System

EMS vs EMT InfographicThe difference between EMS and EMT is that EMT is a person and EMS is a system. However, the goal of both is to provide patients with emergency medical care.



⇒ EMT – EMTs are the most common providers in Emergency Medical Services (EMS). EMTs are trained medical workers providing Basic Life Support to sick and injured patients.


They can perform rapid patient assessments, treat injuries, provide interventions and transport patients as needed. EMTs are also skilled in responding to both medical and trauma related emergency events.


There are multiple levels of EMT which vary depending on which state you are located in. The Paramedic, also called EMT-P, is usually the highest level of EMT.


EMTs often work in ambulances or hospitals and are experts at taking vital signs, bleeding control and patient assessment.


To learn more check out our What is an EMT? page! 

What is an EMT


⇒ EMS – EMS is a system set up to provide emergency medical care in response to emergencies. It is an intricate system that involves many departments because it must be able to send personnel to respond to every type of emergency. This includes rescues and extractions in some areas.


When you see an ambulance or medical helicopter responding to emergencies, they are part of EMS. Firefighters and police are part of EMS and are often first on scene for medical emergencies.


EMTs, Paramedics, Nurses and Physicians are all part of the EMS system. Additionally, dispatchers and the 911 response team are important parts of EMS that often get overlooked.


Emergency medical response must be coordinated and well-organized. This makes it possible for patients to receive great response times and optimal care from the moment they are injured until they are admitted to the Emergency Department. For more details about EMS, go to EMS.gov.


⇒ If you enjoyed EMS vs EMT, check out EMT vs Paramedic.

⇒ Interested in EMTs? Go to How to become an EMT.

⇒ Check out 5 qualities of a good EMT.

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