Emt vs. Medical Assistant – Key Differences & Similarities

Here are the basic similarities and differences between a medical assistant and an EMT.

As an aspiring medical professional seeking to pick a more suitable or desirable career, it is common to have some challenges with distinguishing between certain professions due to perceived similarities.

Medical Assistant vs. EMT

The easiest way to figure out the differences is by making critical comparisons.

To give you an example of such situations, you may be at a crossroads when comparing professions like medical assisting and emergency medical technician.

These are both essential health professions with different roles and functions.

You’ll have to make critical comparisons as we’ve done here to determine what’s best for you. You then get to choose what to go with after completing your findings.

You might want to read along for details on similarities and differences between medical assisting and EMT.

  • Who’s a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants are professionals that work alongside physicians.

They’re cross-trained to handle both clinical and administrative duties. There are varying practice specialties regarding the types of responsibilities these professionals perform.

A medical assistant handles vital functions that ensure the smooth running or operation of a doctor’s office, medical clinic, or hospital.

These professionals handle responsibilities given by a physician while also helping with paperwork, handling callers and drop-ins, scheduling procedures,

  • Who’s an EMT?

The emergency medical technician (EMT) is trained to provide emergency medical care. Such care is offered to the injured and critically ill.

EMTs are equipped with basic medical knowledge and skills to provide such care effectively.

They’re the first responders to arrive on the scene during emergencies. Now, EMTs could be made up of groups of health professionals like paramedics, nurses, and doctors,

By providing direct clinical care to populations affected by emergencies, they help support the local health system.

Emt or Medical Assistant – Comparison

At this point, we proceed to make critical comparisons between these groups or types of medical professionals.

For this discussion to be comprehensive enough, we’ll look at fundamental factors like their roles or responsibilities, salary, education & training requirements, and job outlook.

Other areas to compare include skills and knowledge, work settings, and the good and bad aspects of each profession. Without any delay, let’s proceed right away to consider these points.

i. Responsibilities or Roles

There are apparent differences in the responsibilities or roles of medical assistants and EMTs.

In the case of medical assistants, primary responsibilities include coding and completing insurance forms, scheduling patient appointments, taking vital signs, and performing bookkeeping and office duties.

Other responsibilities include maintaining patient records, performing lab tests, arranging patient admission into a healthcare facility, and prepping & administering all kinds of medications.

Medical assistants also clean & sterilize medical tools & equipment in addition to collecting specimens.

What more? These professionals (medical assistants) also prepare patients for treatment. These responsibilities differ from those performed by EMTs.

EMTs’ responsibilities include sterilizing an ambulance’s interior as needed and transporting patients to a medical facility. EMTs provide medical aid like ventilation, CPR, stopping severe bleeding, and bandaging wounds.

They always intervene during emergencies by driving to trouble spots to provide essential life support to victims. EMTs will also prepare patient care reports and note the treatment administered.

They restock medical supplies in an ambulance as well.

ii. Salary

When it comes to the salary factor, it’s important to note that both of these professions don’t make a lot.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical assistants is $32,480, while that for EMTs is $33,380. This applies to entry-level positions.

The salary situation for both professions changes with experience, the number of hours spent on the job, and the level of training, amongst other things.

Medical assistants typically work fewer hours than EMTs. This means fewer shift differentials and overtime pay compared to their EMT counterparts.

We must also point out that EMTs tend to have better benefit packages than medical assistants. Examples include tuition reimbursements for furthering their education.

You may want to research the salary structure further to determine what suits your needs best.

iii. Education & Training Requirements

Education is an essential factor to consider when comparing the two. To become a medical assistant, you’ll need at least a high school diploma or GED.

An associate degree will also be a boost as it improves your chances of getting employed. Employers may also be more interested if you’ve earned additional certifications.

You’ll also need a high school diploma or GED to become an EMT. Persons with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can also choose to become EMTs.

Standardized training is provided to equip them with relevant skills. As stated earlier, you get to advance your career by pursuing an advanced degree in an accredited EMT school.

iv. Job Outlook

Regarding job outlook, both medical assistants and EMTs have an optimistic projection from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to the BLS, the employment growth rate for medical assistants is 19% faster than all professions in the workforce.

The employment growth rate for EMTs is 6%. This is much lower compared to employment projections for medical assistants.

v. Skills & Knowledge

There are several similarities in terms of skills and knowledge required by these professionals.

These include excellent communication and customer service skills and good human physiology and anatomy knowledge.

For EMTs, quick assessment of the patient’s condition and working under chaotic conditions is necessary. It’s also essential for medical assistants and EMTs to work effectively with other professionals as team members.

vi. Work Settings

Medical assistants work in various settings, including hospitals, private practices, clinics, nursing homes, employment services, diagnostic medical laboratories, and ambulatory services.

For EMTs, work settings include fire departments, ambulance services, hospitals, and medical care companies. These healthcare professionals may also work in municipal and governmental EMS agencies.

Using this comparison, you can determine which of these healthcare professions suits your aspirations.

In comparing the two, we’ve included vital factors that help you better understand and appreciate these differences and similarities.