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6 Often Overlooked Qualities of a Great EMT

If you’re interested in becoming an EMT or are already enrolled in a program, utilize these six oft-overlooked qualities of a great EMT and be better suited to deliver the best patient care possible.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are valuable assets of any emergency medical team. The job’s fast-paced and high-stress nature means that successful EMTs possess a unique combination of professional and personal skills.

An EMT is a trained medical professional who offers emergency care outside of a hospital. EMTs work in a variety of settings and are typically the first responders in emergencies. As first responders, their days demand quick reaction and critical thinking. After someone dials 911, EMTs are alerted and must respond immediately to a variety of critical situations. Once they arrive on the scene with the patient, they quickly assess the situation and treat any life-threatening issues. 

If you’re interested in becoming an EMT or are already enrolled in a program, utilize these six oft-overlooked qualities of a great EMT and be better suited to deliver the best patient care possible. 

Communication Skills

Being a strong communicator is a crucial aspect of being a successful EMT. Being able to communicate quickly and effectively in heart-racing situations is an entirely different kind of communication skill. Strong communication skills also include non-verbal communication. Staying calm and collected in front of a distressed patient will calm their nerves and de-escalate uncertain situations. EMTs are also responsible for effectively communicating with other first responders to ensure the patient is accurately assessed and treated. 


You can possess all the traits of a successful EMT, but it won’t matter if you lack the confidence to do the job. Believe in yourself and your ability to help others - you can do this! Your training, education and instincts will serve you well. While the road to being a successful EMT may be daunting, it is something you can (and will) do! Be confident in yourself and watch the rest fall into place.

Eagerness to Learn

Even after you’ve completed the necessary schooling, you will continue to learn and grow through your experiences on the job. Being a lifelong learner is a common trait of great first responders. No matter your skill level, being enthusiastic about learning will take you far not only in your career but in life as well. Plus, you never know when the education bug will bite and you may return to school for new certifications, greater job opportunities or to segue into your next career path.


Being detached doesn’t mean you have to be cold. A kind attitude will increase the quality of care you provide and bring comfort to those who need it. You’ll get the most out of your career when you have compassion for your patients. Stay humble and stay kind.


Staying patient will aid you throughout both your educational journey and career path. Give your classes the effort they deserve. Herzing offers programs that last from 4 to 16 to 20 months, providing students the chance to choose the option most convenient for their schedule. Once you are on the job, remaining patient with the pace and unpredictable nature of your schedule will make your professional experiences that much more enjoyable.


Being involved in such intense situations can be emotional, but EMTs must remain professional throughout the entire process. Remind yourself that this is your job, and as stressful, draining or frustrating as it may be, your responsibility is to provide the best care possible professionally. Allow your emotions to fuel your motivation to help but detach yourself enough to allow yourself to provide the necessary care. 

If you are looking to take the first step toward a career as an EMT, Herzing University has a variety of programs to make your dream career a reality. Get started today!

Learn More About Our EMT Programs


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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