Thanks to a new executive order from the governor, and a waiver from the NJ Department of Health, Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs), are now allowed to aid in medical transportation in New Jersey due in part to recent changes in demand in the field due to COVID-19.
The earlier standard required two Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) staff members in an ambulance while transporting patients --- one as the driver and one rendering care. The current standard allows one EMT and one EMR to staff an ambulance.
However, when we learned the temporary waiver by the Department of Health did not require someone to have an EMR certification to drive an ambulance, we opened a career opportunity as an Ambulance Vehicle Operator (AVO). An AVO is a job title specific to On Time Ambulance and we cover all necessary training.
Now more than ever, becoming an Ambulance Vehicle Operator (AVO) is a great way for individuals to enter the EMS field and grow within the healthcare industry. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions answered about the newest EMS role in New Jersey, the differences between an EMT, and how to get started today.
What exactly is an AVO position?
An AVO is an EMT’s assistant.
What are the roles, responsibilities, and the necessary training? How exactly does it differ from being an EMT?
An AVO is essentially a level below EMT. You must also pass a criminal background check and have a valid driver’s license.
The EMT certification process, in contrast, requires passing a 190-hour course at a collegiate level and costs approximately $1,500. AVOs are not certified to handle all the responsibilities that EMTs do --- similar to the relationship between EMTs and Paramedics.
Learn more about the NREMT’s standards between certification and licensure here.
What can an AVO expect to do throughout the day?
The primary responsibility is driving the ambulance, transporting patients to and from various medical facilities and/or home in non-emergency as well as 911 situations. AVOs are able to perform lifesaving tasks such as CPR, assisting with deep lacerations, stabilizing the patient for transport, pulling the necessary tools for the EMT, and more.
AVOs also communicate with dispatch regarding transportation status and medical facility staff for critical information. Additional duties include providing oxygen therapy, lifting the stretcher, and securing the patient for transport. An AVO will also document transportation activities to ensure all information is accurate and handle overall ambulance maintenance.
If someone wants to become an EMT, might he or she be well served to start off as an AVO?
Starting as an AVO will give a taste of what you would do out in the field. You can work as an AVO while completing an EMT certification. The transition from AVO to EMT is a great stepping stone because it requires less field training since AVOs will already have the necessary experience.
How about switching from an MAVO to AVO? Is that a reasonable transition? Who else is the AVO position ideal for?
Those who are already working in the field as Mobility Assistance Vehicle Drivers (MAVOs) are often a great fit for this role because they are already working for a private ambulance company, they’re in the EMS field, and they have patient-client experience. They know how to properly lift/move, understand what a stair chair is, do carry-ups, and have a safety culture instilled as an employee. MAVOs also have safe driving experience with large vehicles which is the primary responsibility of an AVO.
What are the next steps to become an AVO?
The first step is to register for your AVO certification course contact the recruiter from the private ambulance company you’re applying to, and they will help in providing additional information.
If you would like to inquire about working at On Time, as an Ambulance Vehicle Operator, EMT, or any other position, visit our career page linked below. On Time provides on the job training.
Have more questions? Looking to become an AVO or EMT in New Jersey?
You can reach out to our Recruiter, Marlene, at ontimetransport.com/careers with anything else you’d like to know.
Thank you for reading.