Certified EMT: Career and Salary Facts

EMT stands for emergency medical technician. Learn about becoming certified as an EMT at the basic, intermediate or paramedic level. Explore EMT training programs, certification requirements, job outlook and salary potential. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are often the first people on the scene of a medical emergency. As an EMT, you assess the situation, perform triage, and stabilize patients before and during transport by managing airways, controlling bleeding, treating shock, and providing CPR. There are several levels of training and qualifications for EMTs, the highest of which is an EMT-Paramedic.

Programs Certificate or degree programs in emergency medical technology
CertificationCertification available at each level of EMT training; requirements vary by state
Salary$35,110 (Mean annual salary for all registered EMTs and paramedics)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians

What Training Do I Need?

First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Advanced, and EMT-Paramedic training programs are often available at local community or technical colleges. Due to the hands-on nature of the profession, most programs are only available on campus.

Your program should be approved by the state in which you want to work and should prepare you to take your state's licensure exam. When applying to a program, you can expect a background check and drug test. In addition, you are required to be at least 18 years of age at the time you complete your training. Some programs require EMT students to be certified in CPR prior to enrollment.

How Can I Get Certified?

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require that EMTs and paramedics be licensed. In some states, licensure depends on certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The NREMT certifies EMTs based on US-DOT guidelines. Exams for each EMT level require completion of both written and skill tests. In order to maintain state licensure or NREMT certification, you often need to take a certain number of continuing education courses every 2-3 years. Some schools offer these courses online.

What Kind of Salary Can I Expect?

Salaries vary depending on your level and geographic region. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage for EMTs and paramedics was $16.88 as of May 2014; the mean annual salary was $35,110. During 2014, Washington, The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, and Alaska were the five states with the highest annual mean wage for EMTs in the nation.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Brightwood College

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    • Maryland: Baltimore, Beltsville, Towson
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