EMT-1 Certification

An emergency medical technician certification training program can teach you how to provide life support to a wounded person on the way to the hospital. Learn about education options and licensing requirements. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)-1 Education Programs Are Available?

EMT-1 programs, also known as EMT-Basic, can be found at junior colleges, community colleges, universities and technical colleges. You can expect to complete an EMT-1 program in less than a year. Your program can teach you how to operate an ambulance, operate emergency equipment and keep the injured secure during transportation. Because you might be required to work on an ambulance and practice treatment techniques on live patients, you generally won't find any distance education programs.

Program TitlesEMT-1, EMT Basic
Course TopicsLife support, airway management, ethics, anatomy and physiology
Licensure and CertificationLicensing rules vary by state, certification given through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians

What Courses Can I Expect?

In order to be enrolled in an EMT-1 program, you may have to fulfill prerequisites for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid certification. Many of these programs offer one consolidated course instead of several separate topical courses. These courses may take you a minimum of 72 total hours to complete and also include several hours of live ambulance training.

Your program may train you in situation recognition, basic emergency treatment, ambulance and instrument sterilization, advanced first aid and situation records. These programs may cover topics in defibrillator training, basic life support certification, airway management, human anatomy, physiology, ethics and monitoring vital signs. The main purpose of these training programs is to prepare you to pass certification and licensure exams.

What About Licensure or Certification?

Licensure is required by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Licensure testing is state specific, but may use exams similar to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification exams. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), your license will be active for two years. To renew your license, you will be required to take additional EMT courses.

Certification is required in most states, but not all. If your state requires you to be certified, you might need to earn certification from the NREMT. Your certification process will consist of a test demonstrating your understanding of EMT theory and a portion that demonstrates your ability to perform emergency care. EMT certification generally last two years and may require you to take refresher courses for renewal, as well as retake the certification exams.

What Is My Job Outlook?

Completing an EMT-1 program and earning your EMT-Basic certification can qualify you to work at your level of certification for fire departments and hospitals. If you wish to continue your education, you may be interested in enrolling in a training program for EMT-Intermediate certification. If you want to train even further, EMT-Paramedic training programs are also available.

According to the BLS, EMT and paramedic positions are expected to increase fifteen percent between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average, due to an aging population and emergencies. Full hospitals and longer travel time to hospitals with vacancies may also cause this increase. The BLS also reported that as of May 2018, the median annual salary for this career type was $34,320.

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