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EMT Education Requirements

Get information on the training required to become an emergency medical technician (EMT). See the courses offered at each of the three levels of EMT training, and learn about licensure and certification requirements.

What Are the Education Requirements for an EMT?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are three levels of emergency medical technicians (EMTs); these levels include EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and Paramedic. Certificates of completion for the EMT-Basic level can be completed in as few as six credit-hours and usually covers just the basics of critical care. Training for the EMT-Intermediate level usually requires the completion of more in-depth coursework. If you are interested in becoming a paramedic, the highest level, you usually must complete a certificate or associate degree program that offers the required coursework. You may be able to find a position where a combination of formal classwork and on-the-job-training can satisfy the requirements.

EMT LevelsBasic, intermediate, and paramedic
Available Programs Certificates, associate's degrees
Common CoursesAnatomy and physiology, pharmacology, EKG interpretation, trauma management
CertificationAdministered through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
Median Salary (2018) $34,320 (for all EMTs and Paramedics)  
Job Outlook (2018-2028)7% growth (for all EMTs and Paramedics

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

What Classes Do I Take?

At the basic and intermediate level, you can expect to learn the fundamentals of emergency medical treatment by participating in clinical labs and field work. Aspiring paramedics can pursue either a certificate or an associate's degree in the field to complete their training. Associate's degree programs usually require students to fulfill some general education requirements such as algebra, biology and composition. Your curriculum may consist of clinical lab work, field internships and lecture classes. Areas of your studies may include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Trauma management
  • Cardiovascular emergencies
  • EKG interpretation
  • Principles of life support
  • Pharmacology

What Certification Do I Need?

The BLS mentions that all states require some type of licensure for EMTs and paramedics. Check with the state you plan to work in prior to enrolling in any program to determine what is required. Additionally, most states require certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The NREMT offers certification examination for all levels of EMTs. Requirements for the examinations are usually the completion of the appropriate state-certified EMT training program for the level you wish to work.