EMT Licensing and Certification

If you are interested in becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT), you will have to undergo the various training programs. Read on to learn about the various training programs, common courses, certification requirements, and salary expectations in this field. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Licensing and Certification Training Programs Are Available?

You should be able to find these programs at community colleges, technical colleges and universities. EMT training is available for three different levels, including basic, intermediate and paramedic. All three levels can be attained through a certificate program. Associate's degree programs are also available to aspiring paramedics. These degree programs may grant Associate of Applied Science degrees. A certificate program usually takes a semester to complete, and an associate's degree can take up to two years to complete.

You won't be able to find any distance education programs for EMT training. This is because certificate and associate's degree programs require hands-on training on dummies, live patients and ambulances. Many programs may require you to complete ride along sessions.

Program Types Certificate programs, associate's degree programs
Program Curricula EMT-Basic Certificate: Pre-hospital care, patient assessment, oxygen management
EMT-Intermediate: Preparing IV medication, advanced cardiac life support, respiratory care
EMT-Paramedic: Paramedicine, child birth, EKG usage
Associate's degree: Paramedic trauma, respiratory management, cardiology
Certification Certification is required to work as an EMT, and can be obtained through the NREMT exam.
Median Salary (2018) $34,320 (for all EMTs and Paramedics)  

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Can I Expect?

To enroll in an EMT-Basic certificate program, you may be required to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. Your program should educate you in pre-hospital care, patient transportation, airway management, bandaging techniques, patient assessment, communicating with patients and basic medication assistance. Most programs only offer a single course covering all related topics. Your program might cover such topics as basic life support, cardiac emergencies, oxygen management, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, carrying patients and monitoring vital signs.

You'll need to have completed an EMT-Basic program before signing up for an EMT-Intermediate program. This level of training typically covers advanced versions of methods learned in EMT-Basic training. Some additional topics that may be covered include preparing intravenous (IV) medication, advanced cardiac life support, administering basic medications, treating narcotic overdoses and respiratory care.

A certificate in EMT-Basic or EMT-Intermediate training may be required to enroll in an EMT-Paramedic certificate program. This program should teach you methods on giving injured patients IV and oral medications. You can also expect your program to educate you in paramedicine, emergency operations, child birth, child emergencies, tracheotomies and using electrocardiogram (EKG) machines.

Some EMT-Paramedic programs may award associate's degrees. These types of programs offer several individual courses instead of a single, consolidated course. Associate's degree programs often cover the same topics certificate programs. These topics should be covered in courses including terminology, medical emergencies, care of women and children, emergency response communication, cardiology, paramedic trauma, respiratory management and paramedic pharmacology. You may also need to take general education courses in sociology, psychology, chemistry, communications, mathematics and speech.

What About Licensure and Certification?

Every state requires EMTs to be licensed in order to work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that state licensing might use exams featuring the same content that can be found on National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification exams (www.bls.gov). You can also expect your license to expire after two years, and it may require updating your EMT education for renewal.

Depending on the state in which you plan on working, you may also be required to seek certification. Certification is commonly offered by the NREMT. The NREMT offers certification for EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate 1986, EMT-Intermediate 1999 and EMT-Paramedic. Your level of education determines what level of certification you may be eligible for.

All levels of certification will require you to pass a written and skill demonstration exam. EMT-Basic exams should cover topics including patient assessments, patient immobilization, injury control, CPR, first aid, cardiac arrest and airway management. The EMT-Intermediate 1985 exam might require you to demonstrate you knowledge of physical examination, advanced airway techniques, IV preparation and EMT-Basic skills. EMT-Intermediate 1999 exams can include EMT-Basic and EMT-Intermediate 1985 skills, pediatric care, administrating medication and cardiac management. EMT-Paramedic exams should focus on skill demonstrations from the lower certification levels, administering oral and IV medication, advanced trauma treatment and verbal situation management.

All levels of certification might need to be renewed after two or three years. If you intend on renewing, you may be required to complete a refresher course and retake the certification exam.

What Is My Job Outlook?

You should be able to find careers corresponding to the level of certification you've received. These careers can be found with fire departments and hospitals. Completing a training program and certification may also qualify you for paramedic positions with emergency flight crews.

The BLS indicated that as of May 2018, the lowest ten percent of this career type earned a salary less than $22,760. Because there are various levels of EMTs, the highest ten percent earned over $58,640. The overall median salary of 2015 was $34,320. The BLS also predicted that EMT and paramedic job openings may rise 15% (much faster than average) from 2016-2026.

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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