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What Will I Learn in an EMS Refresher Course?

An emergency medical services (EMS) refresher course might be required if you work in emergency medical care. Jobs such as an emergency nurse, paramedic, fire fighter or emergency medical technician may require you to periodically take a refresher course in order to maintain your skill level.

EMS Refresher Course Overview

EMS refresher courses are typically offered to help emergency personnel meet continuing education requirements or other state-mandated requirements. If you are an emergency medical technician, paramedic or nurse, a refresher course can help ensure your skills are up-to-date. Refresher courses are often offered at community colleges, but they may be offered in conjunction with a medical facility or professional EMS organization.

An EMS refresher course typically covers the basics of emergency medical care through lecture classes and technical skills tests. Most programs require attending classes a couple of hours for about a week, but some 1-day courses allow you to meet your requirement by attending for the whole day.

Important Facts About EMT Refresher Programs

Requirements Must be at least 18; Completion of EMT courses and test within the past 2 years
Common Topics Airway, OB, infants and children, patient assessment, medical/behavioral, trauma, elective
Continuing Education EMT training can be continued in the areas of EMS Course Instruction, Wilderness EMS training, and Advanced Trauma Life Support
Median Salary (2018) $34,320 (for all EMTs and paramedics)  
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all EMTs and paramedics

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Content

While the content of each program may vary, you can expect to study many of the same topics in any program. You'll go over the skills that you use working daily in emergency care. Some topics you may cover include legal responsibilities within the profession, patient assessment techniques, common medical emergency conditions and basic emergency procedures. You may also study medical terminology and anatomy.

Courses can also include a study of ambulance operation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life support techniques. You may also learn about weapons of mass destruction, how to deal with mass casualties and what to do when an epidemic occurs. Your basic skills as an emergency responder, including scene assessment and coordination of emergency care, are also common refresher topics.

Admission Requirements

Most EMS refresher courses require you to be currently licensed or certified as a nurse or emergency medical personnel. In some cases, you may provide proof of prior licensing or certification if it has expired within the previous six months. Current CPR certification is generally a must as well.