What Is an EMT Basic Refresher Course?

If it is time to renew your basic certification or license as an emergency medical technician (EMT-Basic), you might want to enroll in a refresher course so as to keep your credentials current. Continue reading to find out where you can find a course that can meet state licensure renewal and professional re-certification requirements. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of EMT-Basic Refresher Courses

An EMT-Basic refresher course is a class that you can take to reinforce your medical and emergency response knowledge while meeting part or all of the state licensure or National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) re-certification requirements (www.nremt.org). If you have an NREMT card, there are two options for re-certification. You can complete state-approved continuing education courses, or you can retake the cognitive EMS examination within six months of your certification's expiration. Similarly, maintenance of state licensure for EMT-Basic levels frequently requires that you complete education that covers specific topics, though you might also need to retake an examination.

If you choose to re-certify your NREMT credential through continuing education, you may need to take 72 hours of approved continuing education courses, including an EMT-Basic refresher course that follows the national standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation. If you've had a lapse in certification that is greater than two years, your only option is to complete an approved EMT-Basic course and retake the certification examinations. Renewing a state license might require fewer hours of education, though you may need to take courses and participate in skills demonstrations that cover particular subjects such as trauma, pediatric emergencies, splinting and airway management. While NREMT test scores might be acceptable for EMT-Basic licensure, and certification renewal standards might exceed those required by your state, you should check with your state's licensing agency before signing up for refresher courses.

Important Facts About EMT Continuing Education

Course Length May vary by program; 24 hours of coursework is typical
Cost Varies by program; usually $125 to $245
Certification Expiration Recertification required in 2-3 years following initial certification and every 2 years thereafter
Advancement Potential to become a certified Advanced EMT with additional training and examination

Course Format

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a standard national EMT-Basic refresher curriculum that offers at least 24 hours of instruction divided into six different skill topics (www.nhtsa.gov). During your course, you'll practice preparing and transporting patients, providing assessments of emergency situations, opening patient airways, treating traumas and caring for young children, infants and pregnant patients. Classroom activities are generally mixed with skills practice in the field.

Where to Find Approved Courses

The most important factor when looking for EMT-Basic refresher courses is that you check your state requirements. Some states allow you to take an examination in lieu of completing an EMT-Basic refresher course. You can find courses that have been approved by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services that many states accept (www.cecbems.org). The organization provides links to courses that you can take online or through other distance-learning formats. Several community colleges and vocational schools also offer state-approved refresher courses where EMT science is taught.

Additional Requirements for Re-certification

In addition to completing an EMT-Basic refresher course and other continuing education, you might also need to be actively working as an EMT and submit proper verification of your status. Nearly all states and NREMT require that you hold current CPR credentials and provide a signature from a supervisor or EMS program director confirming your continued skills. Some state re-certification requirements might also include resubmitting to a background check and fingerprinting.

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