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Where Can I Take an Online EMT Certification Program?

Due to the nature of emergency medical technician (EMT) training, no complete online EMT certification course exists. However, there are many hybrid-style programs which combine online coursework with on-site practical training. Keep reading to find out more about these programs.

EMT Certification

While each state has its own requirements to become a licensed EMT, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is the main national organization that certifies EMTs. In order to achieve NREMT certification, you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • complete a state-approved training program
  • hold current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • pass a cognitive and practical exam (www.nremt.org)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) creates the curriculum that EMT training programs must follow in order to qualify for national certification. This curriculum includes a practical, hands-on component that cannot be taught online. However, some parts of an EMT certification course can be completed online, as can practice exams and re-certification courses.

Online EMT Courses

Several schools and training agencies allow you to take the cognitive portion of an EMT program through online distance education. Coursework may take between 8-16 weeks to complete. Topics of study can include anatomy, patient assessment, triage, and oxygen therapy, and quizzes and exams can be taken online. These programs combine the online coursework with weekly in-person skills sessions (usually offered either on weeknights or weekends). Because of this requirement, it is most convenient to enroll in such a program in the area where you live. Check with your local community college for online or hybrid EMT certification programs.

EMT Training

Another option for online EMT training is a for-profit company focusing solely on EMT and other medical training. There are a number of such companies that allow you to take all required coursework online and then attend a one-week practical skills training. While this option does require travel to the on-site facility, it is usually only for one week, with options available year round. Several of these online EMT schools include:

  • EMT & Fire Training Incorporated (Post Falls, ID)
  • Allied Medical Training (St. Paul, MN)
  • National Medical Education & Training Center (West Bridgewater, MA)

With any online EMT program, you should carefully research the program's accreditation to determine whether the requirements for NREMT or state licensing can be met through training from that organization.

Re-Certification Online

In order to maintain your status as an EMT, you must be re-certified every two years by the NREMT. For re-certification, the NREMT requires 36 hours of refresher courses and 36 hours of continuing education credits every two years. Out of these 72 total hours, the NREMT allows 24 hours of continuing education and ten hours of refresher courses to be taken online. The Continuing Education Coordinating Board of Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS) certifies continuing education programs for EMTs, and they approve both classroom and online courses (www.cecbems.org).

Important Facts About An EMT Career

Degree Fields First responder, paramedic, advanced emergency medical technician
Common Courses Airway, respiration and ventilation, trauma and obstetric emergencies
Degree/Certificate Levels Basic, intermediate, advanced
Key SkillsCompassion, interpersonal, listening, physical strength, problem-solving, and speaking
Median Salary (2018) $34,320 (all EMTs and paramedics)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% (all EMTs and paramedics)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics