200 Questions & Answers (PDF Format)
The Education of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
EMT’s, like paramedics of course, have to get a CPR certification. In general, in the United States (US) there are organizations that provide regular CPR training, such as the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
The other step is college. To become an EMT, you need to complete a post-secondary emergency medical technology program through a university. It can be a community college, a technical college, or a university. These programs typically last 1-2 years and provide students with all the tools to understand how to assess, care for, and transport patients. In either case, a CPR certification is required to enter the post-secondary educational program in emergency medical technology (the course to become an EMT). Some states have EMR (emergency medical personnel) positions that do not require national certification. These positions generally require state certification.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs provides a list of accredited programs for EMTs for each state. EMT-level programs include:
- Instruction to assess the conditions of patients
- Deal with trauma
- Deal with cardiac emergencies
- Clear blocked airways
- Using the field team
- General emergency management
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, formal courses include about 150 hours of specialized instruction, and some of the instruction may take place in a hospital or ambulance setting. Additionally, high school students interested in becoming EMTs should also take courses in anatomy and physiology.
We also have to consider programs for an advanced EMT. Candidates learn EMT-level skills as well as more advanced skills such as the use of complex airway devices, IV fluids, and some medications. This level typically requires about 400 hours of instruction. From here, you can also enter a paramedic technician program, if you wish.
Certifications issued by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
All states in the US require a licensed EMT. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certifies EMTs nationally. All levels of NREMT certification require completion of a certified education program and passing the national exam, which has written and practical portions. Some states have top-tier state certifications that do not require national certification. Many states require background checks and cannot license an applicant with a criminal record.
How to become an EMT as an ambulance driver?
There are some emergency medical services that hire separate drivers. Most EMTs must take a course that requires approximately 8 hours of instruction before they can drive an ambulance. Once they are successful in that exam, they can start driving an ambulance.