Are you interested in finding a career as an Emergency Medical Technician? If you enjoy helping people and don’t mind a fast-paced environment in the medical field, becoming an EMT might be the job for you. These professionals are the first to arrive on scene in emergency situations and must be aware of on scene safety while they provide emergency services. EMT’s use their comprehensive knowledge base to administer care to patients in the field and stabilize the patient for transport to the hospital setting. EMT training isn’t easy, but it is attainable for anyone with the desire to join the EMS field.
Becoming An EMT
Becoming a first responder is a great way to start in Emergency Medical Services and can lead to many other healthcare career options. I started out working as an EMT in an ambulance and ultimately went on to become a Registered Nurse in the ICU.
This was not my plan in the beginning, but the two professions share many of the same passions, roles and responsibilities.
If you are looking into becoming an Emergency Medical Technician because you want an exciting career helping the public and even saving lives I want to encourage you to keep moving forward.
Don’t become discouraged!
This is a career with skills that can be practiced and tested without going to four years of college, making it more available than other careers like a Doctor or even a Nurse.
Becoming an EMT Infographic
This Becoming an EMT infographic gives a quick summary of the steps required to work as an emergency medical technician.
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Becoming an EMT is a great way to enter the medical field. There is more detailed information about EMT programs and requirements on this website, but it’s important you know that this goal is not out of reach.
The EMT certification can be done in 6 months or less and most classes are offered assuming students work full-time. For example two weeknights and a weekend class are a common class schedule.
There are many different EMT programs offered to become an emergency medical responder. Do you want to start as an EMT-B, study to be and advanced technician or go straight to Paramedic school.
EMT Programs vary in length and cost with accelerated EMT courses and EMT Boot Camps for anyone who can afford the extra cost, and want to get trained in under a month (For EMT-B).
However, you might be looking for a less expensive way to get trained and I can tell you how I was able to get certified as an Emergency Medical Technician with financial assistance.
Another option is online EMT courses which are offered as hybrid courses and will always require some class time to learn and practice emergency prehospital skills.
If you are new to this profession and wondering how to become an EMT, you have come to the right place. This site has all the information you need to start working on getting your EMT certification.
You can find great information here on EMT programs, EMT courses and classes, how to become an EMT, and NREMT testing.
There are also answers to questions like:
What is an EMT?
How long is EMT school?
How long is EMT training?
What is the difference between a paramedic and an EMT?
How much do EMTs make?
Overall, this site is a completely free guide for EMT training. Included is information on topics like EMT salary, EMT schools, NREMT prep, recertification, and job opportunities. Find more information on choosing the right EMT Program here.
Once you have found the correct EMT program you will begin taking EMT courses to develop the knowledge and skills to safely care for patients in a prehospital setting.
These EMT courses will teach students how to respond in medical emergencies like heart attacks, poisonings, diabetic crisis, and many other challenging emergency situations.
Most EMT courses have curriculum that is split into three segments: a classroom portion for academic and skill learning, a clinical training portion, and a field experience portion.
This curriculum is geared to help the students learn all the skills within their scope of practice and use them in the field while experiencing real life emergency medical services (EMS) patient care.
The EMT courses section will give you more information on coursework, curriculum, and eligibility requirements for EMT training. You will find more information on course objectives, required materials, and more in-depth information about the different type of EMT Courses here.
Once a candidate gets to the end of their EMT training their EMT school will begin to discuss the specific requirements for testing with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
Students will need to sign up for the Cognitive Exam which is computer administered testing with the National Registry of EMT. They will also need to complete the Psychomotor Exam which is hands on testing to determine the candidates level of competency for each skill being tested.
The NREMT exam page covers detailed information on both the Basic EMT and Advanced EMT National Registry exams. You will find out about how each cognitive test differs and there is good information provided to help candidates do well with the different type of computer based testing used in the exams.
You will also find detailed information about the EMT-B and AEMT Psychomotor exams on the National Registry of EMT exam page.
The ten emergency medical response skills tested for in the Basic EMT psychomotor exam are listed here along with the expected criteria for passing each skill. You can also find links to the National Registry of EMT website to print out the skill sheets for each of the ten skills.
For information on Advanced EMT testing stations and details on each of the ten skills tested during the psychomotor exam scenarios, scroll towards the bottom of the page and you will find the AEMT section. Find a comprehensive guide to the NREMT Exams here.
National Registry Paramedic
This page gives detailed information about the NREMT Paramedic exams and paramedic program changes that went into effect as of August 2016. There is information on the newly required Paramedic Portfolio, including details about what worksheets and forms are needed and why.
The August 2016 changes not only effect paramedic programs, but also the National Registry paramedic psychomotor exam. You can find detailed information about the new 6 scenario psychomotor exam, which has replaced the previous 12 skill test.
There is detailed instructions for each of the 6 scenarios, including tips and information on exactly what is being evaluated. The changes now focus more on the role of the paramedic both as a team member and team leader when working inside the EMS team.
You will also find all the information you need about the cognitive exam and how to navigate the Computer Adaptive Testing algorithm used to administer the test. Find more details about the National Registry Paramedic Exam here.
After completing EMT training a candidate will need to apply for EMT certification. Certification needs to be done at both the state and national level before an emergency medical responder is legal to begin working in the medical field.
Certification on the national level requires passing both the Cognitive and Psychomotor exams. This shows the state a candidate has demonstrate abilities and skills as mandated by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
Once a candidate gets EMT certified from the NREMT, they can apply for a State license/certification.
Do you want more information on how to get EMT certified? Follow the link below for a step by step guide on how to become EMT certified.
There page also offers information on how and where to apply for Emergency Medical Technician certifications along with information to guide you through the National Registry Exams. Find everything there is to know about EMT Certification here.
Once an Emergency Medical Technician completes EMT training and becomes licensed and certified, they can begin looking for employment. Some of the most common EMT jobs are inside a hospital, working on an ambulance, responding to 911 calls, and working with the fire department.
A new EMT will need to determine which EMT job is the best fit and make sure they are qualified to apply for the job. For example, to become a firefighter Paramedic the candidate will need to meet the basic requirement of their Fire Department. This usually includes a physical abilities test, written test and an oral interview.
For more information on EMT jobs available to all levels of emergency medical responder (EMT-B, AEMT, EMTP) continue reading our EMT Jobs page.
There is also good information about the difference between ambulance services that respond to 911 calls and ambulance services that provide mostly interfacility transfers of non-emergency patient calls. Find information about different types of EMT Jobs here.
While looking for available EMT jobs, the hourly wages or annual EMT salary will probably be an important factor. There are some things like geography, level of certification, experience level, type of job, and amount of overtime worked which can significantly affect the salary of the EMT.
Follow the link to our EMT salary page for specific EMT salary information about each level of EMT training (EMT-B), AEMT/EMTI, EMTP) with statistics and tables reflecting the average salaries for each of these medical professions.
To see the top 5 paying states for EMT and Paramedic salaries and for ideas about future career paths, check out the EMT Salary page.