EMT Courses – EMT Training
EMT courses help student learn how to treat and transport the sick and injured. They teach Basic Life Support (BLS) skills and prepare candidates to give pre-hospital care in the field. Emergency Medical Technicians will be called on to transport patients with both severe emergencies and non-life threatening issues. EMT courses help students learn assessment skills and quickly determine treatment interventions in a pre-hospital setting.
EMT course curriculum is governed by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), but each state regulates the specific requirements of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in their state. Courses will consist of classroom, clinical training, and field internship portions.
Each of these course portions will cover topics like ventilation, circulation, cardiac events, and many other topics related to emergency medicine. The EMT course will cover assessment strategies and treatment options outside of a hospital setting along with the proper use of medical equipment found inside the ambulance.
Once the student successfully completes their EMT courses, they will need to apply to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) and take the NREMT exam. For more information see our National Registry of EMT Exam page.
After passing the National Registry exam a student can officially become certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and begin their career in EMS. For more information about EMT Certification check out our page.
Eligibility for EMT Course Enrollment
Specific EMT programs will set their own rules about when the eligibility prerequisites need to be completed. For example, some community college programs require the proof of vaccinations to be completed before starting hospital clinicals, but these don’t need to be done until week eight of the program.
There are quite a few requirements which have to be met at some point during EMT courses. Some of the items on this list must be done prior to enrollment, but not all of them.
• Age 18 years or older
• Have a valid drivers license for your state
• High school diploma, GED, or equivalent
• Healthcare Provider CPR-BLS Card
• Background Check (Usually submitted during the EMS Course)
• Able to read and write patient care reports, give and receive a verbal report to/from other members of the healthcare team.
• Physically fit and able to lift around 125 pounds – this doesn’t mean you need to be able to weight lift this much. It means lifting a 125 pound patient (250 pounds with a partner) on a stretcher, backboard, gurney, etc.
If you are worried that you can’t lift this much, keep in mind that using correct lifting technique will increase your abilities and amount of weight you can lift.
Females, short, thin, and non-muscular individuals can make great EMT’s so don’t let this requirement discourage you.
• Proof of the following vaccinations – Either with past written documents, current titers or getting up to date vaccinations.
– TD/Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis)
– MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
– Varicella (Chicken Pox) – or documentation of past history of Chicken Pox.
– Hepatitis B
– Influenza – Updated each year.
(Some courses may allow students to decline on getting the Influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines.)
• Many EMT courses have a proof of health insurance requirement. If you have health insurance this is very simple to meet, however this can be a burden for anyone who is uninsured.
To see options on how to find low-cost ways to get insured throughout your EMT course, check out the EMT Programs page on this site under the heading Requirements For EMT.
While this can be a hurdle, insurance is only required for the time your are enrolled in the program. Don’t let this stop you from becoming an EMT.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains responsibility for the development of EMT training course objectives, but it’s each states responsibility to create EMT courses for their local areas.
The main goals of Emergency Medical Technician coursework are:
• To learn and understand the role of an Emergency Medical Technician on the healthcare team.
• To understand what is within the scope of practice of a licensed EMT-B
• To gain knowledge of and be capable of using medical terminology accurately.
• To develop behaviors and attitudes that demonstrate ethics and a level of professionalism expected of an EMT.
• To perform all the essential skills of an Emergency Medical Technician according to the standards set at a state level.
• To successfully show knowledge and competency at a National level.
• To prepare students for success at the National Registry Exam for Emergency Medical Technicians.
EMT Course Materials
EMT courses have required materials for candidates who get accepted into their programs. Many EMT course websites indicate the cost of these items ahead of time, but here is a list so you can request prices if they aren’t provided.
EMT Textbooks and Supplemental Material – Students are required to purchase textbooks, workbooks and other supplemental materials before the program begins.
I recommend purchasing them as early as possible so there is time to begin going over some of the medical terminology before class begins.
Required Uniforms – Programs will require uniforms to be worn during hospital clinicals and ambulance ride along experiences. Some EMT courses will provide the uniforms at a set price and other courses will tell you what kind of clothing to purchase on your own.
Uniforms frequently consist of a plain white polo shirt, navy blue or black pants, and black closed toe boots or shoes. Uniforms may vary by local area.
Blood Pressure Cuff and Stethoscope – As an emergency medical responder you will need a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff in the field. Your stethoscope will most likely be an acoustic stethoscope with a bell which can be purchased for a variety of prices.
Blood pressure cuffs can be purchased for a variety of prices, but an expensive one is not necessary. You should buy a manual (not electronic) adult sized cuff, but I don’t recommend spending a lot of money on it.
Blood pressure cuffs take a lot of abuse and frequently get contaminated and then cleaned with harsh chemicals, so you don’t want an expensive piece of equipment that you are worried about damaging.
Most EMT courses will have recommendations for a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff that are helpful since ambulances have a lot of ambient noise which can affect your stethoscope choice.
Quick Tips: Don’t be afraid to say you could not hear a patient’s BP.
• Never lie about a Blood Pressure result for any reason.
• Don’t be afraid to ask your partner, preceptor, or instructor to listen and confirm your blood pressure number if you aren’t sure it’s correct.
Internet Connection – If you are enrolled in an online hybrid EMT course, having an internet connection will be vital to your success as a student. The entire course syllabus and all training modules will be accessed through your internet connection, along with any required testing.
If you are enrolled in on-site EMT programs an internet connection will be a valuable tool for finding addition information related to emergency medical services.
(EMS) On site EMT training may not require an internet connection, but it will be helpful to look up directions to clinical sites and ambulance ride along facilities.
Form of Transportation – EMT training requires a reliable form of transportation. This doesn’t mean you must have your own car or a new car, but it does mean you have to show up on time. Most Emergency Medical Technician courses will not allow tardiness or excessive absences, especially when it comes to off-campus clinical rotations.
The schools build a reputation with local hospitals and ambulance companies, they can’t afford to have student no-shows or tardiness effect these EMS relationships. For this reason reliable transportation can mean the difference between success and failure when getting EMT education.
EMT Course Duration
Anyone considering EMT training will eventually ask the question how long is EMT school? The answer is a bit complicated, because the duration of Emergency Medical Technician classes can vary quite drastically.
Each training level of Emergency Medical Technician has a different length program of classes so an EMT-B course will take much less time than a paramedic course (EMTP) to complete. Course duration is also different from state to state.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets a minimum course duration time in hours and states are left to make their courses as they please.
This means many states have EMT programs with courses that go well over the required minimum hours. For this reason I will list the National minimum required hours of reach program and the usual duration of the EMT course below.
EMT Basic: National minimum is 110 hours of training. EMT training courses can be as short as 14 days or as long as 6 months. The basic EMT training course is often offered as a one semester class which allows the student to work full-time while enrolled.
Advanced EMT/ EMT Intermediate: National curriculum standards recommend 300-400 hours of EMT training. These courses are usually 10 – 16 weeks in duration if you already have an EMT-B license. If you don’t hold a current license the course duration may be around 5-6 months.
Paramedic (EMTP): National minimum is 1000-1200 hours. Paramedic training courses can be as short as 6 months or as long as 18 months. The paramedic training course is the most in-depth of the three programs and will require a large investment of time and energy.
Students often work while enrolled in the paramedic course, but your social and family life may suffer due to the time commitments of the course. (Information about the changes made in August 2016 to Paramedic training courses can be found on our National Registry Paramedic page.)
Online EMT Course
For students who don’t live close-by to an EMT training facility, pursuing an online EMT school may be a good option. Online EMT courses are offered in a hybrid format and do require some on campus classroom time.
The majority of learning is done at home in online sessions using learning modules, at the student’s own pace. Students are required to keep up with textbook reading and workbook exercises as assigned by the online instructors.
Pursuing an EMT education through online EMT courses is also a good option for full-time workers who don’t have time to attend on campus sessions regularly. Learning from home is convenient and time-saving, but it requires a highly motivated student with self-discipline to keep up with the online assignments.
Having continuous access to an internet connection and being tech-savvy is also helpful for EMT online training. Students will be required to follow a course curriculum and participate in online exams and testing to determine prehospital care knowledge and skill levels.
Most online EMT courses have internet related course support available through the facility. Classroom curriculum support is available with a member of the faculty during online business hours or at the in person classroom sessions.
A student learns the course material at home using the online modules and then attends the on campus portion of the course. While in a classroom setting, the student will be able to learn the hands on skills necessary to be successful in the field.
For example, a student can learn on scene patient medical assessment skills at home and then go to the classroom and learn how to correctly perform a patient assessment.
This hands on EMT training is vital to future success on the job as a profession emergency medical responder and all classes will require in person training sessions and skills testing. Most online EMT training programs will also require some in field experience in the form of ambulance ride alongs and hospital clinical sessions.
Overall, online EMT training offers great flexibility and freedom to learn at your own pace. It’s also a good option for anyone who isn’t located close to a training facility.
However, online EMT classes require self-discipline and should only be completed by students who are highly motivated and comfortable learning from textbooks and online modules without a lot of supervision.
EMT School Cost
At some point when deciding whether to start a career in the emergency medical services (EMS) you will probably ask: How much is EMT school? The answer is it depends on which program and what type of school you choose.
Taking all the program options (EMT-B, AEMT, EMTP) and the different types of schools (Accelerated, community college, online, etc.) into consideration can give a range for EMT training cost.
The approximate range for EMT school cost is from $500 (community college EMT training) to $12,000 (one of the more expensive private paramedic schools).
Training costs may vary from these prices depending on the facility and if there is travel or hotel expenses involved.
An important factor to keep in mind when pursuing EMT education is financial assistance. There are quite a few financial resources available for students attending a public college.
Students can apply for both Federal and state financial aid, grants, scholarships, or even student loans. For more specific information on financial aid at public colleges check out EMT Programs and scroll down to the heading “EMT Training (EMT-B)” and look under sub heading “Public Schools”.
Outside of colleges there are organizations in most states that offer scholarships and grants to students pursuing a career in the emergency medical field. One example can be found at National Association of Emergency Medical Technician (NAEMT).
They offer an EMS scholarship for the fall or spring semester, of $500 for emergency medical responders to get Basic EMT training, $2000 for Paramedics to continue their education in EMS, and $5000 for EMT-B to become a Paramedic.
The internet is a good resource for finding more information about specific scholarships and grants available to help with EMT training costs.