How To Become An EMT In Texas
Becoming an EMT in Texas will follow a similar set of steps as many other states. EMT training in Texas begins by taking an approved emergency medical technician (EMT) program and then passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) exams. The next step is to apply for a Texas EMT license by meeting all the state requirements and sending in an application.
This page will discuss how to become an EMT in Texas by going through each step in the process. You can find lists of requirements for getting accepted into Texas EMT schools, applying for your state license, and getting your Texas EMT certification.
Texas Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel are currently certified at one of five levels, which are all listed below.
The Texas Department of State Health Services, Office of EMS – Trauma Systems is the state agency that handles EMS certification and licensure in Texas. In fact, the office handles the needs of about 61,000 EMS personnel in the state.
Texas EMS Certification Levels
• Emergency Care Attendant (ECA)
• EMT-Basic (EMT-B)
• Advanced EMT (AEMT)
• EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P)
• Licensed Paramedic
EMT Training Texas
Texas EMT training will teach candidates to respond to emergencies in a pre-hospital environment using basic life support skills. EMT’s will treat and transport sick and injured patients within the Texas EMS system.
An Emergency Care Attendant (ECA) in Texas must become certified with a minimum of 40 hours of training in bleeding control, CPR, oxygen therapy, and splinting.
EMTs provide an invaluable link between the healthcare system and the scene of an accident or injury. Texas EMT training will prepare students to recognize emergency situations, manage airways, splint injuries, bandage wounds and transport patients when necessary.
Texas Paramedics go through at least 624 hours of advanced training that will focus on advanced life support for patients. Paramedics will be trained in topics like pharmacology, fluid therapy, advanced airway management, cardiac monitoring, and use of Automatic External Defibrillators.
EMT Schools In Texas
EMT schools in Texas will usually require students to attend classroom learning, hospital clinicals, and ambulance rotations. However, it’s possible to do the classroom portion online at certain EMT training programs.
EMT students will be taught important skills like patient assessment, airway management, wound care, and spinal immobilization. After completing an EMT school in Texas, candidates will be competent at taking vital signs, getting a patient history, handling traumas, and scene management.
Texas EMT training begins by finding an approved schooling program for whatever EMS level you want to train for.
EMT programs in Texas are offered through colleges, universities, technical schools and other EMT training programs located throughout the state.
A good Texas EMT program will prepare graduates to quickly respond to emergency situations and provide life-saving care along with transportation to the sick and injured.
Texas EMS training programs should be approved by your local field office and Paramedic programs must be accredited. For details on EMS courses available in your area, contact your local EMS field office.
Texas EMS Field Offices
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DHSH) has many EMS field offices located throughout the state. DSHS field offices can handle many things including EMS licensing, EMS course approvals, and help with EMS training program information.
Texas has EMS offices separated into four service areas, which are labeled as groups. These are the North group, East group, South group and Central group, and they are pictured on the map below.
You can also find local EMS offices listed on the Texas DHSH website.
Texas EMT School Requirements
EMT schools in Texas can set their own prerequisites for entry. Listed below are the most common requirements that must be met to get accepted into a Texas EMT program.
• Students should have a High School Diploma, College Degree, or GED to sign up for EMT schools in Texas.
• Students are often required to be 18 years of age. Some EMT schools in Texas will allow 17-year-old students to enroll.
• EMT schools in Texas require that students submit to a FBI Criminal Background check using fingerprints.
• Texas EMT training students will need a CPR for the Healthcare Provider (HCP) Card. The AHA CPR-BLS for HCP card or ARC CPR for the Professional Rescuer card are acceptable. Some EMT schools will offer the CPR class as part of their curriculum.
• Students at EMT schools in Texas must agree to urine drug testing.
• Student will need a current Flu shot for acceptance into most EMT schools in Texas.
• A Texas EMT must have proof of a recent negative Tuberculosis PPD Skin Test.
• Students must have proof of titers or vaccinations for the following in order to be accepted into most EMT schools in Texas:
– Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
– Chicken Pox (Varicella)
– Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap)
• Texas EMT students must have the Tetanus, Tdap, or DPT vaccine within the last 10 years. Paramedic students in Texas may need to have them within the last 5 years.
• Students must complete the 3 shot series of Hepatitis B vaccinations before the Texas EMT school’s due date.
Texas Paramedic School Requirements
Texas Paramedic schools require all of the above EMT school prerequisites along with the following:
• A Texas paramedic must have a current Drivers License.
• Proof of health insurance will be required from Texas paramedic students for the duration of the EMT course.
• Some Texas paramedic schools may ask students under 22 years old to get a meningitis vaccine.
• All students applying for Texas paramedic programs will need to have a current EMT, EMT-I, or AEMT certification.
EMT Certification Texas
Once a Texas EMT candidate completes a training program they become eligible to take the NREMT exams. Candidates must take and pass both the Psychomotor and Cognitive National Registry of EMT exams before they can apply for a Texas EMT license.
For details about both the exams and information on computer adaptive testing (CAT) check out our NREMT page.
The NREMT psychomotor exam is a practical, hands on test that can be scheduled near the end of your EMT training courses. EMT schools in Texas should introduce candidates to the psychomotor exam and provide them with test preparation.
It’s common for EMT course instructors to help students sign up for a testing time and date near the end of the Texas EMT course.
The NREMT cognitive exam is a written test administered via computer at a Pearson VUE testing center.
The EMT and Paramedic levels will take a CAT which is a more individualized form of testing. The AEMT cognitive exam is a computer based linear test that is 135 questions long and is similar in nature to a test you take with pen and paper.
Texas EMT candidates can register for a cognitive exam testing date and location by creating an account at the National Registry of EMT website.
Once you pass both exams, you will be awarded a National EMT certification.
When setting up your online profile with the NREMT, you will be asked to choose either Print or Mail. If you pick mail, they will mail you a certification packet containing a letter of congratulations, a wall certificate, an EMT patch and your NREMT card.
If you pick Print they will only mail you the patch and you will need to print the NREMT card and wall certificate yourself.
NREMT EMS Handbooks
In March of 2018, the National Registry of EMTs released Handbooks for each level of EMS provider. The handbooks are step by step guides for taking both EMT certification exams and are very helpful for anyone applying for initial EMS certification.
You can find the handbooks on the NREMT website, which is linked near the top of this post.
Now that you have become certified as an EMT on a National level, it’s time to apply for the State of Texas EMT license.
Texas EMT License
After finishing an EMT training program and passing the NREMT exams, candidates are eligible to obtain a Texas EMT license.
This is the state level certification for a Texas EMT, which is required before you can begin working with patients in Texas.
In order to obtain a Texas EMT license, candidates will need to meet all of the requirements below and then fill out an application.
The Texas EMT license application can be filled out online here, or submitted by mail at:
Texas Department of State Health Services
Attn: Cash Receipts Branch, MC2003
PO Box 149347
Austin, Texas 78714-9347
Any Texas EMT candidate mailing in the application should make sure they correctly fill out the forms and include the licensing fee. Incomplete applications will be delayed.
Below is a table with the fees for each level of Texas EMS license.
Texas EMS Certification and Licensure Fees
|ECA & EMT||$64|
|AEMT & EMT-P||$96|
The following requirements must be met for state licensure as an EMT in Texas:
→ Texas EMT license applicants must be 18 years old.
→ A Texas EMT must have a high school diploma or GED certificate.
→ Applicants for the Texas EMT license must pass the National Registry of EMT exams.
→ A Texas EMT will need to pass an EMS training course that is DSHS approved. Contact your local EMS field office for information on approved EMT training programs.
→ Applicants for a Texas EMT license must undergo a Texas-FBI criminal history check by submitting fingerprints. Make sure to submit your application for EMT Certification/licensure before completing the fingerprint process or it will delay processing of your application.
→ Texas EMT applicants must complete an EMS Personnel Certification Application and submit it along with the fee.
→ Applicants for a Paramedic license will also need to submit proof of a two-year degree in EMS or a four-year degree in any field.
Once a Texas EMT candidate submits their completed EMT state application form as required, they will receive a response within 4-6 weeks. Approvals will be sent an Identification Card and EMT state license by mail.
However, if the application was incomplete or incorrect, certification will be delayed and they will be notified in writing of any problems.
Challenges Facing Texas EMS
The public needs and expects EMS to respond quickly when they dial 911, no matter what time of day. However, many Texas communities may struggle to make rapid response a reality, especially in rural and frontier areas.
Texas EMS must provide care to a diverse population of around 28 million people. With over 3 million Texans living in frontier and rural counties, it can be difficult to recruit EMS for these areas.
The financial hardships and time requirements created by EMT training can be high, especially if travel is lengthy to the nearest EMT school in Texas.
Also, once certified as an EMT the pay can be lower in these areas for EMTs. In fact, the counties may rely heavily on volunteer EMS.
Another difficulty facing EMS in rural Texas is training and maintaining certifications for an entire EMS crew. EMTs in rural areas have less access to EMT schools in Texas that teach advanced training. This can make getting local paramedics difficult.
A rural Texas EMT also has decreased access to continuing education courses which makes keeping certifications active more difficult.
For these reasons hiring and keeping Texas EMS personnel in rural areas can be a real challenge.
Texas EMS in urban areas also face challenges, but they are challenges familiar to many cities. These include high call volumes, excessive traffic, and job burnout which can all lead to a high employee turnover rate.
Texas EMS Conference
If you’re interested in EMS or you’re a member of the community, you might want to check out the Texas EMS conference in 2018. It will take place November 18-19 at the Fort Worth Convention Center and Registration opens in May.
Still not sure if you should become a Texas EMT? Check out 15 Reason To Become an EMT Now.
Wondering if you have what it takes to be an EMT? Go to 5 Qualities Every EMT Should Have.
Don’t forget to check out our new EMS News page.