How to Become an EMT in Washington State
EMT training in Washington State is similar to many other states. Washington State EMT training begins with going through an EMT program, passing the National Registry of EMT (NREMT) exams for certification, and finally getting a Washington EMT state license. Scroll down for more detailed information about each step in the Washington State EMT training process.
This page will also discuss Washington EMS protocols for EMT scope of practice skills that emergency medical technicians of all levels are allowed to perform on the job.
Washington State has Emergency Medical Services (EMS) care separated into eight regions, which are pictured on the map below. Every two years the eight EMS and Trauma Care Regional Councils in Washington prepare plans to achieve overall goals within their boundaries.
The EMS plans are subject to State Department of Health review and approval, with the statewide goal being optimal care. Washington state has the simple goal to “Get the right patient to the right resources in the right amount of time.”
EMS Levels Recognized in Washington State
• Emergency Medical Responder
• Emergency Medical Technician
• Advanced Emergency Medical Technician
EMT Training in Washington State
EMT training in Washington State is offered at many schools and Universities. Most Washington EMT schools only offer the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), and Paramedic programs for study.
When signing up for a Washington Paramedic program, you want to make sure the course is accredited. For a list of accredited programs in Washington state scroll down to the bottom of this page.
Good EMT training schools will teach students to quickly respond to emergency situations and transport the sick and injured while providing life saving care. Washington State EMT training programs will prepare graduates to complete patient care assessments, identify signs and symptoms, and perform the proper patient care interventions.
After graduating from EMT training students will be able to perform life-saving skills and respond to emergency situations. Some of these life-saving skills include stabilizing fractures, controlling bleeding, and administering oxygen. Common emergency situations an EMT will respond to are cardiac arrest, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and gunshot wounds.
Washington State EMT’s also have additional training which allows them to administer epinephrine to patients in anaphylactic shock, place intermediate airway devices, and use semi-automated external defibrillators.
EMT School Requirements Washington State
Washington State EMT training programs have a set of requirements which must be met in order to be accepted into the different levels of EMT training.
Each Washington EMT training program can add requirements, but in general most schools will want the following standards met.
• EMT training in Washington State applicants can be 17 years of age prior to the first day of EMT course. However, they must be 18 years old by the end of the EMT training program.
• EMT programs in Washington State require a high school diploma or GED certificate.
• EMT training in Washington State requires applicants complete the American Heart Association BLS – CPR for the Healthcare Provider. An acceptable alternative is American Red Cross BLS – CPR for the professional rescuer. (Some EMT programs include this as part of the course instead of as a prerequisite.)
• EMT training in Washington State applicants must have a current first aid card.
• Some EMT training in Washington State will require a 4-hour Infectious Disease Prevention for EMS Provider’s class or 7 hours of HIV/AIDS education. (This is also a requirement for EMT certification in Washington.)
• Some EMT programs in Washington State require a current Drivers License.
• EMT training in Washington State requires candidates have Current Medical Insurance verification to begin the program. Students will need to remain insured throughout the EMT training program.
• EMT training in Washington State requires a 10-panel urine drug test within the last 3 months for all candidates.
• Applicants for EMT training in Washington State must have a TB skin test completed within the last 12 months.
• EMT training in Washington State requires applicants show proof of immunizations or titers for the following:
– MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
– Varicella (Chicken Pox)
– Tetanus, TD, or TDaP depending on the EMT program.
• EMT programs in Washington State require applicants show proof they have begun the Hepatitis B series of vaccinations.
• EMT programs in Washington State require a flu vaccine within the last year.
• Some EMT programs in Washington State will require students to complete an English, Math, or Reading class as a requirement for school enrollment.
• EMT training in Washington state requires applicants to pass a finger-print based National Background check. May need to be done within 3-6 months of application deadline.
While researching EMT training in Washington State you may find some programs mention that applicants should be affiliated. Not all schools require affiliation to complete EMT training, but eventually you will have to become affiliated to obtain Washington EMT state certification.
What do you mean I have to be affiliated or associated?
An important factor for Washington State EMT certification is the requirement that all candidates be associated, aka affiliated, with a qualifying EMS agency or law enforcement agency.
This means the candidate needs to volunteer with or be employed by a Fire agency, EMS agency, Law Enforcement agency, or a business with an organized industrial safety team that has an affiliation number with the State of Washington.
Some EMT schooling programs in Washington State will give affiliated applicants priority for registration. They will then give any leftover seats to non-affiliated applicants. It’s even possible for all seating in an EMT training class to be filled by affiliated students.
It is possible to get accepted into an EMT program in Washington State, complete the course, and take the National Registry of EMT exam without any affiliation. However, within a year the EMT candidate will need to obtain affiliation in order to receive Washington State EMT certification.
EMT Certification Washington State
After completing EMT training in Washington State the next step is to pass the National Registry of EMT (NREMT) exams. Passing both these exams will award you with a National EMT Certification for Washington State. There is more detailed information about both of these exams on our NREMT page.
The first NREMT exam is the psychomotor exam and will be introduced to the student by their EMT school in Washington State. The psychomotor exam is a practical exam that will be scheduled at the end of EMT training through individual EMT programs in Washington.
Before taking the psychomotor exam check out our page with 7 expert tips to pass the psychomotor exam.
The second National Registry EMT exam is the Cognitive exam which is a written test. The Cognitive exam is a computer adaptive test and you can register for it on online at the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) website.
After registering, EMT students in Washington State should contact their training program coordinator to verify the program has also registered online with the NREMT and is approved by the Washington State Department of Health Office. Once this is done the student will be eligible to make an appointment for the NREMT cognitive exam.
After successfully passing both the cognitive and psychomotor exams in Washington State, the National Registry of EMTs will automatically send your EMT certification in the mail.
After receiving your Washington State EMT certification you will likely want to begin work as an EMT immediately.
Are you legally able to begin working as an EMT once you get Nationally certified?
The answer is:
No, not yet.
First you must get an EMT state license/certification in Washington State before working as an EMT.
EMT State License Washington State
The Washington EMT state license is also called a Washington EMT state certification or Washington State EMT certification. The Washington EMT state certification is different from the NREMT Washington certification because it is a State level certification.
The NREMT is a National level certification and does not specifically allow EMTs to work in individual states. To apply for a Washington State EMT license/certification applicants need to contact the Washington State Department of Health.
Washington State EMT License Requirements
• An EMT in Washington State must be 18 years or older to be licensed/certified by the state.
• A Washington State EMT must have a high school diploma or GED.
Must complete an EMT training program.
• Pass both NREMT certification exams.
• Pass a fingerprint based background check through the FBI and Washington State Patrol.
• HIV/AIDS training for seven hours (Some EMT schools provide this as AIDS Education) or a four-hour Infectious Disease course.
• The Washington State EMT application will ask personal questions on topics like Medical Conditions, Chemical Substances, felony convictions and disciplinary actions. They ask for explanations and documentation for any positive answers.
• Washington State EMT applicants must be affiliated (can be paid or volunteer) and will need to have the Supervisor and Medical Director fill out a form to verify this.
In order for EMT candidates to prove that they meet the Washington State EMT license requirements there are a few forms that must be submitted with application.
The recommended forms are listed below and here is the address and phone number of the Washington State EMS department. The phone number is also available to answer any questions about EMS certification.
Send completed application and other documents to:
Department of Health EMS Credentialing
P.O. Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877
Washington State EMT Forms to Submit
• Completed EMT Application.
• Proof of Age and Identity (with Photo): Drivers License, Passport, or Military ID.
• Copy of current EMT course completion certificate.
• Provide National Registry number and date you took and passed NREMT exam.
• Completion of the EMS Supervisor/Medical Program Director Signature Form which shows proof of EMS Agency affiliation.
• Completion of the AIDS Education and Training Attestation Form.
Washington State AEMT License Requirements
In addition to most of the EMT requirements listed above, AEMTs must also meet the following standards.
• Required to be a licensed or certified EMT for at least one year.
• Must submit copy of current AEMT course completion certificate.
• Must complete and pass both the written and practical skills National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician AEMT certification examinations.
Washington State Paramedic License
Along with most of the EMT requirements listed above, Paramedics also must meet the following standards.
• Washington State Paramedics are required to be a licensed or certified EMT for at least one year.
• Paramedic applicants must submit a copy of current Paramedic course completion certificate from a program accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).
• Must successfully pass the NREMT Paramedic written and practical skills exam.
EMT Scope of Practice
The EMT scope of practice is a set of Washington State EMS protocols that guide Emergency Medical Response Personnel. EMT scope of practice helps all levels of emergency medical responders to provide pre-hospital emergency medical care and treatment interventions for patients.
Generally, Washington State EMS personnel provide care in compliance with the Department of Health and under the authority of the Medical Program Director.
The Medical Program Director approves patient care protocols which are skills and interventions that EMS personnel can perform. There are some procedures in the Washington State scope of practice that require specialized training or certification in order for EMTs to be allowed to perform them.
Skills covered in the National EMS Scope of Practice Model are also included in Washington State scope of practice and will not need extra training. Here is the scope of practice EMT training in Washington State allows for.
EMT Scope of Practice – Airway
1. Can perform Head Tilt/Chin Lift and Modified Chin Lift
2. Can perform Jaw Thrust
3. Can apply Cricoid Pressure
4. Can use Oral and Nasal Airways
5. Can give Humidified Oxygen via Mask or Cannula
6. Can apply Nasal Cannula
7. Can apply Non-rebreather and Partial rebreather mask
8. Can apply Venturi mask and Pocket mask
9. Can give Positive Pressure Ventilation with Bag Valve Mask
10. Can give Positive Pressure Ventilation using Manually Triggered Demand Valve
11. Can manually Remove Airway Obstructions
12. Can do Upper Airway Suctioning
EMT Scope of Practice – Trauma
1. Can apply Manual Cervical Spine Stabilization
2. Can place a Cervical Collar
3. Can apply Spinal Motion Restriction / Immobilization – from standing, seated, or supine position
4. Can apply both manual and mechanical Extremity Injury Immobilization
5. Can Irrigate Eyes
6. Can Control Hemorrhage using Direct Pressure, Hemostatic Agent, and Tourniquet
7. Can apply MAST or PASG (Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garments)
8. Can apply mechanical Patient Restraint Device
EMT Scope of Practice – Cardiovascular
1. Can do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – both manual and mechanical
2. Can apply both Semi-Automated and Automated External Defibrillation
EMT Scope of Practice – Patient Assessment
1. Can take Blood Pressure, Pulse, Respirations and Pulse Oximetry
2. Can Assess Blood Glucometry using capillary puncture
3. Can place 12 Lead ECG for computerized analysis and transmission
EMT Scope of Practice – Medical
1. Can assist Childbirth – Normal Delivery
2. Can assist Childbirth – Complicated Delivery
EMT Scope of Practice – Medications
1. Emergency Medical Technician can assist with patient’s prescribed medications using the following routes.
2. Can administer Oral, Buccal, Sublingual, and intranasal medications
3. Can administer Inhalation medications using Metered Dose Inhalers
4. Can administer Intramuscular (IM) medications using Auto Injector
5. Can give Oxygen Therapy
6. Can give Aspirin and glucose orally
7. Can give Nitroglycerine Sublingually
8. Can use Inhalation for Bronchodilator / Beta Agonist
9. Can give Nerve Agent Antidote Kit and Epinephrine using Intramuscular Auto Injector
Expanded EMT Scope of Practice
With specialized training an EMT in Washington State can expand their scope of practice to include more advanced skills. Below are procedures available to EMTs in Washington. This includes EMT IV skills which require specialized training and certification.
1. Can apply Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
2. Can insert Supraglottic Airway Devices (Ex: CombiTube, King LT, i-gel)
3. Can use Capnography and Capnometry
4. Can Suction tracheostomy using modified technique
5. Can transport patients with Ventricular Assist Device in place
6. EMT IV are also allowed to do the following:
7. Peripheral IV Insertion and Infusion
8. Intraosseous (IO) Insertion and Infusion
9. Venipuncture for blood sample
10. Can give IV and IO medications
11. Can give medications IM with syringe and needle
12. Can give Naloxone Intranasally or IM with syringe and needle
13. Can give Epinephrine IM with syringe and needle
AEMT Scope of Practice
A Washington State Advanced EMT can do everything listed above for an EMT and EMT IV along with the following procedures.
1. Can administer Inhalation medications using Nebulizers and Aerosolized
2. Can give Subcutaneous Injections
3. Can give Bronchodilator / Beta Agonist using a Nebulizer
4. Can give Hypoglycemic Medications (Ex: D50, Glucagon)
5. Can administer Naloxone IV
6. Can administer Nitrous Oxide
7. Can give Nitroglycerine Transdermally
Paramedic Scope of Practice
A Washington State Paramedic can perform all the skills of an EMT and AEMT listed above along with the following procedures.
1. Can Transport ventilator with adjustments beyond rate and tidal volume.
2. Can use Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)
3. Can Remove an Airway Obstruction using Direct Laryngoscopy
4. Can perform Oral and Nasal Endotracheal Intubation
5. Can use Pharmacological facilitation of Intubation
6. Can perform Surgical and Percutaneous (Needle) Cricothyrotomy
7. Can perform Pleural Chest Decompression
8. Can Monitor Chest Tube
9. Can Place OG and NG Tubes
10. Can perform Tracheal Bronchial Suctioning of an already intubated patient
11. Can perform manual Defibrillation, Cardioversion, and Transcutaneous Pacing
12. Can perform a Pericardiocentesis and Carotid Massage
13. Can draw Cardiac Enzymes
14. Can perform Eye Irrigation with Morgan Lens
15. External Jugular Insertion and Infusion in an Adult
16. Can infuse a Central Venous Line
17. Can Manage a Controlled Delivery Device IV Pump
18. Can apply Transdermal and Topical Medications
19. Can administer Medications via Endotracheal, nasogastric, and rectal routes
20. Can administer medications via a Central Venous Line
21. Can Administer Controlled Substances
22. Can give Nitroglycerine via IV
23. Can Initiate and Maintain Thrombolytic Therapy
24. Can give Emergency Cardiac Medications
25. Can give Benzodiazepines for sedation or for seizures
26. Can give other medications for sedation (Ex: Ketamine, Etomidate)
27. Can Maintain Pre-existing Blood or Blood Product Infusions
Accredited Paramedic Programs
In Washington State paramedic training programs must be accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP). Here is a list of some Washington State Approved CoAEMSP accredited paramedic programs.
Central Washington University
Address: Department of Health Sciences, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg WA 98926
Program Director: Keith A. Monosky, PhD, MPM, EMT-P (EMS@cwu.edu)
Phone: 509) 963-1098
Medical Director: Jackson Horsley, MD
Class Size: 30 Begins: September
• Class Length: 12 months for certificate, two years concentration for degree
• Tuition Costs for Degree: Resident: $12,213 per year; non-Resident: $25,026 per year (2015-2016 academic year)
• Award: Diploma, Certificate, BS in Paramedicine
College of Emergency Services
Address: 9800 S.E. McBrod Ave. Suite 200, Milwaukie OR 97222
Program Director: William Thrasher, B.S., EMT-P (email@example.com)
Phone: 971) 236-9231
Medical Director: Lynn Wittwer, MD
• Class Capacity: 24 Begins: Every 10 months.
• Tuition and Fees: $10,560.00 per course, plus books.
• Award: Certificate
Columbia Basin Community College
Address: 2600 N. 20th Ave. MS R-2, Pasco Washington 99301
Program Director: Troy Stratford, B.S. EMT-P (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Phone: 509) 544-8320
Medical Director: Dr. Kevin Hodges, MD
• Class Capacity: 21; begins: January; Length: 18 months
• Award: Certificate, AAS
Harborview Medical Center – University of Washington
Address: 325 9th Ave. Mail Stop: 359727, Seattle WA 98104
Program Director: David Carlbom, MD
Phone: 206) 521-1224
Medical Director: Michael Sayre, MD
• Class Capacity: 24; begins: October; length: 10 months
• Tuition: Sponsorship by Regional EMS Employers ONLY
• Award: Certificate
Inland Northwest Health Services
Address: 601 W. 1st, Spokane WA 99201
Program Director: Douglas Presta, DPM, B.S., EMT-P (email@example.com)
Phone: 509) 242-4264
Medical Director: Joel Edminster, MD
• Class Capacity: 24
• Tuition: scholarships available
• Award: Certificate of Completion
Tacoma Community College
Address: 6501 S. 19th St.Tacoma, WA 98466
Program Director: Melissa Stoddard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Phone: 253) 566-5219
Medical Director: Joseph Hoffman, MD
• Class Capacity: 24 Begins: September Length: nine months or 18 months
• Tuition Costs: Resident: about $5400; non-resident: about $9,800
• Award: Certificate, APA (Associate of Applied Science)
Tacoma Fire Department
Address: 2124 Marshall Ave.,Tacoma WA 98421
Program Director: Chris Rock
Phone: 253) 591-5149
Medical Director: James Billingsley, MD
• Class Capacity: 12; begins: winter; length: 15 months
• Tuition: $9,500 per year
• Award: Certificate
• Prerequisites: Applicants must be employed and sponsored by a career fire department that provides Advanced Life Support and be a member in good standing with the IAFF. Applicants must have current Washington State EMT Certification and have a minimum of 18 months experience as an EMT.