EMT - 1: Overview of How to Get your EMT Basic Certification

Research EMT - Basic certification and certificate programs. Get information about requirements, courses, licensure and salary to make an informed decision about your education.

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EMT - Basic Certification

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are classified at the basic, intermediate and paramedic levels. The EMT - 1, or EMT - Basic, is the entry-level position that students may prepare for through an EMT - Basic certificate program. Students in this program learn lifesaving procedures, emergency situation assessment and patient transport. Individuals have several options available to them for where they can earn their EMT-Basic certificate, including vocational schools, community colleges, universities and technical institutes.

Education Prerequisites

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many EMT training programs require individuals to have a high school diploma or its equivalent before applying. Additionally, some programs require that students have a valid cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and complete a preliminary emergency medical course.

Course Topics

To earn certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), the curriculum for the EMT - Basic program must comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation EMT - Basic National Standard Curriculum. Programs often offer classroom study and hands-on training in medical facilities. Students generally complete the program within one semester. Topics covered in a program may include:

  • Human biology
  • Anatomy
  • Medical terminology
  • Trauma injury treatment procedures
  • Patient transport techniques
  • Pediatric emergency care
  • Patient assessment
  • Cardiac emergency care
  • Hazardous material management
  • Ambulance operations

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS projected that employment for EMTs and paramedics should grow 23% during 2012-2022. However, individuals with only their EMT - Basic certification may need to acquire more advanced certifications in order to beat out the competition. Competition should be greatest for jobs in local governments and independent rescue agencies, since these employers offer better incentives. As of May 2012, EMTs and paramedics earned a median salary of $31,020, according to the BLS. Those in the lowest-paid 10% earned $20,180, while those in the highest-paid 10% earned $53,550.

Continuing Education Information

EMTs are required to obtain certification, but requirements vary for each state. States may abide by the requirements set by the NREMT, which includes completing an approved program, having a current CPR certification and passing an exam. Continuing education is required to keep the certification valid.

EMT - Intermediate and paramedic certificate programs are also available, and the EMT - Basic is typically the prerequisite for these programs. Some schools offer associate degree programs at the paramedic level. Additional certification is required after completing these programs.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics