EMT Basic: Educational Requirements

EMT (emergency medical technician) basic training programs provide an entry-level education for emergency medical care professionals. The training teaches students how to perform basic lifesaving techniques on patients who need this type of care. Read on for more information about the educational requirements in an EMT basic training program.

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Educational Requirements for EMT-Basic

Background Information

EMT-Basic are health care professionals who respond to medical emergencies where individuals are unable to make it to the hospital and need immediate care. For example, emergency medical technicians help elderly people who injure themselves in their homes and individuals who are injured in a car accident. EMTs attempt to stabilize patients before they reach a hospital.

Training Prerequisites

All students preparing to enter an EMT-Basic training program, also known as EMT-1, must be at least 17 years old and have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Mathematics or reading test assessments may be required for entry. Some programs mandate that students have a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification, and have received specific shots like the Hepatitis B vaccination.

EMT Basic Training Program

A basic emergency medical technician training program can usually be completed in 3-12 weeks. The training consists of classroom and physical skills learning. EMTs must respond to situations, such as heart attacks and car accidents, and their physical and mental alertness is crucial to their job performance. As such, course work includes:

  • Respiratory management
  • Trauma scenarios
  • Cardiac emergencies
  • Patient assessment

Additionally, students learn the functionality and importance of basic medical equipment that EMTs use on the job. Students are trained to check patient vital signs and use immobilization boards, suction mounts, breathing assistance devices and splints.

Upon completing this first level of training, students can advance to other levels of training such as EMT-2/EMT-3 and EMT-4/Paramedic. Each subsequent level of training provides students with more knowledge and broader skills. Acquiring advanced training will better their lifesaving abilities and improve potential job prospects.

Licensing and Certification

In order to become a practicing emergency medical technician, students need to become licensed or certified. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians offers EMS certification for all levels (www.nremt.org). The EMT basic certification exam tests a student's psychomotor (physical) skills and cognitive abilities. Students who pass both exams retain EMT certification for 2-3 years, and must complete continuing education or retake the certification exam in order to maintain their credentials.

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 23% job growth for EMTs and paramedics in the 2012-2022 decade, which is faster than average. They earned median wages of $31,270 annually in 2013, according to the BLS.

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