EMT Education Requirements and Employment Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an emergency medical technician (EMT). Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

View 6 Popular Schools »

Essential Information

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) provide medical care in emergency situations. They assess medical conditions, provide emergency treatment and transport patients to medical facilities. EMTs require extensive training in order to handle the wide array of situations they encounter in this high-pressure career. Additionally, they must be certified, usually by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians or through the state in which they work.

Required Education Training programs at the appropriate EMT level: basic, intermediate, and paramedic; some programs lead to certificates or diplomas; paramedic programs resulting in associate's degrees are available
Certification and Licensing Certification or licensing required in all states; most states utilize the exams proctored by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT)
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 23% for EMTs and paramedics*
Median Salary (2013) $31,270 for EMTs and paramedics*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Emergency Medical Technicians

EMTs are required to pass a rigorous training program before they can begin providing medical services; these programs are typically offered at technical schools and community colleges. Most schools require applicants to undergo a criminal background check and a medical exam, as well as to hold CPR certification.

EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic are the three levels of training available. Although EMT education varies by state, the nationally defined EMT standards require about 100 hours of training for EMT-B, 1,000 hours for EMT-I and 1,300 hours for EMT-P programs.

Diploma Programs

Diploma programs are usually offered at the EMT-Basic level and teach basic emergency skills and patient assessment. Students are educated in the operation and maintenance of common emergency equipment through formal instruction and an internship. These internships typically involve clinical experience assisting an ambulance crew or working in an emergency room.

Certificate Programs

EMT certificate programs are available at the paramedic, intermediate and basic levels. Programs combine classroom study and clinical practices, offering students medical courses in human anatomy and physiology as well as EMT training.

EMT coursework can include life support systems, medical terminology and EKG interpretation. Students receive advanced instruction in many emergency practices, such as the use of airway devices, how to start intravenous fluids and how to administer medications.

The majority of certificate programs require students to participate in a ride-along internship, which usually involves joining local ambulance or fire department EMTs as they perform their duties. Many certificate programs offer credits that are transferable to EMT-Paramedic associate's degree programs.

Associate's Degree Programs

Most EMT associate's degree programs prepare students for EMT-Paramedic licensure. The curriculum includes general education and medical courses, such as anatomy and physiology, biology and composition. Additionally, students acquire high-level EMT skills through extensive coursework, field experience and clinical practice.

Students learn advanced practices in pharmacology, emergency trauma care, cardiac assessment, shock treatments and patient management. Students are required to complete a lengthy internship working with a mobile emergency team.

Certification and Licensing Requirements

Following educational training, EMTs are required to be certified or licensed either at the state or national level. Some states provide their own examination, while others use the examination developed by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (www.nremt.org). In addition, candidates must recertify every two or three years by enrolling in continuing education courses or refresher programs.

Employment Outlook

Between 2012 and 2022, job opportunities for emergency medical technicians were expected to grow by 23%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This faster-than-average rise is due to a large segment of the general population entering retirement age and the probable increase of age-related health emergencies. EMTs with higher levels of training and certification were expected to do well in this competitive job market (www.bls.gov).

Show me popular schools

Related to EMT Education

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
EMT Recertification Requirements: Info for Current EMTs

Most states require EMTs to get recertified, typically every 2-3 years after their original licensure, according to the...

EMT Professions: Overview of Educational Requirements

Emergency medical technology professionals provide medical aid to those in need during emergency situations. There are several...

Online EMT Refresher Course and Continuing Education Information

Fully online emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedic refresher courses are available and can be completed in as little...

Paramedic EMT: Overview of Career Education Programs

A paramedic requires some formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification requirements to see if this...

Medical Technician - EMT - Paramedic Career Education Overview

Popular Schools

  • School locations:
    • Alabama (3 campuses)
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    • California (1)
    • Florida (6)
    • Idaho (1)
    • Kansas (1)
    • Kentucky (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Missouri (1)
    • Ohio (7)
    • Oklahoma (2)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Tennessee (1)
    • Texas (1)
    • Virginia (5)
    • West Virginia (1)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • Master in Medical Assisting and Administration

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • New Jersey (1)
    • New York (3)
    • Texas (3)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • California (19 campuses)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate - Health Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies (Medical Assistants)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must hold a Bachelor's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    During which term would you like to start?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Physician Assistant
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of South Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Diploma
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Physician Assistant
        • Radiological Science and Technologies
        • Respiratory Care Therapy
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Eastern Kentucky University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • EMT and Paramedic
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Surgical Technologies
      • Nursing Professions

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics