EMT License Requirements and Career Info

Licensure and training for prospective emergency medical technicians (EMT) are most commonly offered at the basic, intermediate and paramedic levels. EMTs initially assess and treat patients, as well as transport them to a nearby medical facility.

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Licensure Requirements for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)

All states in the U.S. require emergency medical technicians (EMT) to be licensed. While licensing requirements vary by state, EMT training programs are typically offered at the basic, intermediate and paramedic levels. The length of a training program depends on the level of licensure being earned, with basic EMT programs taking as little as six months and paramedic programs taking up to two years to complete.

Basic EMT programs, often offered as a certificate or single course, cover patient assessment, managing cardiac emergencies, bleeding control, airway management and shock management. Intermediate EMT programs go on to cover advanced airway devices, patient resuscitation, intravenous therapy and ventilatory management. Paramedic programs, commonly offered as an associate degree, include advanced training in interpreting EKGs, administering medication and endotracheal intubations.

Most states require individuals to hold EMT certification in order to obtain an EMT license. In order to obtain licensure, many states require certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Certification by the NREMT, at all EMT levels, requires passage of a psychomotor and cognitive examination covering knowledge and skills learned as part of the prospective EMT's training program. There are some states that offer their own certification exam or give prospective EMTs the option of taking a state or NREMT exam. In order to maintain their license, EMTs must be recertified every two years.

Career Information

EMTs are the first responders to an emergency situation, providing initial emergency medical care and transporting patients to medical facilities. EMTs respond to a host of issues, including automobile accidents, gunshot wounds, strokes, heart attacks and childbirth. EMTs are commonly employed with hospitals, fire departments, private ambulance services, helicopter rescue crews and more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2008 and 2018, employment for EMTs and paramedics is predicted to increase by nine percent. EMTs and paramedics had median hourly wages of just over $14 in 2008, according to the BLS.

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