EMT School: Programs, Courses and Training Information

When selecting an EMT program, one should verify that the courses prepare the student for the level of EMT certification desired upon graduation. The school should provide up-to-date courses, hands-on training and a solid foundation in emergency care. The programs available include EMT-Basic certification, an associate degree in paramedicine and a bachelor's degree in emergency medical services management.

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How to Select an EMT School

Emergency medical technicians (EMT) are the first medical professionals to arrive on the scene of a crisis, evaluate the severity of the wound or illness and provide medical treatment. Because their quick responses and depth of knowledge will often save lives, an EMT must complete formal training - provided by EMT schools - and be licensed before treating patients. Students interested in working in this career may enroll in programs offered by community colleges, technical schools and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Certification preparation
  • Course content and hands-on training opportunities

Certification Preparation

States may license up to five levels of emergency medical professionals: first responder, basic, intermediate-85, intermediate-99 and paramedic. EMT schooling to prepare for these licenses is available at basic, intermediate and paramedic levels through community colleges and technical schools. When selecting an EMT college program to prepare for initial licensure, it should be determined if the courses qualify graduates to pass the written and practical EMT-Basic certification exam in their state. If students wish to progress in their EMT careers with programs at the same institution, they should check if the college offers courses to prepare for each certification.

Course Content and Hands-On Training Opportunities

Factors to be considered when selecting an EMT school include whether their training and courses are up to date in a continually evolving career field and provide a solid foundation in emergency care. Schools may also include access to a nearby clinical facility or occupational setting for hands-on training. There are also online programs available for continued education and recertification.

EMT Program Overviews

EMT Certificate Program

This EMT program combines college classroom lessons with supervised field experience to prepare students for certification exams given through the National Registry of EMTs. Coursework provides the basics of:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical terminology

Instructors also lead hands-on workshops dealing with cardiac, respiratory, toxicological and metabolic emergencies. This EMT college program takes 21-45 credit hours to complete.

Associate Degree in Paramedicine

This 2-year EMT college program is intended for students wanting to progress to the highest level of EMT licensure, as a paramedic. This degree program typically requires applicants to already hold basic or intermediate certification and follows a very structured curriculum that includes classroom lectures, field internships and hospital clinical hours. Lectures cover:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques
  • Water rescue methods
  • Emergency vehicle operations
  • Advanced life support techniques

Required coursework prepares students to sit for state and national certification exams.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Medical Services Management

This 4-year EMT college program trains students to become effective managers in the emergency medical services (EMS) field. Coursework includes classes in:

  • Health science
  • Clinical management
  • Marketing
  • Financial management
  • Statistics
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