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EMT Schools in California with Program Overviews

California has more than 30 colleges that offer EMT programs. Learn about the programs, tuition info and program options for the 10 largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

EMT (emergency medical technician) training is offered at a number of 2-year colleges in California. These schools present certificate and associate's degree programs, and some feature standalone refresher courses. The programs may include didactic and laboratory training along with field internships and community experiences. Students' educational choices include:

  • EMT Basic or EMT Level 1
  • EMT Paramedic
  • Emergency First Responder
  • Fire/Emergency Technology
  • Paramedical Technician
  • EMT Re-certification Course

Career Requirements

The state of California requires aspiring emergency medical technicians to complete approved programs and pass National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams for certification. Students also need to pass criminal background checks. Certification is maintained through continuing education and refresher courses.

The state has 3 levels of EMT training: basic, advanced and paramedic. California residents should note that advanced EMT training isn't common, and students may just complete basic and paramedic training.

Students typically need EMT Basic (aka EMT 1) certification before pursuing more advanced EMT or emergency medical services (EMS) training. However, some of the schools listed below provide extensive paramedic programs that include EMT Basic courses in the curriculum. The ten largest public and private not-for-profit schools are discussed, and all programs prepare students for EMT Basic or paramedic registry exams.


American River College

Sacramento's American River College provides EMT Basic and paramedic programs. The EMT Basic certificate program teaches students about appropriate emergency care and pathophysiology. Students may also earn a paramedic certificate or an associate's degree. In addition to learning about pre-hospital care, students complete various clinical internships for practical experience.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Basic Certificate,
    EMT Paramedic Certificate,
    Associate in Science in EMT Paramedic
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,104 in-state; $7,200 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public, large suburb

City College of San Francisco

This school in San Francisco has an EMT certificate program, and students take 13 credit hours of clinical and theoretical courses. EMTs who need to complete continuing education may choose to take EMT refresher courses at the college. Paramedic certificate and associate's degree programs are also available. Both paramedic programs provide 53 credit hours of core classes in trauma, drugs and human systems. Field internships are required.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Certificate,
    Paramedic Certificate,
    EMT Refresher Course
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,238 in-state; $6,270 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

East Los Angeles College

Located in Monterey Park, this college offers an EMT skills certificate and refresher courses. Refresher courses in EMT first responder and paramedic training are available at the school. Students may also complete a first responder certificate program, which provides similar training to an EMT program.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Skills Certificate,
    Emergency First Responder Certificate of Completion,
    EMS First Responder and Paramedic Refresher Courses
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,220 in-state; $6,160 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

El Camino College

Torrance's El Camino College has fire/emergency technology and paramedical technician associate's degrees and certificates. The fire/emergency option provides didactic and laboratory EMT training, in addition to courses in hazardous materials, fire protection and fire equipment. Students with no prior knowledge of EMT procedures may take the entry-level fire/emergency option. The paramedic programs focus on more advanced techniques in the field, and students take courses in trauma emergencies, field assessment and pre-hospital care. Clinical and field internships are mandatory. The college also offers an EMT Basic refresher course.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Fire/Emergency Technology or Paramedical Technician,
    Associate in Science in Fire/Emergency Technology or Paramedical Technician,
    EMT Basic Re-certification Course
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,142 in-state; $6,204 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Fresno City College

Located in Fresno, this college provides an entry-level paramedic care certificate program. Students take 45 credit hours of coursework, and they learn about basic and advanced emergency care topics. Clinical and field internships are required.

  • Programs Offered: Pre-Hospital Paramedic Care Certificate of Achievement
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,140 in-state; $6,780 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

Mt. San Antonio College

This college in Walnut offers several EMT programs: an EMT Basic certificate, a paramedic certificate and an EMS associate's degree. The EMT Basic program teaches students about trauma injuries and medical care. The paramedic program provides several weeks of didactic and clinical courses, and students learn about emergency cardiac care and pharmacology. Students who complete the paramedic program may go on to earn the EMS degree. An EMT 1 refresher course is also available at the school.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Basic Certificate,
    EMT Paramedic Certificate,
    EMS Associate in Science,
    EMT Basic Refresher Course
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,164 in-state; $6,060 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Palomar College

Found in San Marcos, this college has EMT Basic and paramedic programs. The EMT Basic certificate program teaches students about CPR procedures, ambulatory care and basic life support. The paramedic program provides training in trauma and proper medical care. Paramedic students also complete clinical and field internships. Those who want to receive continuing education credit may take the EMT Re-certification course.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Basic Certificate,
    EMT Paramedic Program,
    EMT Re-certification Course
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,328 in-state; $5,224 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Saddleback College

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College offers an EMT Basic course and a paramedic program. The EMT Basic course teaches students about medical emergencies, and students complete clinical and field internships. The paramedic program covers topics in cardiac dysrhythmias and medical terminology, among others.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Basic Course,
    EMT Paramedic Program
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $762 in-state; $4,694 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Santa Rosa Junior College

This Santa Rosa school offers a variety of EMT programs ranging from basic to paramedic levels. The EMT Basic program provides 11 credit hours of coursework, and students learn about first responder and medical care techniques. The 24-hour EMT refresher course is available on the weekends.

This college also offers entry-level EMT/Paramedic programs, which means that applicants to the program don't need prior EMT Basic certification in order to enroll. Instead, students complete a semester of EMT Basic and anatomy courses before beginning the core curriculum. Clinical experiences, field internships and EMS community experiences are required in the associate's degree and certificate programs.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Level 1 Certificate,
    EMT Level 1 Refresher Course,
    Paramedic Certificate,
    Paramedic Associate in Science
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,278 in-state; $6,652 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize city

Southwestern College

Chula Vista's Southwestern College provides several EMT programs: an EMT Basic certificate, an EMT Basic refresher course, a paramedic certificate and a paramedic associate's degree. The EMT certificate program provides 7 credits of coursework, and students learn about basic pre-hospital care. Both paramedic programs offer courses like arrhythmia recognition and human anatomy. Paramedic students also participate in field and clinical internships. The refresher course is designed for EMTs who want to renew their licenses through continuing education.

  • Programs Offered: EMT Basic Course,
    EMT Refresher Course,
    EMT and Paramedic Certificate of Achievement,
    EMT and Paramedic Associate in Science
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,334 in-state; $6,654 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting EMT Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
American River College 2-year, public, large suburb EMT Basic Certificate,
EMT Paramedic Certificate,
Associate in Science in EMT Paramedic
$1,104 in-state; $7,200 out-of-state*
City College of San Francisco 2-year, public; large city EMT Certificate,
Paramedic Certificate,
EMT Refresher Course
$1,238 in-state; $6,270 out-of-state*
East Los Angeles College 2-year, public; small city EMT Skills Certificate,
Emergency First Responder Certificate of Completion,
EMS First Responder and Paramedic Refresher Courses
$1,220 in-state; $6,160 out-of-state*
El Camino College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Fire/Emergency Technology or Paramedical Technician,
Associate in Science in Fire/Emergency Technology or Paramedical Technician,
EMT Basic Re-certification Course
$1,142 in-state; $6,204 out-of-state*
Fresno City College 2-year, public; large city Pre-Hospital Paramedic Care Certificate of Achievement $1,140 in-state; $6,780 out-of-state*
Mt. San Antonio College 2-year, public; large suburb EMT Basic Certificate,
EMT Paramedic Certificate,
EMS Associate in Science,
EMT Basic Refresher Course
$1,164 in-state; $6,060 out-of-state*
Palomar College 2-year, public; large suburb EMT Basic Certificate,
EMT Paramedic Program,
EMT Re-certification Course
$1,328 in-state; $5,224 out-of-state*
Saddleback College 2-year, public; large suburb EMT Basic Course,
EMT Paramedic Program
$762 in-state; $4,694 out-of-state*
Santa Rosa Junior College 2-year, public; midsize city EMT Level 1 Certificate,
EMT Level 1 Refresher Course,
Paramedic Certificate,
Paramedic Associate in Science
$1,278 in-state; $6,652 out-of-state*
Southwestern College 2-year, public; large suburb EMT Basic Course,
EMT Refresher Course,
EMT and Paramedic Certificate of Achievement,
EMT and Paramedic Associate in Science
$1,334 in-state; $6,654 out-of-state*

*NCES College Navigator.

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