An EMT (emergency medical technician) is generally the first responder to dispatched 911 calls. These professionals travel to sites and treat patients that have a medical emergency. They care for those sick or injured, then transport them to a hospital or medical facility for more advanced care if the person requires it. This career requires formal training from an accredited training program, passing a state-administered exam and obtaining a license to practice professionally. If you want to know how to become an EMT, an EMT training checklist can help you get on your way to this exciting career.
Entry-level EMT training is generally referred to as first responder certification. This credential is offered through a variety of technical schools and results in a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree. Before starting a training program, many EMT schools require students to have their cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Although licensing requirements for EMTs vary by state, most states require completing this program, then passing an exam administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Coursework is intense and covers a variety of topics related emergency medical care and the equipment used to provide care. Some EMT training online can be completed, but the majority of an EMT training program requires practical experience in a classroom setting.
After successful completion of an EMT training program, students apply to take the national certifying exam to obtain a license. Students should check with their state’s Board that administers licensing requirements for EMTs. EMT training programs also prepare students for their state’s licensing requirements. There are four levels of exams administered by the National Registry: first responder, EMT-basic, EMT-intermediate/85 and paramedic, which some states refer to as EMT-advanced. The exam consists of two sections: the cognitive section, which is a paper or computerized test, and the psychomotor exam which is a practical, hands-on test. Passing the exams results in certification and national registration as a licensed EMT.
Each level of EMT credentialing is valid for 12 months. EMTs can continue their education to advance in their level. The average national salary for EMTs is about $30,360 per year. Continuing education can lead to becoming a paramedic or working for local and state emergency agencies such as fire rescue, which generally pay higher salaries. The average salary for local government agencies is $38,400 per year, and state government agencies pay an average salary of $50,600 per year.