A group of aspiring EMTs practice on a dummy

EMT Training and Classes

Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, provide immediate medical services to patients in emergency situations and individuals who need hospitalized care as quickly as a possible. EMTs provide the intermediary care the patient needs in-between the emergency location and the hospital, where doctors and nurses take over the care. Over the past half century, EMTs have become more important and necessary, given the rise of emergencies related to heavy duty machinery, like car accidents. If you are an aspiring EMT, make sure you understand where to find the right EMT training and classes to become an EMT.

Basic Requirements

Every state has different levels of training required to become an EMT. If you’re hoping to be an EMT, you may end up choosing between training to be a basic EMT or a paramedic. However, there are a few basic requirements all individuals hoping to be a certified EMT must pass. You must have a high school diploma or GED, and you must be at least 18 years of age. You must also have all current immunizations, including Tuberculosis and other infectious disease vaccinations. You also must be able to pass drug testing and clear a background check. This means that if you have been convicted of a felony in the past, you are not eligible to become an EMT.

National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT)

The NREMT is a national certifying organization that provides certification and recertification tests for current and aspiring EMTs. Although certification through the NREMT is not necessarily a requirement, the NREMT can provide you with credentials for getting a job, and it can also help you get more information for finding state training and courses to be certified. EMT certification is generally a local training and certification process, but the National Registry gives a national test. If you take the national certification exams through the NREMT, you typically must go through additional state and local training depending on your state’s guidelines.

Training Based on EMT Level

Every state has different levels of training for various EMTs. There is some variation between states, but most states have at least three levels that correspond to basic, intermediate, and advanced EMT status. There are also nationally recognized levels through the NREMT. Typically, the basic level includes basic CPR, first aid, and patient assessment. Intermediate levels add basic life support skills, and more advanced levels mean training in the use of drug therapies. Paramedics represent the most advanced level of EMT. They are trained in advanced life support and can perform some advanced surgical interventions when necessary. Some states consider paramedics to be the same as advanced EMT levels, and some states distinguish between advanced EMTs and paramedics. Make sure you know your state requirements so you can decide what level of training for which you’d like to aim. 

Last Updated: April 22, 2015