An Emergency Medical Service instructor is equipped to provide training to those aspiring to become EMS professionals. The training is performed in classroom, online as well as clinical and laboratory settings.
An EMS instructor is required to have an educational training as well as specialized EMT training in order to deliver the course program effectively.
One could opt to specialize in teaching specific EMS courses to students or become licensed as a comprehensive instructor in the field. The decision would allow the individual to take the necessary pathway to enter the sector.
The basic or most significant requirements for the position of an EMS instructor is that one is at least 21 years of age and must be holding a current certificate in EMT or Paramedics.
Other qualifications demanded by the position include at least 2 to 3 years’ experience as a Paramedic or higher. One must be AHA BLS and ACLS certified, have transcriptional evidence of competency in Mathematics, be a NFPA or NAEMSA certified instructor and must have logged in a specified number of hours as an EMS Instructor Aide.
Education and Training
There are two pathways to becoming an EMS instructor depending on what level one wants to work at. One must note, however, that this qualification requires State Certification and so it varies by state. Hence it is important to check the same before starting the journey so as to take the correct pathway and obtain approved certification.
The first path is an informal one. Once one has had the experience of working as an EMT or Paramedic for 2 to 3 years, one may volunteer to be an EMS instructor aide and be mentored by a veteran. This may equip one with hand-on experience at instructing a course.
Alternatively, one may take either the DOT EMS instructor course that would assist in achieving entry level instructional skills for aspiring EMS instructors or take the NAEMSE course. The NAEMSE Instructor course represents the instructional and practical component of the beginning of the education process to become an EMS instructor. It does not however, include all the components of an Instructor course.
One could also start off by assisting an EMS instructor in teaching a specific subject like CPR. CPR, AED and basic First Aid instructor courses are also available at low cost. American Red Cross provides Instructor training, so it would be a good idea to check with them as well. This could provide an entry level opportunity for aspiring EMS instructors. And as one gains experience, they can learn more and expand into teaching various other subjects within the discipline. The hours logged in as an instructor aide does count towards the certification as this is a crucial requirement for obtaining the state license (as explained below) however, eventually one must complete all requirements to obtain state license for an EMS instructor.
The second pathway is a more formal one where the basic requirement necessitates one to enroll in an EMS instructor program either in an approved institute or community college or to opt for the relevant degree program in a university.
Since the certification requirements vary from state to state, it would be worth checking with the EMS regulatory office of the state so as to take the correct way forward.
Most EMS instructor programs warrant a candidate to have current valid EMT or Paramedic Certification. The EMS Instructor Program mainly focuses on providing these qualified professionals with the knowledge and skills to deliver an effective training program.
In simple words the process would be:
- One must ensure they have a current valid EMT or Paramedic (or higher) Certification.
- Have 2 – 3 years of experience as an EMT or Paramedic or higher.
- Check with the EMS Regulatory Board of their State for approved training programs.
- Enroll in an approved EMS Instructor training program in a training center, community college or Online.
- Log in a certain required number of hours as an instructor aide – as per the state requirement.
- Pass a written examination.
- Apply for state license.
EMS instructors may work in varied environment depending on their preference, level of education and expertise. If one is specialized in a particular subject or category, they may find jobs in a approved EMS instructor institutes, in government entities for specialized training such as the navy or more commonly in colleges and universities.
One must however, keep themselves updated at all times. Just like an EMT or paramedic, an EMS instructor will be required to keep learning and refreshing themselves to ensure they are always in line with the latest medical and relevant technological advancements so as to keep their certification and license current.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to pay scale, the average salary for an EMS instructor as updated in 2018, is USD 57,272. However, the salary for an EMS instructor largely depends on what sector of the Emergency Medical Services they teach. In a bit more detailed version of the report from indeed.com, the highest paid are the lead instructors, earning an average of USD 74,000 followed by EMT and Paramedic instructors. Their average salary ranges between USD 61,000 to USD 64,000 whilst subject or module specific instructors and program developers earn between USD 19,000 to USD 41,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth of 15% for Emergency Medical Service professionals between 2016 to 2026. This is considered to be faster than the average for other professions. With more candidates enrolling for these professions, it would lead to more openings for EMS instructors to accommodate the increase.