The role of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is to provide patients in an emergency situation such as a heart attack or motor vehicle accident with immediate medical care. Basic EMT Training classes normally last between 3 to 11 weeks depending on how fast you can complete it.
The medical knowledge required will include understanding how to assess patients and emergency situations, how to correctly operate field equipment, administrating patient’s with oxygen and performing CPR along with additional basic life support skills, helping with childbirth, controlling bleeding and how to utilize splints.
EMT’s will normally work and be based in an ambulance or other medical vehicles, in clinics, hospitals or emergency rooms. An Emergency Medical Technician must be registered or certified in every US State by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Some US States operate their own examinations for certification along with the choice of sitting the NREMT examinations.
What Are the Entry Requirements for EMT Basic Training?
Prior to enrolling for an EMT Basic Training (EMT-B) course, students must fulfill certain entry requirements (these can differ from course to course), including the following:[list icon=”icon: chevron-right” icon_color=”#f32845″ class=””]
- A high school diploma or equivalent
- A valid cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate
- Completed a preliminary emergency medical course
Completing an EMT Basic Training Course
Completing an EMT Basic Training Course is the first step a student must undertake to begin a career in emergency medical care. The course you select will have been created based on the requirements of the state you reside in and on the national standards.
Depending on the school or college you choose an EMT-B course will take between six months and up to two years to complete. The amount of coursework involved in each course will vary from one hundred and twenty hours up to one hundred and fifty hours. Some courses will require that students are certified in CPR before they begin whereas other courses will include CPR Certification within their curriculum.[highlight]The syllabus for an EMT-B can include the following:[/highlight] [list icon=”icon: chevron-right” icon_color=”#f32845″ class=””]
- How to assess and deal with emergency situations
- How to transport patients
- How to assess the condition of a patient quickly and accurately
- How to utilize field equipment correctly
Cost of EMT Training
As the duration of an EMT training program is relatively short and the programs take place at local colleges the actual cost is lower than you would need to pay if you were enrolling in a two-plus year degree program. However, there will be additional costs besides the tuition fees that you will need to bear in mind.
An EMT training course may also require you to purchase additional supplies, including a stethoscope, bandage scissors, blood pressure cuff and CPR barriers. The training course you select will give you a detailed list of the items required and it is recommended that you budget for these additional expenses.
Another expense to take into consideration is health insurance as many EMT colleges require that you are covered prior to enrolling for a course.
How to Achieve Professional EMT Training & Certification
To achieve certification as an Emergency Medical Technician students are required to successfully complete their training, pass examinations set by either their state or the NREMT and pass a background check. Once certification has been achieved students will need to apply for a state license. The examinations are separated into two parts, the first is Cognitive and the second is Psychomotor.
The Cognitive part of the examinations is a two hour written exam that covers between seventy and one hundred and twenty questions. These questions cover basic EMT knowledge such as cardiac arrests, giving oxygen, controlling bleeding, correct ventilation, joint immobilization and shock management.
The Psychomotor part of the examinations is designed to test a student’s practical ability and their readiness to be able to cope with handling trauma situations such as heart attacks, serious injuries along with other emergencies.
Students will have three opportunities to successfully complete the examinations. There’s a waiting period of fifteen days between each attempt at passing the exams. If after three attempts a student has not passed their exams then they may have to undergo addition remedial training.
Overview of EMT Certification Requirements
The typical requirements that an emergency medical technician must fulfill in all American states are as follows:
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- Students must be a minimum of eighteen years old
- Students have completed a state-approved EMT training program
- Students have achieved their cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification
- Students have passed their NREMT exams
- Students have passed the required background check
Why Students Need to Continue Their EMT Education
The certification for EMT professionals is valid for two years which means EMT professionals are required to renew their certification every two years. Continuing with their EMT education is necessary to keep their certification valid. The correct method for recertification will depend on the requirements of the state they are based in.
The NREMT has a National Continued Competency Program (NCCP) for EMT professionals based in states taking part in this program to successfully achieve their re-certification. This program has a requirement for forty hours of education credits split between education components at national, state, and individual levels.
The standard route for re-certification requires sitting a refresher course and achieving an extra forty-eight hours of credit for continuing education. Another option available to EMT professionals is to retake the cognitive certification examination instead of continuing their education.
Once a student has completed their EMT-B certification they will have the opportunity to proceed with EMT-Intermediate and paramedic certificate programs. Some education institutions offer students paramedic associate degree programs after completion of these programs the students will need further certification.