How Do I Become EMT Certified?
Do you like serving others and enjoy the medical field? Depending on your current level of training, you can become certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in as little as six months. Read on for certification and licensing requirements to provide the initial medical response to accidents or health crises as an EMT. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
EMT Training Program
To become a certified EMT, you'll first need to complete a training program. Training programs for EMTs generally take six months to two years to complete, depending on the level of EMT you plan to achieve. You must be 18 years old and have completed a criminal background check before you can apply to any EMT training program.
The lowest level of EMT certification is the EMT-Basic. Your training for this level will consist of approximately 100 hours of classroom instruction and 15-30 hours of supervised clinical training. Many schools that offer these programs have flexible scheduling, such as evening and weekend courses. As an EMT trainee, you'll work alongside EMTs in ambulances and in hospitals. In an EMT training program, you'll learn:
- Basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- First aid
- Patient assessment and stabilization
- Respiratory and trauma management
- Anatomy and physiology
- Basic life support
- Cardiac management
To become a certified EMT-Basic, you must complete a state-recognized training program and pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification exam or a state licensing exam (www.nremt.org).
The NREMT exam tests both your cognitive and practical skills; there is a different exam for every level of EMT. You'll be allowed three attempts to take the test. If you can't pass it by the third try, you'll have to complete an additional 24 hours of training before you can try again. Once you become a certified EMT-Basic, you'll need to complete continuing education and re-certify every two years.
Levels of Certification
The NREMT offers two levels of certification above the EMT-Basic level: intermediate and paramedic. Each certification has specific training and examination requirements. Intermediate and paramedic training build on the basic-level training and may take up to an additional two years to complete.
Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual wage in May 2009 for EMTs and paramedics was $30,000 (www.bls.gov). From 2008-2018 the BLS projected that employment in the field would to grow by nine percent. You'll have a chance at the best job opportunities if you achieve the highest level of certification, says the BLS.
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