EMTs save lives and act as the first real chance at survival for many emergency victims. Through various life-saving interventions, emergency medical personnel help stabilize and transport victims of emergencies to the appropriate medical institution where they are treated further.
In a way, EMTs are real-life heroes. Naturally, they would only be able to do all these with the proper education and training to practice legally and do the job at the highest possible standard.
What exactly are these educational requirements and training programs like? We take an in-depth look below.
To become an EMT, the first step is to graduate from high school or obtain a GED through any state-approved program. Once you have your GED, you can complete an approved EMT program.
Approval/accreditation of these programs is done by the NREMT - National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
NREMT-Approved EMT Programs
You can only become an EMT by first completing an accredited EMT program. These programs last nine weeks (sometimes more) with about 120 - 150 learning hours.
EMT programs usually include courses covering trauma handling, patient condition evaluation, cardiac emergency protocols, obstructed airway clearing, hazardous material handling, field equipment usage, and decision-making in high-stress situations.
There are plenty of options for EMT programs across the nation. We take a look at some of the most popular choices below.
Offline Colleges and EMT Training Programs
- North Seattle College - The health and medical departments of North Seattle College in Seattle offer an excellent EMT program. Their program consists of 13 required credits and a clinical shift lasting for ten hours.
Students here learn about patient need assessment and management, emergency medical administration, and bleeding control, among other essential skills. Courses are usually completed in ten weeks.
- Davis Technical College - Davis Technical College is perfect for those who wish to specialize in out-of-hospital and transportation training for EMTs.
Among other skills, students here learn bandage work, AED machine technology, bleeding control, emergency childbirth, and management of environmental emergencies. Courses are usually completed in four months or 136 hours.
Davis Technical College is located in Kaysville, Utah.
- Broward College - Students take 15 weeks to learn critical skills needed to thrive as an EMT at Broward College. Topics such as pressure management, time management, patient lifting and carrying, and patient safety procedures are taught and emphasized.
Broward College is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- Center for Emergency Medicine Western Pennsylvania, INC - This institution has one of the best EMT programs in the nation, with increased emphasis on out-of-hospital care. Students here are drilled on didactic EMT practices using a variety of training kits, such as mannequins and models that mimic real-time psychomotor skills.
Students here take four months to complete their program.
Online EMT Training Programs
For those who may need more time or willingness to always show up to a physical location, a handful of noteworthy programs cater to online needs.
Some of these programs are strictly online, while some employ a hybrid approach wherein most of the training is done online. Still, some practical aspects require students to be physically present at an offline location.
- Percom EMS Medical Education Consortium - Percom EMS Medical Education Consortium is an excellent choice for EMT candidates who need great flexibility in their schedules.
At the end of the program, students can take their exams online. Those who pass the exam qualify for a three-day training wherein they learn more about the hands-on practices required as an EMT.
Percom EMS is located in Abilene, Texas, and requires six months for their EMT program completion.
- UCLA: Center for Prehospital Care - At the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care, an accelerated EMT program runs for four weeks and is available online. Students attend classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The program also has a full-time option that lasts ten weeks instead of four.
With a great deal of flexibility in their schedule, students can pace themselves while having ample time to turn in their interactive assignments.
UCLA Center for Prehospital Care is located in Los Angeles, California.
- Oregon Institute of Tech - Those who wish to complete an EMT program at the Oregon Institute of Technology have the luxury of doing so online. They also enjoy interactive lectures, quizzes, and valuable resources.
The institute partners students with life support ambulances and fire crews to gain real-world experience.
With forty years of experience, this program remains one of the best in the country. Oregon Institute of Technology is located in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
- Austin Online EMT - Last on our list are the Austin Online EMT courses available all over. While the majority of the courses take place online, students are required to meet occasionally in person for skills training.
Exams are also administered on campus. The Austin Online EMT program is located in Round Rock, Texas, and requires six to twelve months before completion.
EMT Program Curriculum Expectations
EMT programs usually teach the basic lifesaving and critical skills every EMT must have. At a preparatory level, they cannot and do not set out to teach every medical procedure.
Some topics, however, that are constant features in any EMT program are bleeding, shock, obstetrics, gynecology, ambulance operation, respiratory emergency, the human body, patient lifting and moving, and introduction to emergency medical care.
EMT Certification, Licensing, and Credential Renewals
EMT certifications are carried out by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Passing a psychomotor exam is always required, along with passing the cognitive exams.
Students are also expected to pay $98 for the certification and obtain a CPR-BLS certification for healthcare professionals. Continuing education and credentials renewals are expected every two years.
EMT programs are relatively short, but those wishing to continue the journey and attain more skills, knowledge, and proficiency may apply for Advanced EMT and paramedic programs.