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How to become an Emergency Medical Technician

Emergency Medical Technician operates in many ways, like delivering urgent medical care for unwell and wounded individuals in extreme situations and transferring casualties to medical centers.

Becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT) generally involves 1-3 years, based on the career aspirations and academic course. EMT preparation emphasizes life-saving procedures and first-response cases, like CPR and emergency care. Paramedics conduct more advanced techniques than EMTs and thus need more rigorous preparation and practice.

Emergency medical technicians attend to 911 calls and health care emergencies. EMTs transfer patients to facilities, carry out the necessary medical duties, and function as initial responders. 

The EMTs have to perform well under stress to render life-saving choices in high-stress conditions. EMTs are collaborating closely with other emergency personnel, like paramedics, police, and firefighters.

The duties of the EMT focuses on technical learning and skills. Some initial responders provide only standard medical care, whereas more skilled EMTs may execute more advanced and medical procedures.

EMT Education and Training Requirements

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Applicants require a high school diploma or General educational development certificate to be an EMT. EMTs have to receive CPR certification before enrollment in a post-secondary advanced program. These classes run for 1-2 years but do not grant a degree.

Complete a national or state test to get the license.

EMTs have to get the state certificates to perform. Some areas have mandatory requirements to take a state-specific qualification test. Even so, a lot of states consider the NREMT test. To take the exam, applicants have to complete a state-approved training program.

Obtain specialized EMT training 

Some EMTs have to finish further training. These specialized programs do not consider EMTs as paramedics. Although, they train EMTs for the Advanced EMT test from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Advanced programs demand nearly 150 - 200 hours of on-site work. Many classes have the rotation of internships in the emergency room and the emergency department. It is not mandatory for an EMT.

Types of EMT Training

An EMT qualification can improve your expertise and skills, and for that, an EMT can obtain an associate or bachelor's certificate.

The EMT certification course prepares candidates with the standard qualifications required to deliver emergency medical services to patients on their way to the hospital. Students practice specific life support techniques to assist people in different extreme situations, particularly those who have an injury, are the subject of abuse, or have encountered an accident.

Usually, the EMT Credential Program takes between 1-2 years to finish and qualifies students to undertake a licensing test in their region. Illustrations of specific programs and skills are listed below.

Basics of EMT - Gives analysis of specific life-saving procedures in emergency care environments. This program provides the following skills and expertise;

Settling the patient after an incident or a condition

  • Handling the respiratory tract of patients
  • Patients treatment of wounds
  • Evaluate what type of treatment patients require

EMT Introduction

Acquaints students about how to operate in the EMT emergency.

  • Detailing the treatment of patients
  • Comprehend the medical terms
  • Connection in a medical setting
  • Manage a medical emergency

EMT Evaluation

Discover the health of a patient and make recommendations on treatment.

  • Get the patient's record
  • Giving primary and secondary examination of patients

Airway Management

Establish students to understand techniques for accessing and controlling a patient's respiratory tract.

  • Usage of airway control systems
  • Reviewing of emergency devices
  • Knowledge of artificial ventilation systems

Associate's Degree 

Since gaining EMT credentials, many students participate in the paramedical associate graduate course to enhance their profession. Paramedics have greater responsibility for medical care than EMTs, so the instruction obtained at this stage is more extensive and specialized than the credential. If you want to pursue a career as a paramedic, check out these resources: How to become a paramedic. Since you will need a resume to apply for a paramedic position, we have created a guide on How to write a paramedic resume.

This program offers guidance on specialized critical response procedures, such as cardiac care, patient recovery, and airway care. Associate graduate courses deliver the following classes to assist students in improving their knowledge of emergency medical treatment;

Trauma Management

This course incorporates the measures taken in the care of trauma victims.

  • Evaluating patients
  • Identifying the treatment of various forms of injuries, like spinal and soft-tissue trauma.
  • Treatment for burns
  • Integration of the treatment regimen

Special Population

This program offers an overview of how to handle people who need specific or additional treatment.

  • Recognizing pediatric incidents
  • Addressing the issues of patients in psychological conditions
  • Treatment of older patients

Emergency Pharmacology

This training describes the use of medicines throughout emergency treatment.

  • Considering pharmacological terms
  • Evaluating the side effects of medications when prescribing medicines
  • Assessing medicines widely used for emergency treatment


This course focuses on and outlines the treatment of heart emergencies.

  • Analyzing cardiovascular crises
  • Evaluation of coronary patients
  • Implementation of the cardiac care plan

Did you know?

There is presently over 400,000 nationwide trained EMT personnel in the U.S, as per the data of the National Register of EMTs.

Job Description of an Intermediate EMT

EMTs offer emergency treatment before the patient can enter the hospital, often in an ambulance. The three EM types are EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic. EMTs are sent to the location to determine the patient's condition and administer essential medical services, like CPR or apply bandages. They may operate the ambulance, as well. Many of them serve hospitals or autonomous outpatient treatment services.

Education and Training

To be certified as an EMT-Intermediate, an applicant have to get authorization as an EMT-Basic. It requires about 100 - 200 hours of advanced instruction and essential CPR qualifications. To apply at the intermediate level, approximately 100-200 hours of advanced training is necessary, generally a combination of class and emergency medical training.

Licensing involves not only the completion of the requisite instruction but also the completion of a structured cognitive and psychomotor test conducted. The examination identifies the appropriate professional expertise. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) provides the certification. EMTs will require an Emergency Driver License to operate an ambulance. For most areas, all that is necessary is an EMT qualification and a viable driver's license. While in others, EMTs also should complete the training of an emergency vehicle operator.

Characteristics of an EMT

EMTs require a mix of physical and personal expertise to support the sick and wounded. Better overall fitness and the strength to carry and hold at least 125 pounds is necessary since EMTS frequently have to transfer incapacitated patients. And, they employ specific surgical tools and devices to calm patients, so EMTs should have a firm hand. Often crucial are interpersonal skills, such as the potential to pose questions, interpret responses and provide guidance. Since the patient's families are also under tension, an EMT should have the empathy to offer emotional help. And, problem-solving in crises entails logical thinking skills, like logic, analysis, and evaluation.

Responsibilities of an EMT

The responsibility of an EMT- Intermediate is to offer standard emergency care for the respiratory, accident, and heart crises and blocked respiratory tract. They are competent to handle such medicines and also intravenous fluids. Except for perhaps paramedics, some of the most advanced medical devices, such as electrocardiographs, are not allowed for use by an EMT- Intermediate. Those eligible to operate the ambulance are accountable for moving the patient seamlessly from the urgent care to the closest health center.

EMT Job Salaries and Job Market Outlook

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, EMT's salary for all ranks was $30,360 in 2010. A report by Emergency Medical Services showed that EMT-Intermediates made a salary of $36,817 annually. The highest average EMT-Intermediates pay was $40,680 a year, documented in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

Job market outlook

As per the BLS, the job outlook for EMTs through 2020 is outstanding. Although job growth will increase around 14 percent throughout all professions, employment growth between EMTs will rise at a higher pace of 33 percent, contributing to a potential 75,400 job opportunities by the end-decade.

EMT Years of Experience

Each qualification level relies on the previous level, so some people want to serve as an EMT before taking further training to be an Advanced-EMT. As there is a substantial gap in pay among credential standards, this is an inexpensive way to obtain useful knowledge and specialized training. For instance, in 2019, North Carolina EMS reports suggested that EMT vs. AEMT's compensation was $28,567 to $33,084.

Advanced EMT Industry

The EMTs and paramedic's salary was nearly 262,100 in the U.S in 2018. EMTs and paramedics operate in different circumstances, both inside and outside. They function both days and evenings and also work shifts of 12 to 24 hours a day. Job is challenging, both physically and mentally, and can include circumstances of life or death. The emergency medical technicians work with contingency services, but local governments and healthcare facilities also hire them.

Online EMT Training

Online schools are a flexible choice for students seeking EMT training that will conveniently match their routines. These services encourage students to integrate online courses with in-person instruction, offering both conceptual and practical knowledge. Online learning is an ideal prospect, but the students have to consider a college that matches their requirements.

Paramedics and EMTs take care of patients in elevated-conditions where their decisions could lead to a situation of life and death. They require advanced training from credible universities that have the right education and training to acquire their permit.

EMT Re-certification Exam

Almost every state has a mandatory requirement for EMTs. They have to get accredited by the NREMT and approved by the state in which they operate. The national registry allows all EMTs to re-certify every two years. This re-certification is to verify they have the safest and latest emergency care for patients. There are two ways to apply for re-certification;

  •  Conducting 72 hours of ongoing training
  •  Taking the EMT re-certification test

The EMT examination is a once-only opportunity for EMTs who choose to retake the test instead of attending the mandatory continuing education courses. There are no retests, and applicants with a low grade must undergo 72 hours of training instruction to be re-certified. 

Applicants must already be working in the emergency care area to apply for the test. After the EMT certification expires, within six months exam must be taken. Applicants have to pay an assessment fee, which was USD 70 in 2012.

The license renewal exam is an analytical test offered to all applicants for EMT certification. The two-hour computer-optimized exam ranges from 70 - 120 questionnaires and includes all core parts of emergency medical treatment, such as trauma, ventilation, cardiology. Applicants for license renewal most often show experience of the new cardiovascular resuscitation procedures and field abilities verified. A lot of the U.S states, like California and Massachusetts, are using a substitute license renewal system. It includes continued education, and EMTs can review state regulations before beginning the study.

Registration for EMT License Renewal Test

The NREMT provides training and licenses renewal tests via Pearson VUE, British teaching, and assessment program that manages exam centers worldwide. EMTs can locate the test center nearest to their locations by searching the Pearson VUE page online. Applicants for EMT license renewal can prepare for the test by registering online via the Pearson website or contact the Pearson Office. Every applicant should have a permission letter from the National Registry for applying.

Expired EMT Certification

EMTs holding a state permit but whose qualification has expired within 24 months can reissue their credential. EMTs have to take a cognitive and psychomotor evaluation to check their medical expertise.

Specifications of an Effective Job as an EMT

It is a dynamic career that requires employees have good critical thinking abilities to execute judgment calls on how to handle patients. EMTs and paramedics must be outstanding listeners, as clear communication lets them appreciate what their patient wants. And better verbal abilities enable them to interact efficiently with patients and other professionals.

EMT Credentials

Along with obtaining a state permit and NREMT credential, EMTs who choose to operate emergency vehicles should undertake a specific training program. However, this is not an extensive list, but the certifications written below apply to EMTs and paramedics;

  • EMT Basic: NREMTs
  • EMT Intermediate: NREMTs
  • EMT Paramedic: National Registry of EMTs
  • First Responder: National Registry of EMTs
  • Certified Healthcare Emergency Professional
  • Flight Paramedic Certification
  • Certified Hyperbaric Technologist
  • Critical Care Paramedics Transport Paramedic Certification
  • Certified Medical Interpreter

EMT Technologies and Devices

EMTs require many methods and innovations to cure patients. The devices they employ involve diagnostic applications include MedDataSolutions Regist*r, data gathering applications, Epocrates software, and HyperTox. Also, some methodologies involve airway intake units, accessible oxygen devices, oxygen masks, etc.

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Emergency Medical Technician FAQ

Q1. How long would it take to become an EMT?

Answer: Most applicants require 6 months - 2 years to finish their training programs and take the NREMT test.

Q2. How much money does an advanced EMT earn?

Answer:  An EMT is responsible for taking care of sick and wounded individuals in extreme situations. There are many qualification levels - higher levels relate to higher wages. The EMT, or entry-level role, is the most prevalent, preceded by Advanced EMT and paramedics. EMTs perform critical care, such as managing oxygen or glucose and help in allergic disorders recovery. EMTs evaluate patient symptoms, and unlike AEMTs, they do not have to administer a treatment that involves needles or a crack in the skin. Advanced EMT function includes the same procedures, including the delivery of medicines and the use of complex airways. The distinction between an EMT, AEMT, and a paramedic is the extent of schooling done and the level of service they are allowed to give, and the criteria vary by state.

A high school degree is mandatory to participate in an advanced medical course, and in several states, applicants must be at least 18. Paramedic courses may include a diploma course. The regular EMT training program requires 120 -150 hours to finish, and classes for AEMT training are usually around 400 hours. Paramedics undergo rigorous training in emergency medical services that need six - 12 months of learning. Each level involves finishing a state-approved program, valid CPR for Healthcare Provider qualification, and a qualifying score on both the NREMT national information test and a state-approved competence assessment. States provide permits to operate, most of which often have background checks. An EMT can renew their license at least every three years.

Q3. Is CNA the same as an EMT?

Answer: CNAs and EMTs are also medical specialists who take care of the patients. While both can protect lives and support patients, their roles and work conditions are somewhat different. Generally alluded to as certified nursing assistants and emergency medical technicians. Both CNAs and EMTs should receive a permit to operate medically in their countries.

CNAs and EMTs have to finish their corresponding approved training course. CNA training is usually nine months, based on the curriculum. EMTs may acquire knowledge at various stages. Although EMT-basic involves around 100 hours of training courses, EMT-Intermediate includes nearly 1,000 hours of authorized training. Both jobs require a high school certificate or GED to commence a training course, and EMTs must receive a cardiopulmonary recovery qualification before initiating a training program. 

Every state administers CNA and EMT training standards and certification details. Applicants usually have to send an application, make payments and complete an accreditation test. Many states also need a felony record review. Some areas offer various types of CNAs, like CNAs and certified medication assistants. Extra preparation helps CNAs to undergo a certification test and become a licensed medication assistants. These specialists are eligible to provide prescriptions to patients.


Certified nursing assistants include bedside assistance to patients. It involves serving and washing patients and helping them walk and exercise. CNAs are also qualified to obtain crucial indications like temperature, blood sugar, pulse rhythm, and breathing. Many CNAs operate in care homes, but some jobs entail hospitals and home health care. CNAs typically function under the constant guidance of doctors, registered nurses, or certified competent nurses. They may become a certified nurse, a qualified technical nurse, or a registered nurse with advanced training.


EMTs are the first to conform to emergencies. These experts take an ambulance to a medical emergency incident. Basic stage EMTs usually maintain patients before other care personnel arrive or move them to a local hospital. It might involve the use of cardiac emergency equipment, CPR results, clearance of respiratory tract, and holding patients who may have possible head, neck, or back injuries. EMTs may progress their careers by further preparation and training to become paramedics. While most areas require completing the NREMT exam for every EMT stage, they can have specific constraints like taking the state-administered test.

Comparison between CNA and EMT

Pay levels differ for CNAs and EMTs based on the roles and expertise of the jobs. If you want a financially lucrative profession, EMT wages are higher. As per the BLS, the average salary for CNAs in 2010 was $24,010. The annual pay for the EMTs was $30,360 in 2010. Mainly, CNAs function indoors, and EMTs devote a substantial portion of their time outdoors, even in severe weather conditions. Both occupations may entail heavy work and performing work during weekends and holidays.

Q4.Is an EMT Certification a License?

Answer: There are several levels of qualifications within the discipline, and each state allows paramedics and EMTs to get licenses. It is necessary to know the association between licensing and qualification.

Certificate and License

NREMT provides certification for EMTs in the U. S. There are several tiers of qualification, with growing academic qualifications and consequently segmented area of operation. These credentials mean that any EMT follows consistent levels of expertise and aptitude. Licensing is distinct. Though it is significant to show integrity before being given a license, it is a separate matter. A permit provides legal approval to perform in a given region. But without lawfully authorized status, any degree of qualification or expertise is meaningless.

Each state is accountable for its own rules on licenses. Many states accept the NREMT's certifications as an acceptable confirmation of proficiency. Others encompass a state-administered qualifications test as a requirement for licensing. And, it shows a satisfactory degree of technical integrity EMTs must follow other licensing requirements. EMTs must be at least 18 years of age in each region.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician accreditations starts with first responder and standard EMT certificates. With added experience and preparation, EMTs with the requisite encouragement and expertise can progress through several stages of intermediate and advanced training programs, with paramedics at the top level. EMT preparation is offered mainly at vocational and community schools, training institutes, and occasionally in ad-hoc EMT training premises.

Each qualification develops the one before, so applicants should obtain the lower credential, pursue a training session for the next authorization, and then take both written and practical tests before getting the succeeding certificate.

The advancement of expertise offers a consistent career choice for EMTs, from the first-responder position to a much broader paramedic job role. EMT salaries take a uniform path beginning below $20,000 a year and increasing to over $50,000 for those in the top-earning percentile. Qualified EMTs and paramedics may register in university and become physician assistants, thereby raising their income potential. According to BLS forecasts, 33 percent employment growth between 2010 - 2020, more than the rate for all sectors. There is still a requirement for volunteer EMTs in remote and peripheral areas.

Q5. What are the top nations with the highest EMT salaries?

Answer: A paramedic is a specialized healthcare provider who replies to 911 requests for medical support outside of a hospital. They primarily collaborate as an emergency health service, and their role mostly includes self-governing decision-making around the immediate treatment of patients.

Australia - A paramedic who works for St John NT that is a government-authorized emergency services provider in the Northern Territory, makes around AU$98,000 each year, critical-care paramedic receives AU$107,000 yearly. EMT salaries located in the following regions;

  • Western Australia earns from AU$100,000 – AU$110,000
  • Adelaide AU$60,000 – AU$66,000
  • Perth AU$89,000 – AU$100,000
  • Sydney AU$88,000 – AU$91,00
  • Tasmania AU$109,000

Germany - An average EMT pay varies €2,000 – ¢2,600 a month for up to 48 hours each week. They may receive more salary with shift jobs and undertaking extra duties. An EMTs annual salary is $35000 in Germany.

Canada - The pay of a paramedic in Canada is region-based and qualifications. Usually, EMTs working in Ontario have a yearly income ranging from about CA$70,000 – CA$90,000 as a primary healthcare Paramedic. Their roles entail delivering critical medical services, prescribing IV, heart control, semi-automatic external defibrillation. Many who get upgraded to Advanced Care Paramedic are earning about CA$80,000 – CA$100,000. The certification authorizes an EMT to administer intravenous treatment, execute needle thoracotomy, and provide pain medication. Critical Care Paramedics are the top-paying group. Their incomes vary from CA$100,000 – CA$155,000. They primarily specialize in emergency care, sustaining and transferring patients in hospitals.

Norway - An EMT has an average salary of 19,500 NOK monthly at the initial years of employment, and after one reaches over a strong background, they will earn an average of 54,700 NOK a month.

Netherlands - EMTs in the Netherlands receive an overall wage of €4,000 monthly or €48,000 annually.

United States - In the United States, the highest-paid jurisdictions are Washington and a median income of $67,600, Columbia ($57,000), Hawaii ($54,000), Maryland ($49,500), and Alaska ($48,000). A massive number of EMTs receive a total of $34,000.

Ireland - The National Ambulance Service is the official pre-medical and intermediate healthcare service for the state. A graduate paramedic receives a wage of about €26,000 for the training duration, a complete paramedic receives a total salary between €26,000 – €37,000. A qualified paramedic receives the usual minimum wage and a further payment of €9,215 annually.

Switzerland - An EMT in Switzerland has a salary between CHF60,000 – CHF98,000 depending on varying levels of expertise and duties.

United Kingdom - Paramedics expenses are typically regulated by the NHS and begin at Band 5 that varies between £23,000 – £29,600 yearly. For group leaders or experienced paramedics who have additional skills, their salary is from €28,000 – £36,000. The consultant paramedic level obtains the band 8c income is from £60,000 to £71,200 yearly.

Japan - Many EMTs in Japan have a firefighter history. The work consists of at least five years as an ambulance worker role, 509 hours of the session, and 406 hours of hospital instruction or simulation in a training center. They earn between 1.7 million Yen yearly at the start of the profession and 5.5 million yen at the end of the job with a decade of experience.

Q6. How to write an EMT cover letter?

Answer: We have written a resource on EMT cover letter which includes incorporating relevant EMT skills and tips for writing a cover letter for an EMT job position.


EMTs operate as the first responder of emergency care services, delivering assistance to victims before approaching the hospital. They have the necessary skills in medical treatment and CPR. Although they could be interacting with paramedics, their reach and autonomy are minimal.

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