How Long Does Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) School Take?

Emergency medical technicians (EMT) are the heroes of emergency situations. They provide immediate and necessary care during emergency situations and transport victims to the nearest healthcare facility for more comprehensive care. Even if the pay is not that high, the fulfillment felt by EMTs whenever they save lives make all the hard work and sacrifice all worth it.

Individuals who are interested in a career as an EMT will have to undergo the necessary educational preparation. Through the programs available in technical institutes, emergency care training facilities and community colleges, aspiring EMTs learn how to assess a patient’s condition, use methods to effectively deal with trauma and other emergencies and utilize their field equipment. EMT programs can be completed in less than a year to two years. Instruction for basic EMT programs last for 150 hours and can be given in a hospital or ambulance. Advanced EMT programs require 300 hours of instruction and students interested to enroll in these programs have to finish basic EMT training. The advanced program also teaches students more extensive training such as how to administer intravenous fluids, give medications and operate complex airway equipment.

Schools offering EMT programs usually require students to hold a high school diploma and possess cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate before they can enroll in the program. At the University of South Alabama, the EMT certificate program is an 11-semester hour program that can be completed in one semester. The advanced EMT certificate program, meanwhile, is a 15-semester hour course that can be finished in a single semester. The EMT class at Percom Online is a course that can be completed in six months at the student’s pace. The course is delivered through a combination of online delivery and hands on skills event as well as 100 hours of clinical and field rotations. Portland Community College offers the EMT-Basic course which students can complete in six months. Barry University also offers the EMT-Basic program which is composed of 140 hours of EMT lecture and 60 hours of EMT lab. The program also requires students to hold a 16-hour hospital clinical and a 40-hour ambulance/fire-rescue ride time.

Most EMTs also complete an eight-hour course for ambulance driving in addition to their EMT training. This is even if each ambulance or emergency medical service provider has a designated driver to transport the EMT team.

Obtaining EMT training is just the first step in becoming an EMT. All states typically require all EMTs and paramedics to get licensed. In many states, those who have received certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) already qualify for licensure. To become NREMT-certified, the student must complete an education program and hurdle a two-part exam comprised of written and practical parts. There are other states that require EMT graduates to pass another state exam before they become eligible to get a license.

EMTs who want to become paramedics must take more advanced courses. These paramedic training courses typically lead to a two-year associate’s degree.

Career Spotlight: Emergency Medical Technician

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