How to Become an EMT


The most basic responsibility of an EMT is to assess emergency medical situations and provide lifesaving or life-sustaining care. This can include CPR, cardiac defibrillation, control of bleeding, shock prevention, immobilizing the neck and stabilizing broken bones. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a person can achieve four EMT levels: EMT-B (Basic); EMT-I/85 (Intermediate); EMT-I/99 (Intermediate); and EMT-P (Paramedic).

  • Make sure you meet the requirements for becoming an EMT: minimum age of 18; able to lift and carry heavy loads; and good--or corrected--eyesight.

  • Request transcripts from your high school or obtain a GED.

  • Choose a program that's approved by the state where you plan to work and by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Most EMT training programs take place at community colleges and technical schools; a portion of some programs can be done online.

  • Complete the required coursework and lab work.

  • Register for the NREMT examination, which takes place at a local testing center.

  • Apply for EMT jobs with private companies, hospitals and government agencies (city, county, federal and forestry).

Tips & Warnings

  • Continue your training and education to improve skills, qualify to take further examinations and move up the EMT pay scale.
  • EMTs are often first responders, and these experiences may be difficult.
  • EMTs can be exposed to contagious diseases and dangerous or uncomfortable situations.
  • EMTs may work irregular hours.

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