EMT Certification Requirements in California


Emergency medical technicians (EMT) provide life-saving treatment to patients in emergency situations. EMTs treat and transport the injured or ill patient to the hospital. The EMT provides care for patients on the scene and during the transport. The state of California requires certification of emergency medical technicians to ensure that they are qualified to administer treatment to patients in distress.

Age and Education

  • California requires all EMT candidates to be at least 18 years old. While an EMT-I does not need a high school diploma, it is required for the more advanced EMT-II designation. EMT-II candidates must have an EMT-I certification for one year before becoming certified as an EMT-II. Paramedics must have a high school education and an EMT-I certificate to be eligible for licensure in California.


  • The California Emergency Medical Services Authority requires 120 hours of training for an EMT-I certification. The training must include 110 hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of clinical training. The basic life-support skills an EMT-I acquires in training include assessment of patients, advanced first aid techniques, oxygen administration and the use of an automated external defibrillator. The EMT-I will also learn how to move injured patients.

    An EMT-II requires 306 hours of training to be certified by the state of California--210 hours of classroom training and 96 hours of clinical training. The candidate must also make 20 advanced life-support patient contacts during the training. EMT-II personnel learn EKG monitoring, intravenous, taking blood, administering some medications and clearing the airway of patients in emergency situations.

    California paramedics require advanced training for licensure in the state. The paramedic candidate requires 1,090 hours of training, including 450 classroom hours. Training must also include 160 hours of clinical hospital training and 480 hours of internship in the field. Field training also includes 40 advanced life-support contacts with patients. Paramedics are able to perform endotracheal and nasogastric intubation and administer 21 medications along with all of the duties of an EMT-I and EMT-II.


  • Candidates for an EMT-I certification must pass a written and practical examination, which the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians administers. The EMT-II candidate is tested at the local level in California. EMT-II candidates may have to be tested again to work in a different local area. There is no statewide certification for an EMT-II.

    The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians administers the examination for paramedics in California. Licensed paramedics can practice statewide.

Continuing Education

  • The EMT-I must re-certify every two years in California. The state requires 24 hours of continuing education each renewal period. EMTs must display competency in 10 skills every two years to retain certification in the state.

    An EMT-II must obtain 48 hours of continuing education to re-certify. The advanced EMT must take written and practical examinations and pass six audits in the field every two years to maintain certification.

    The California paramedics license is valid for two years. Licensees must complete 48 hours of continuing education to renew the state license.

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