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How Do I Become an EMT?

You need to complete a few steps before you can apply your skills and knowledge as an EMT. Because emergency medical services are regulated at the state level, these steps can vary from one state to the next. Always check your state’s EMS website for the details.

Find and complete a class

EMT classes are conducted by a wide variety of institutions. Your local community college may offer the class for college credit. Hospitals may also provide the training. The local EMS agency or fire department may offer the course, especially if it’s to help train volunteers. Private organizations provide the training as well.

Searching online usually yields a list of classes closest to you. You can also check your state’s office of EMS to see whether it offers a listing of approved training programs. If you feel adventurous, try visiting your local EMS or fire station and introduce yourself to the EMTs on duty. Ask whether they have any suggestions or recommendations on where to take a course.

After you find a class that meets your needs, you complete your training program. This means passing all the tests your instructor provides, including all the practical examinations. Seems obvious, but you really can’t proceed to the next step without completing this one.

Pass the National Registry Exam

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is a nongovernmental organization that serves as the national EMS certification organization. The computer-based NREMT examination has been exhaustively evaluated for its ability to measure your EMT knowledge. Part of the NREMT examination is a practical exam, often given by your training program. Passing the NREMT exam means that you have a level of understanding that experts call “entry-level competent.”

Although most states require you to pass the NREMT exam, not all do. States that don’t mandate the NREMT exam usually require you to complete a state-level examination. You can check the NREMT website to see whether your state requires the NREMT exam.

Finish the process

Passing the NREMT exam doesn’t authorize you to function as an EMT. That responsibility resides with your state. You typically present your NREMT credentials to the state EMS office, complete an application, and pay a fee to become state-certified. Because EMTs enter people’s homes and businesses as part of the job, as well as solicit personal information about patients, many states require that you submit to a criminal background check.

To work as an EMT, an employer may require you to pass a medical examination and/or pass a test regarding the operation of an ambulance. You should check with these agencies to see what they require.

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