How to Find an EMT Course - dummies

By Arthur Hsieh

You may decide that the best way to prepare for your EMT exam is to take a preparation course. You have several options for finding an EMT course in your neck of the woods:

  • Perhaps the easiest way to find a course is to perform a web search. Entering “EMT training” and the name of your town, city, or county in your browser of choice often brings up programs that are available in your area. Easy!

  • Every state has an office of EMS, which may provide a list of training organizations that are approved or authorized to provide EMT training. Do an online search for the name of your state plus “EMS office.”

  • EMT programs may advertise in the local community. For example, volunteer fire or EMS departments may conduct EMT training at little or no cost to students in an effort to attract new volunteers to the organization. You may find additional information on their websites, in local newspapers, or at community centers.

  • You may get a recommendation via word-of-mouth. Take a field trip down to the EMS or fire department to see whether the staff can recommend a particular training program.

Before you sign up for the first course you come across, carefully consider what the course needs to have to maximize your chances of success:

  • Distance matters, of course. A training program that’s close by is easier to attend. If you have other priorities in life, such as work or family, a local program makes it simpler to travel between locations.

  • Cost is a consideration. Some courses require additional expenses beyond the tuition. These may include books, lab fees, uniforms, and medical equipment. Many programs offer the practical portion of the NREMT exam as part of their curriculum.

    Make sure you find out about all the costs upfront so you can budget ahead of time; this way, you won’t stress about a “sudden” cost that you didn’t anticipate. Also keep in mind that there may be additional costs beyond your training program, such as paying for the NREMT exam and your certification application.

  • What about the time commitment? Some courses meet weekends only, whereas others meet during the week. Day and evening options exist as well. Compare EMT course schedules to your own schedule for work and/or school, and see what matches up best.

    If you can’t find a course that fits your schedule exactly, consider what you can move around in your personal schedule. The bottom line is that you can’t miss too many class sessions — there is a lot to cover, and the program probably has a minimum attendance policy.

  • An increasing number of EMT courses are provided online. This option may be great for folks who have little time to attend a traditional face-to-face class or who work odd hours that conflict with class schedules. However, the majority require some type of hands-on labwork as part of the class; make sure you know exactly what the time commitments are.

    Not everyone is cut out for an online class; you must be a highly motivated student who’s capable of independent learning in order to maximize your chance of success.

  • Being a good consumer of education can help you select the right course. Your state EMS office may have public data regarding how well graduates of various courses perform on the NREMT or state examination. You can also call the training organizations you’re considering and ask what their NREMT passing rates are, as well as their attrition rate (the percentage of students who don’t complete the training).