Understanding EMT Certification Requirements

HealthcareAugust 11, 2014

An EMT certification is one of the easiest certifications to get in the medical field, but there are several hoops to jump through. For basic certification, you should expect around 12 weeks of course time. They may be broken out into one 8-hour Saturday class a week, or a couple of hours devoted to study several times a week depending on where you take the classes. There are even online classes now that allow students to work at their own pace. Make sure that the school you go to will provide you with the knowledge to take the state and national exams.


Most of the prerequisites for the EMT certification are rather basic and can vary from state to state. Make sure you contact your state EMT certification representative to determine the specific requirements. This information can typically be found at the issuing department, which is usually the Department of Transportation or the Department of Health.

According to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, the prerequisites for the national exam are as follows:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Successful completion of a state-approved EMT program
  • Must hold a current CPR card
  • Successful completion of psychomotor exam
  • Pay exam fee

State requirements can vary, but typical requirements are as follow:

  • Possess a driver's license
  • Possess a GED or high school diploma
  • Pass a criminal background check

Types of Certifications

There are three types of EMT certifications: EMT, EMT-B and Paramedic. The EMT-B is an advanced EMT examination, whereas the Paramedic certification requires more work by the EMT. To be considered for a paramedic position, you must have at least one year of experience as an EMT and have gone through an additional year of schooling.

According to UCLA, there are several other classes you may want to look into taking to help with future advancement opportunities. Recommended classes are math, English, Medical Terminology and several others depending on the path you have chosen.

The EMT field can offer several advancement opportunities. Not only can they work towards their Paramedic exam, but some students may also see this job as a stepping stone to get into nursing or become a fire fighter. Do your research and see where you want to be and what it will take to get there. Use the EMT certification as a beginning step to a long, successful career.

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