EMT Training - Paramedic & EMT Schools

When the unforeseen happens and help is needed immediately, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are available to help. We rely on them to be there when we call 911, to arrive quickly, and to have the education and cool-headedness to handle the most stressful emergency medical situations. However, little thought is given to the training that goes into becoming part of this essential medical team.

A career as an EMT begins with emergency medical technician training. Most programs only require that students be 18 years of age with either a high school diploma or a GED. EMT courses can take a few months, depending on the school and schedule, and include both classroom and practical instruction on the basics of anatomy, trauma care, and emergency management. At the end of the training, new EMTs are eligible to take the exam given by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Upon passing the exam, candidates are awarded a nationally recognized certification.

The demand for EMTs is expected to grow by 5 percent between 2022 and 2032, making now an ideal time to think about pursuing training in this fast-paced career (BLS 2022). Further, many EMTs find that they love patient care and use their experience in an ambulance as a stepping stone to other medical careers.

Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become an EMT.

EMT fast facts
Projected Jobs Created28,600
Projected Job Growth11%
Average Salary$36,650
Low Salary$24,650
High Salary$62,150
Entry-Level EDU Certification
Sourced from BLS June 2022

EMT Degree & Certification Programs

Arizona State University
Methodist University
Eastern Oregon University

Although specific qualifications may vary somewhat from state to state, at minimum prospective EMTs will have to complete a certification course covering basic life support skills. These courses generally take around 120 to 150 hours to complete. EMT certification courses include training in CPR, hazardous material handling, and observation or ride-along with working EMTs. A completed course is a prerequisite for sitting for the EMT certification exam, which will qualify incoming EMTs for entry-level work.

In some states, there are multiple EMT training levels, including EMT-1 (also referred to as EMT Basics) and EMT Intermediates, followed by Paramedics. For many EMTs, an EMT certification is just the first step toward a career in medicine. Most educational institutions that offer EMT training also offer courses for paramedics, though these programs are much longer and more intensive. In fact, many paramedics training courses have EMT certification as a prerequisite for enrollment.

Many institutions around the country offer EMT certification courses. Students should ensure their EMT program meets the educational requirements for NREMT or is approved by their state emergency medical services. This information should be available directly through the program. On the other hand, paramedic programs should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) to be eligible to sit for certification exams. The accreditation process will be covered later in this article. Following is a selection of schools and organizations that offer NREMT-approved EMT training programs.

California State University, Sacramento

At Sacramento State, EMT students spend nine weeks studying the basics of emergency care in both a classroom and lab setting. Upon completing the course, students will be CPR certified through the American Heart Association and earn certifications for hazardous material handling and Federal Emergency Management incident command.

To register for this EMT course, students must be at least 18 years of age. This course has no prerequisites, however, passing CPR during the EMT course is required. As part of the program, students will delve into topics such as EMS systems; patient assessment; medical terminology; the human body; airway; pharmacology; medical emergencies; orthopedic emergencies; and transport operations, among many others.

Students in this program will learn from practicing paramedics and EMTs who work in the field every day.

  • Location: Sacramento, CA
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Nine weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,700

Front Range Community College

With campuses offering EMT courses in Boulder, Larimer, and Westminster, Colorado, the Front Range Community College EMT program is an excellent choice for anyone living in that state. The college offers an EMT certificate which comprises 12 credits and a clinical EMT certificate which requires 24 credits.

The EMT certificate specifically prepares students to work in the fast-paced environment of emergency medicine, whether their career leads them to a job with an ambulance service, in a hospital, with a fire department, or eventually as a nurse or doctor in an emergency department. Courses in this program include EMT fundamentals; EMT medical emergencies; EMT trauma emergencies; EMT special considerations; and EMT clinical.

Students in the clinical EMT certificate are provided with an expanded set of knowledge and skills through professional development to better care for patients under the supervision of doctors or nurses. This two-semester program includes all courses mentioned above with the addition of medical record terminology; EMS IV/IO therapy; basic EKG interpretation; and clinical EMT courses.

  • Location: Boulder, Larimer, and Westminster, CO
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: EMT certificate (one semester); clinical EMT certificate (two semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($280.20 per credit); non-resident ($673.90 per credit)

Broward College

The one-semester applied technology program for EMTs at Broward prepares students for entry-level work in emergency medicine. Students who wish to pursue further education will find this program to be a good fit as they can transition directly on to the paramedic certificate program and from there to the associate in emergency medical services.

The EMT program is offered in the evenings to allow working professionals the opportunity to complete their studies without having to quit their jobs. The programs are taught as cohorts allowing students the chance to build relationships and learn to work in a group.

The EMS certificate course is made up of 12 credits, the paramedic certificate comprises 42 credits, while the EMS associate’s degree requires 73 credits. Some of the courses in the curriculum include introduction to emergency medical services; emergency medical technician skills laboratory; basic emergency medical technician; EMT hospital clinical; emergency services administration; and community risk reduction, among others.

  • Location: Coconut Creek, FL; Davie, FL
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: EMT certification course (one semester); paramedic certificate (four semesters); EMS associate’s degree (six semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: Residents (EMT certification course – $2000; paramedic certificate – $7000; EMS associate’s degree – $10,000); out-of-state candidates (EMT certification course – $5,000; paramedic certificate – $16,000; EMS associate’s degree – $30,000)

Center for Emergency Medicine of Western PA

At CEM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, EMT students receive training to “meet the increasing demands of out-of-hospital care.” EMT students are prepared for the Pennsylvania Department of Health Emergency Medical Technician certification and also have the opportunity for CPR certification as well as national EMT certification.

CEM also offers CPR training for non-EMTs and paramedic courses for those ready to pursue a more rigorous emergency life support career.

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: varies
  • Estimated Tuition: $750 to $850

List of EMT & Paramedic Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana https://www.ivytech.edu 400
College of Lake County Grayslake Illinois https://www.clcillinois.edu 191
Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson Kansas https://www.hutchcc.edu 181
Mountainland Technical College Lehi Utah https://mtec.edu 166
City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College Chicago Illinois https://www.ccc.edu/colleges/malcolm-x 123
North Seattle College Seattle Washington https://www.northseattle.edu 116
Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove Illinois https://www.waubonsee.edu 112
Sinclair Community College Dayton Ohio https://www.sinclair.edu 105
University of Antelope Valley Lancaster California https://www.uav.edu 89
Skagit Valley College Mount Vernon Washington https://www.skagit.edu 88
Century College White Bear Lake Minnesota https://www.century.edu 84
Davis Technical College Kaysville Utah https://www.davistech.edu 73
Apollo Career Center Lima Ohio https://www.apollocareercenter.com/adult-education 67
Bridgerland Technical College Logan Utah https://btech.edu 63
Illinois Central College East Peoria Illinois https://icc.edu 59
Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City Kansas https://www.kckcc.edu 59
Rio Grande Valley College Pharr Texas https://www.rgvcollege.edu 51
Clovis Community College Clovis New Mexico https://www.clovis.edu 50
Bellingham Technical College Bellingham Washington https://www.btc.edu 50
William Rainey Harper College Palatine Illinois https://www.harpercollege.edu 50
Heartland Community College Normal Illinois https://www.heartland.edu 50
Parkland College Champaign Illinois https://www.parkland.edu 49
McHenry County College Crystal Lake Illinois https://www.mchenry.edu 40
Cowley County Community College Arkansas City Kansas https://www.cowley.edu 36
Herkimer County Community College Herkimer New York https://www.herkimer.edu 31
Columbia Basin College Pasco Washington https://www.columbiabasin.edu 31
EHOVE Career Center Milan Ohio https://www.ehove.net 31
Anoka Technical College Anoka Minnesota https://www.anokatech.edu 29
Barton County Community College Great Bend Kansas https://www.bartonccc.edu 29
Butler Community College El Dorado Kansas https://www.butlercc.edu 27
Kishwaukee College Malta Illinois https://kish.edu 27
Frontier Community College Fairfield Illinois https://iecc.edu/fcc 26
Elgin Community College Elgin Illinois https://www.elgin.edu 25
Kellogg Community College Battle Creek Michigan https://kellogg.edu 23
Garden City Community College Garden City Kansas https://www.gcccks.edu 22
Prairie State College Chicago Heights Illinois https://prairiestate.edu 22
Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla Washington https://www.wwcc.edu 22
Inver Hills Community College Inver Grove Heights Minnesota https://www.inverhills.edu 20
Lewis and Clark Community College Godfrey Illinois https://www.lc.edu 19
Hennepin Technical College Brooklyn Park Minnesota https://hennepintech.edu 18
Salina Area Technical College Salina Kansas https://www.salinatech.edu 18
Dixie State University Saint George Utah https://utahtech.edu 17
Highland Community College Highland Kansas https://highlandcc.edu 17
Coffeyville Community College Coffeyville Kansas https://www.coffeyville.edu 16
Minnesota North College - Vermilion Ely Minnesota https://minnesotanorth.edu/campuses/vermilion 16
Flint Hills Technical College Emporia Kansas https://www.fhtc.edu 14
University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Hope Arkansas https://www.uaht.edu 12
Western Dakota Technical College Rapid City South Dakota https://www.wdt.edu 11
Riverside County Office of Education-School of Career Education Riverside California https://riversidesce.org 10
Red River Technology Center Duncan Oklahoma https://www.rrtc.edu 10
Mt. Diablo Adult Education-Mt. Diablo USD Concord California https://mdae.mdusd.org 9
Mount Wachusett Community College Gardner Massachusetts https://mwcc.edu 8
Massachusetts Bay Community College Wellesley Hills Massachusetts https://www.massbay.edu 8
Pierce College District Lakewood Washington https://www.pierce.ctc.edu 7
Riverland Community College Austin Minnesota https://www.riverland.edu 7
Neosho County Community College Chanute Kansas https://www.neosho.edu 6
Vantage Career Center Van Wert Ohio https://www.vantagecareercenter.com 6
Stanly Community College Albemarle North Carolina https://www.stanly.edu 5
Tulsa Community College Tulsa Oklahoma https://www.tulsacc.edu 5
Pine Technical & Community College Pine City Minnesota https://pine.edu 5
Quinsigamond Community College Worcester Massachusetts https://www.qcc.edu 5
Pike County Joint Vocational School District Piketon Ohio https://www.pikectc.org 5
Monroe Community College Rochester New York https://www.monroecc.edu 5
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester Minnesota https://www.rctc.edu 4
Tacoma Community College Tacoma Washington https://www.tacomacc.edu 4
Union County College Cranford New Jersey https://www.ucc.edu 4
Universal Technology College of Puerto Rico Aguadilla Puerto Rico https://www.unitecpr.edu/wordpress 4
Cloud County Community College Concordia Kansas https://www.cloud.edu 3
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport Pennsylvania https://www.pct.edu 3
Quincy College Quincy Massachusetts https://www.quincycollege.edu 2
Minnesota North College - Mesabi Range Virginia Minnesota https://minnesotanorth.edu/campuses/mesabi-range-virginia 2
Anna Maria College Paxton Massachusetts https://annamaria.edu 2
Centralia College Centralia Washington https://www.centralia.edu 1
Bristol Community College Fall River Massachusetts https://www.bristolcc.edu 1
Lamar Community College Lamar Colorado https://lamarcc.edu 1
Independence Community College Independence Kansas https://www.indycc.edu 1
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Hybrid & Online EMT Programs

While the basics of an EMT training program can be completed online, a practical portion of the certification test requires evaluation in person. To complete the NREMT certification exam, students must first pass the psychomotor portion of the test.

In traditional classroom courses, these tests are administered throughout the training sessions and ultimately approved by the course instructor. Therefore, online courses generally require that students appear in person for practical instruction before they are able to complete the course.

PERCOM Online

PERCOM Online is a CAAHEP-accredited institution that allows students to complete all their classroom EMT work online. After passing the final exam for the EMT online courses, students are eligible to attend a three-day skills event in person, which consists of the hands-on training necessary to sit for the certification exam. The flexibility of PERCOM's program is such that students can take the online course at their own pace and register for the skills portion when ready.

Applicants to the program must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, a valid government-issued identification card, and must not have anything in their personal criminal background which would prevent them to work as medical professionals.

  • Location: Abilene, TX
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Six months
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,000

EMTS Academy

Although EMTS academy is located in Texas, its online EMT courses are available to students across the country. Upon the successful completion of the online portion of the course, students will have to make arrangements to travel to Round Rock, Texas, in order to complete six skill sessions of eight hours each as well as three clinical shift days.

Topics discussed in the program include EMS services and quality control; interpersonal communications; EMT safety and well-being; and EMT legal issues.

  • Location: Round Rock, TX
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Varies
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,799

UCLA Center for Prehospital Care EMT Program

At UCLA, interested students have the option to take a traditional classroom course or an online/classroom hybrid track. The hybrid courses consist of 10 online sessions, self-paced interactive assignments, and an additional eight sessions of hands-on skills training. These hands-on pieces of training are required in order to meet certification requirements.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Accelerated EMT Program (four weeks); Online EMT Program (ten weeks)
  • Estimated Tuition: Course fee ($1,595); required materials ($349)

Oregon Institute of Technology

The EMT program at OIT partners with Oregon Health and Sciences University so students can get the highest quality of teaching directly from professionals at a top medical school. Students in this program will receive typical EMT training as well as one-of-a-kind education in the OHSU cadaver lab.

This program utilized a hybrid learning format with some courses offered online accompanied by hands-on lab and rotations with local EMS teams. Many students who complete this program go on to complete the paramedic program or even the bachelor’s of science in emergency medical services management.

  • Location: Klamath Falls, OR
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU); Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two academic quarter terms
  • Estimated Tuition: $12,686.70 total

Core & Elective Courses in EMT Programs

EMT training aims to give students a basic understanding of the life-saving skills necessary to work in prehospital medicine. Because EMTs are expected to be able to assess and transport patients to more substantial medical care, EMT training cannot and should not cover every possible illness, injury, or medical procedure.

The national EMT basic curriculum was developed in conjunction with the United States Department of Transportation as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A number of paramedics, EMTs, nurses, and physicians collaborated on the standard curriculum, including representatives from the American Heart Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The EMT-Basic National Standard Curriculum is available online.

Included in the standard curriculum are courses such as:

  • Introduction to emergency medical care

  • The human body

  • Lifting and moving

  • A focused history and physical exam: trauma

  • Bleeding and shock

  • Respiratory emergencies

  • Obstetrics

  • Ambulance operations

This is not a complete list but gives an overview of what courses to expect in an EMT-Basic training course. It is also good to note that the courses are divided into the categories of:

  • Preparatory

  • Airway

  • Medical

  • Patient assessment

  • Trauma

  • Infants and children

  • Operations

EMT courses are generally relatively short as compared to other medical training courses. Because of this, electives are rarely an option. While there are no specializations within the EMT-Basic certification track, students who excel may wish to continue to a more advanced track, including paramedic or eventually physician's assistant, registered nurse, or medical doctor. Of course, the curriculums for those careers are much more involved.

EMT Program & School Accreditation

EMT programs are accredited through a two-step process with the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Programs that wish to become accredited must submit an application and Letter of Review (LoR) for the program for which they are seeking accreditation to the CoAEMSP. Upon analysis and approval, the school must complete a self-study, followed by a site visit. Details of the complete accreditation process are available on the CoAEMSP website.

Once under the LoR through the CoAEMSP, programs can then pursue CAAHEP accreditation. This involves more site visits and a board review. Accreditation is available to both traditional and online emergency medical training programs.

It should be noted that paramedic programs must have CAAHEP accreditation in order for graduates to be eligible to sit for the NREMT certification. It is not required for EMT programs. Some schools that offer both EMT and paramedic training may have one or both of those programs accredited.

Although CoAEMSP LoR status and CAAHEP accreditation are marks of a reputable EMT program, state agencies may also approve EMT certification courses. In fact, to take the national certification exam, students need only to have completed a state-approved course. There is no requirement for national accreditation. The following, although not a complete list, is representative of the type of agency that would approve an EMT program and maintain an EMT certification database:

Although most programs that are accredited by a national agency will also be state-approved, it is worth checking before enrolling in an EMT course.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for EMTs across the country is good. Over the next ten years, the demand for EMTs and paramedics is expected to grow by 5 percent between 2022 and 2032, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes as “faster than average” (BLS 2022). This projected growth will add 14,600 new jobs by 2032.

As with many healthcare occupations, demand for EMTs is expected to continue to climb as the population in the U.S. continues to age and therefore needs more medical care. It is important to note that the BLS tracks statistics for EMTs and paramedics together, despite the fact that the career paths and training requirements are quite different.

EMTs are often hired by ambulance companies, though many also work for fire departments or directly for hospital emergency rooms.

Career Facts EMT
Related CareersRespiratory Therapist, Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse
Common Job TitlesEmergency Medical Technician (EMT), Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT, B), EMT Intermediate, EMT/Dispatchers, EMT/Driver, First Responder, Paramedic
Technology & EquipmentDefibrillators, Heart And Blood Pressure Monitors, Ventilators, Sphygmomanometers, Nebulizers, Glucose Meters
Sourced from BLS, May 2022

Licensing & Certification of EMTs

In the field of emergency medicine, an EMT certification is not simply a way to make yourself more attractive to employers. Emergency medical technician certification is required in order to obtain work as an EMT. Students may obtain nationally recognized certification through the NREMT or may instead choose to go through the state or local certification process. The certification requirements vary by state, so students should check with their EMT instructors or their local government agencies to determine what is required in their state.

The NREMT offers four levels of certification for emergency medical personnel. They are emergency medical responders (EMR), EMTs, advanced EMTs (AEMT), and paramedics. Eligibility requirements for the EMT certification are:

  • Complete a state-approved EMT course that meets or exceeds the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards for the Emergency Medical Technician
  • Candidates for the EMT certification must sit for their exam within two years of the EMT training course
  • Have a current CPR and Basic Life Support certification for healthcare providers
  • Pay $98 application fee
  • Pass the EMT exam

The exam includes both a computer-based multiple-choice exam and a psychomotor exam.

The computer-based exam, known as the cognitive test, consists of 70-120 multiple choice questions and must be completed in two hours. The psychomotor portion of the exam is conducted throughout approved EMT courses and evaluates candidates’ competency in performing eight emergency medical procedures, including fracture immobilization, patient assessment, ventilation, and more. The instructor sends results to NREMT as the final step of certification.

In order to work in emergency medical services, EMTs must also hold state certification. These requirements can vary. For example, in Texas, candidates for an EMT certification must:

  • Complete a Texas Department of State Health Services approved EMS course
  • Be 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Submit an application and pay the application fee
  • Pass the NREMT exam
  • Complete a background check, including fingerprinting

EMTs must also maintain their certification both at the state level and with NREMT by completing continuing education courses throughout their careers. The NREMT maintains a database of certified individuals, and employers will check to ensure applicants have completed their certification.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson Writer

With her passion for uncovering the latest innovations and trends, Kimmy Gustafson has provided valuable insights and has interviewed experts to provide readers with the latest information in the rapidly evolving field of medical technology since 2019. Kimmy has been a freelance writer for more than a decade, writing hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics such as startups, nonprofits, healthcare, kiteboarding, the outdoors, and higher education. She is passionate about seeing the world and has traveled to over 27 countries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. When not working she can be found outdoors, parenting, kiteboarding, or cooking.