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E M T Certificate Programs

Research EMT certificate programs. Discover the typical courses, employment outlook, salary trends and certification requirements for those who wish to enter this field.

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Essential Information

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are often the first responders to medical crises. The skills that students may obtain in EMT-Basic certificate programs allow them to administer critical first aid and life support to ill or injured patients.

These programs are often completed in three weeks to four months, and students can learn basic life support, first aid, wound care, and emergency rescue procedures. These programs combine classroom education with clinical training and typically require students to complete a minimum number of hours training in real-life, on-the-job settings. All EMTs must obtain certification to gain employment in the field.

Educational Prerequisites

Students who enter EMT certificate programs need to meet basic educational requirements, such as having a high school education on equivalent and in some cases, a current CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification. Programs may require a minimum grade point average, the completion of some science-related courses or previous volunteer experience as well. All prospective students must also be at least 18 years of age in order to enter a certificate program.

Course Topics

EMT certificate programs cover basic body and emergency related topics. Students also learn how to use common tools of the job. Common course topics include these:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Trauma assessment
  • Anatomy
  • Pharmacology

In addition to coursework, students learn common skills such as these:

  • Performing CPR
  • Administering medicine
  • Providing wound care
  • Establishing respiratory air flow
  • Conducting patient interviews
  • Stabilizing and transporting patients
  • Communicating with medical professionals

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Emergency services, fire departments and other government agencies are common employment spots for emergency medical technicians, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS expects an above-average growth rate for EMT and paramedic careers from 2012-2022, with a 23% increase in employment during that span ( An aging population and rotating personnel within the industry will help fuel this job growth.

The BLS states that the mean annual salary for EMTs of all levels, including paramedics, was $34,370 in 2012. The bottom-paid ten percent made $20,180 or less annually, which is less than $10.00 per hour. However, EMTs in the top-paid ten percent made $53,550 or more per annum. Heavily populated metropolitan areas employ more EMTs than other locations. Washington D.C., Alaska, and the state of Washington paid their EMTs some of the best average salaries in the United States in 2012.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Students who complete an EMT certificate program must obtain certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, or NREMT ( The NREMT administers an exam in order to obtain certification required for gaining employment. Students who pass the exam must complete continuing education coursework as part of a recertification process once a year. EMTs may also need to meet additional state requirements in order to be legally eligible for employment.

EMTs can complete additional emergency services education in order to enhance their education, potential income, and career opportunities. EMTs can become paramedics, the highest level of EMT available, by completing a paramedic training program and passing additional certification. Some EMTs may also attempt to enter other healthcare-related careers, such as nursing. Healthcare careers are among the most booming industries throughout the coming decade.

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