Schools for Aspiring Ambulance Drivers: How to Choose
Ambulance drivers are responsible for transporting patients from an emergency situation to a hospital or other health facility. They must have the requisite training to perform emergency medical procedures as part of the emergency medical team. Certificate programs at the emergency medical technician (EMT)-basic level, available at schools across the U.S., typically qualify students for ambulance driver positions.
How to Select an Ambulance Driver School
Aspiring ambulance drivers can enroll in training programs at community colleges or 4-year colleges and universities.
Summary of Important Considerations
- State regulations
- Ambulance driving courses offered
- Continuing education options
- Program prerequisites
Regulations regarding the certification and licensure of EMT professionals and ambulance drivers vary between states, so students are encouraged to review their individual state's requirements. Completion of a program that qualifies students for certification with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is advantageous in most states, as well as at the professional level.
Ambulance Driving Courses Offered
Students are encouraged to enroll in EMT-basic certificate programs that include classes in ambulance driver instruction, such as an emergency vehicle operation course (EVOC). Completion of an EVOC is advantageous when seeking employment and could be mandatory in some cases. Schools in possession of or with access to an ambulance for training purposes would be preferable for prospective ambulance drivers.
Continuing Education Options
EMT certification is available at multiple levels, including EMT-intermediate and paramedic, based on the intensity and duration of education and training. While these higher levels of EMT training lead to more advanced knowledge, responsibility and rate of pay, they are generally unnecessary for aspiring ambulance drivers. EVOCs and additional ambulance training are typically covered at the EMT-basic level.
In some cases, students must already hold some emergency medical credentials in order to enroll in EMT-basic certificate programs, such as CPR registration or certification as a first responder, which is an entry-level emergency medical services position. Aspiring ambulance drivers without prior experience are encouraged to enroll in programs in which the EMT-basic curriculum is designed for students without any medical background.
Ambulance Driver Program Overview
Depending on specific state requirements, certificate programs for ambulance drivers may be completed in as little as one semester, with only a few courses. Certificate programs for prospective ambulance drivers at the EMT-basic level prepare students for state and national certification examinations. Students gain practical experience by working with or observing hospital staff and EMTs through clinical and field experiences. Coursework typically covers:
- Stabilization and transport of injured patients
- Airway management
- Infant care
- Head injuries
- Emergency vehicle operation
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