EMT Recertification Requirements: Info for Current EMTs

Most states require EMTs to get recertified, typically every two years after their original licensure, according to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). There are six levels of EMT recertification in which continuing education courses or exams are necessary for successful recertification.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Vehicles (NREMT) has specific policies regarding recertification at the Emergency Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced EMT and Paramedic levels. The requirements for recertification differ by level but typically include continuing education training and passing an exam.

Recertification Requirements

Recertification is necessary for current EMTs because the skills required for this line of work often change. Recertification forms can be found on the NREMT website. Individuals at any of the six emergency responder levels typically must pursue continuing education hours, though a few of the levels allow responders to skip the courses and take an exam in order to demonstrate their knowledge of their profession. The required number of continuing education hours varies by level, and refresher courses cover a variety of topics related to emergency health. Most levels have several paths to recertification but, starting March 2019, all EMTs will need to follow the National Continued Competency Program (NCCP) pathway.

Emergency Medical Responder Recertification

Emergency medical responders can be recertified if they currently work within an EMT or healthcare facility, complete 12 hours of continuing education and pass both a cognitive and psychomotor exam. Those whose EMR licenses have lapsed must take an educational course approved by the state before they can become recertified. Applicants must be familiar with topics such as:

  • Airway management
  • Patient assessment
  • Circulation
  • Illness
  • Childbirth
  • Injury

A second option, the NCCP model, allows EMRs to complete three components (national, state/local and individual) of continuing education for a total of 16 hours, though not all states currently use this model. The national component contains half of these hours, and the remaining 8 hours are split evenly between the state/local and individual components. Topics in the national component include medical emergencies, trauma, cardiovascular care and airway/respiration care.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Recertification

EMT recertification involves either taking an exam or completing 72 hours of continuing education. EMTs choosing the continuing education option must complete a 24-hour refresher class plus 48 hours of additional continuing education. This includes topics similar to emergency medical responder courses, as well as college-level courses in various sciences, including:

  • Anatomy
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry

The NCCP option for this level totals 40 hours. For the national level, EMTs must complete 20 hours of refresher courses, 10 hours for the state/local component and 10 hours for the individual one. The content of the state or local portion will be determined by an EMS agency or office of that particular state. The national component includes the same topics as the EMR level, as well as additional topics, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Neurological emergencies
  • Ambulance safety
  • Ventilation

Advanced EMT (AEMT) Recertification

Advanced EMTs have the option of taking an exam or completing 72 hours of continuing education for recertification. Continuing education courses are made up of a 36-hour refresher course and 36 hours in additional EMS-related education. Topics of study include:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Trauma
  • Obstetrics
  • Pediatrics

This level's NCCP recertification option requires 50 hours of refresher courses. EMTs must complete 25 hours in the national component and 12.5 hours in both the state/local and individual components. The AEMT recertification has the same components as that of the EMT level, and the national component's course topics are the same.

Paramedic Recertification

This recertification requires the completion of continuing education hours and active employment. The Continuing education requirement is 72 hours; it consists of a 48-hour refresher course, approved by either the state or the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS), as well as 24 hours of continuing medical education. Paramedics also have the option of completing an exam in lieu of documenting continuing education hours. Some of the topics that may be covered in refresher courses include:

  • Community paramedicine
  • Psychiatric emergencies
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Domestic violence
  • Diabetes
  • Treating burn victims
  • Flight physiology

Those who opt to take the NCCP recertification route must log 60 continuing education hours; the national component requires 30 hours while the state/local and individual components each require 15. The national component covers the same topics as that of the previous two levels, as well as some additional topics, including capnography and congestive heart failure.

The recertification requirements for EMTs vary by level. They require current EMTs to update their skills and give them the opportunity to expand their knowledge in a variety of fields related to medical care provision.

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