Overview of Online EMT Certification programs
Individuals looking to pursue a career as an emergency medical technician (EMT) will need to start their journey by entering into a training program. Because a crucial part of the EMT certification process involves a hands-on skills training session, there are no EMT programs available in a fully online format. There are, however, many schools (including several in Pennsylvania) that offer hybrid programs, where students complete coursework online before coming to campus for the in-person component.
Applicants for an online EMT training program usually need to have a high school diploma. Completing a program is the first step towards earning official EMT certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). In addition to a hybrid training course, candidates must also hold a current CPR-BLS for 'Healthcare Provider' (or equivalent) certification and take a pair of exams that focus on cognitive and psychomotor skills.
Pennsylvania Online EMT Certification Programs
Students living in Pennsylvania have a selection of hybrid EMT training programs that cover the exact same content as their on-campus counterparts. These programs take about 3-5 months to complete on average. The following are among the offerings in the state.
Harrisburg Area Community College
HACC makes use of its innovative Desire2Learn (D2L) online platform that allows students to complete the school's EMT Program. The D2L platform encourages participation in the form of virtual discussions and interactive assignments that are supplemented by in-classroom lab sessions where students can practice psychomotor skills and prepare for the NREMT exams.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
IUP offers a convenient and flexible hybrid EMT program that includes weekend in-person sessions to ease scheduling conflicts for students with full-time jobs. Candidates with an eye towards further education can transfer credits learned in this program toward degree programs in IUP's Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Science.
Butler County Community College
The hybrid EMT program at BCCC provides candidates with a well-rounded education through 184 hours of instruction that cover all aspects of the EMT profession. The course contains specific NREMT test preparation and follows the National Education Standard for the emergency medical technician field.
Job Prospects for Graduates from an EMT Certification Program
After completing a hybrid EMT program, candidates should feel prepared to sit for the NREMT exam which, if passed, grants EMT certification and permits individuals to begin their EMT career. Graduates can also look into Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) training programs, which require about 400 hours of instruction and cover more complicated skills such as administering IV fluids, airway devices, and certain medications. EMTs looking for further advancement can pursue a career as a paramedic. In addition to EMT certification, aspiring paramedics must complete another training program, which is significantly more intensive than EMT programs and can lead to an associate's or bachelor's degree.
EMTs and paramedics are in high demand in Pennsylvania, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The state employed 12,730 professionals as of 2018, ranking it 4th in the entire country. This demand will only continue to grow, as the BLS predicts that job opportunities will grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, a development that would lead to 18,700 new jobs. The BLS cites an aging population as one of the main factors for this increase and notes that growth in the middle-aged and elderly populations should create a corresponding increase in EMT jobs.
Hybrid EMT training programs allow students to take a critical step towards EMT certification while enjoying the advantage of online learning. Several schools in Pennsylvania offer such programs and help candidates prepare for careers as EMTs and paramedics.