Emergency Medical Technician Training in Southern California

Jul 25, 2019

Southern California has nearly 20 schools that offer EMT training programs. Learn about the certificate and degree programs, tuition info, and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

Several 2-year colleges in the southern California region offer educational programs that prepare the aspiring emergency medical technician. The State of California recognizes three levels of training in the emergency medical services (EMS) field: EMT-Basic (sometimes called EMT-1), EMT-Advanced, and EMT-Paramedic. The programs may or may not prepare students to take certification exams. Instruction is offered through lectures and laboratory experiences. Students of these types of programs can pursue certificates or associate's degrees that include:

  • EMT-1 (Basic) Certificate
  • EMT-Paramedic Certificate
  • EMS - Paramedic Certificate
  • Paramedical Technician Degree
  • Paramedic Studies Degree
  • Emergency Medical Services Degree

Allan Hancock College

Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria offers a few options to students seeking EMT training in Southern California. The EMT-1 (Basic) certificate of accomplishment is earned following the completion of 5.5 credit hours of coursework. The EMS academy certificate of accomplishment trains students at the EMT-Advanced level; students enrolled in the program will complete eight credit hours of coursework. The EMS-Paramedic training program consists of 29 credit hours of classes; graduates of the program will be awarded a certificate of achievement. Students may choose to earn an Associate in Science (A.S.) and a certificate in EMS by completing 29.5 credit hours of coursework, 17.5 of which are major courses and include EMT training at the basic and advanced levels. Additional related programs offered by the college include advanced cardiac life support, first responder, and EMT-1 refresher certificate programs. Information on the college's website does not indicate that completion of a program earns a student eligibility to take certification exams.

East Los Angeles College

Students attending East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park may choose to enroll in the EMT-1 course. The eight-credit hour course requires that students hold certification from the American Heart Association for basic life support for the healthcare provider and provide immunization records to the course instructor by the first examination. Completion of the course earns a student eligibility to take the NREMT exam at the EMT-Basic level.

El Camino Community College

Torrance-based El Camino Community College offers a two-part EMT course, a paramedic certificate of achievement, and an A.S., Paramedical Technician degree. The EMT course consists of a three-credit-hour lecture class and a one-credit hour lab class; both classes are to be taken concurrently and completed in one semester. Following the completion of both parts of the EMT course, students are eligible to be certified as EMT-1 professionals. The paramedical technician certificate program requires the completion of 33 credit hours of coursework; the core curriculum required by the paramedic certificate program is identical to that mandated by the A.S., Paramedical Technician degree program. Additionally, degree-seeking students must complete general education and elective coursework to earn a total of 60 credit hours. Both paramedic options are open exclusively to currently certified EMT-1 personnel who have a minimum of one year experience in the field; graduates of the programs are eligible to take the certification exam at the paramedic level.

Mt. San Antonio College

Located in Walnut, Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) offers an EMT-Basic course completion certificate, an EMT-Paramedic certificate, and an A.S., EMS degree. The EMT-Basic program takes 19 weeks to complete and is open to individuals over the age of 18 years who are safely able to work in medical environments and are free from criminal convictions. The paramedic program is offered in the fall and spring semesters and requires that applicants be currently certified EMT-Basic personnel with at least 1,200 hours of experience in pre-hospital care. The 42 credit hours earned in completion of the certificate program curriculum may also be applied towards the EMS degree program. Mt. SAC boasts a 100% first-time pass rate for students taking the written certification exam at the paramedic level over the last few years; the average first-time pass rate for the history of the paramedic program has been more than 99%.

Palomar College

Based out of San Marcos, Palomar College offers an EMT-Basic certificate of proficiency, a paramedic training certificate of achievement, and an Associate in Arts, Paramedic Training degree. The EMT-Basic certificate program consists of three courses worth a total of 10.5 credit hours. The paramedic training program is only available to currently certified EMT-Basic personnel who have at least one year of experience in the field. The paramedic programs have the same core curriculum, which consists of 44 credit hours of EMS training. A score of 80% or better must be achieved in all core classes. Students pursuing a degree in paramedic training will complete a total of 60 credit hours in classes, including general education and elective courses. All programs lead to certification eligibility.

Saddleback College

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo offers students a choice between an EMT occupational skills award and a paramedic certificate. The EMT course is divided into two parts: a lecture element and a lab element. After enrolling in the concurrent classes, students must complete a physical exam and background check within the first three weeks of class. The paramedic program accepts applications only from certified EMTs with one year of experience in an emergency vehicle environment. Although a resume and letters of recommendation are not required, both are recommended to increase an applicant's chances of acceptance into the program. Students who complete the EMT program are eligible to take the NREMT certification exam at the basic level; the school's website does not indicate that graduates of the paramedic program earn testing eligibility.

Santa Rosa Junior College

Based out of Santa Rosa, this junior college offers an EMT-1 skills certificate, an EMT-Paramedic certificate of achievement, and an A.S., EMT-Paramedic degree. The seven-credit hour EMT-1 program includes the completion of the emergency care for first responders course as a prerequisite. The paramedic certificate program requires the completion of 39.3 credit hours of classes and is only open to currently certified basic-level EMTs. Additional admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED, current CPR certification, a background check, immunization records, and a health exam. Degree-seeking students must complete a total of 46 credit hours of coursework to earn the A.S. as an EMT-Paramedic, including general education curriculum. The paramedic degree is available exclusively to EMTs. All programs prepare students to take the NREMT certification exam at the appropriate level.

Southwestern College

Located in Chula Vista, Southwestern College offers a few options to students seeking EMT and/or paramedic training. The EMT-Basic certificate of completion program can be completed in one semester once prerequisite classes have been taken (Emergency Medical Responder and Health Provider CPR). Students must pass all EMT courses with 80% or better to qualify for the NREMT certification exam. The paramedic program leads to one of two awards: a certificate of achievement or an Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic. The core curriculum required by both programs consists of 47 credit hours of field-related coursework, including the EMT-Basic classes. Currently, certified EMTs and paramedics interested in earning a degree may be credited for previous training.

Ventura College

Based out of the city by the same name, Ventura College offers an EMT course, an EMS: Paramedic Studies certificate of achievement, and an A.S., EMS: Paramedic Studies degree. The eight-credit hour EMT course prepares students to sit for the NREMT certification exam at the basic level. Prerequisites for entry to the course include a background check, drug/alcohol screening, physical exam, minimum age of 18 by mid-term, and CPR certification at a professional level. Students must also be free of visible tattoos, long or acrylic nails, and piercings (single ear piercings excepted). Students accepted into the paramedic training program at Ventura College must complete 50-53 credit hours of core curriculum to earn the certificate of achievement; degree-seeking students must complete additional general education requirements. Applicants to the paramedic program must be certified at the EMT-Basic level and have at least six months' experience in the field.

Victor Valley College

Two levels of training and three awards relating to the field of EMS are offered by Victor Valley College in Victorville. The EMT-1 (ambulance) certificate is awarded following the completion of one course worth nine credit hours that prepares students to serve in entry-level positions. The college's paramedic certificate and degree programs' curricula are identical. Students must complete 39.5 credit hours of paramedic core coursework to earn a certificate as a paramedic; individuals working towards an A.S., Paramedic must additionally meet minimum general education and elective requirements. The paramedic academy at Victor Valley College is exclusively open to currently certified EMTs and requires one year to complete the core curriculum. The college does not specify that completion of the EMT certificate earns a student eligibility to take the NREMT exam; completion of the paramedic program does result in testing eligibility.

Career Requirements

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics must, after completing an approved training program, take the certification exams administered by the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT) in order to work in this state. EMTs at the advanced level will take a state-developed exam administered by the school in which they trained or a local EMS agency. Basic and advanced EMTs are certified on a local scale and paramedics are licensed by the state; certifications and licensing are valid state-wide for all levels. Below are listed the ten largest schools in the state that offer EMT training programs.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting EMT Certificate and/or Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
Allan Hancock College Public, two-year; small city EMT-1 (Basic) certificate of accomplishment,
EMS academy certificate of accomplishment,
EMS-Paramedic certificate of achievement,
A.S./certificate in EMS
$1,352 in-state; $6,784 out-of-state*
East Los Angeles College Public, two-year; small city EMT-1 (Basic) course $1,220 in-state; $7,746 out-of-state*
El Camino Community College District Public, two-year; large suburb EMT-1 course,
Paramedical technician certificate of achievement,
A.S., Paramedical Technician
$1,144 in-state; $6,520 out-of-state*
Mt. San Antonio College Public, two-year; large suburb EMT-Basic course completion certificate,
EMT-Paramedic certificate,
A.S., EMS degree
$1,350 in-state; $9,414 out-of-state*
Palomar College Public, two-year; small city EMT-Basic certificate of proficiency,
Paramedic training certificate of achievement,
Associate in Arts/Science, Paramedic Training
$1,338 in-state; $8,702 out-of-state*
Saddleback College Public, two-year; large suburb EMT occupational skills award,
Paramedic certificate
$1,328 in-state; $9,392 out-of-state*
Santa Rosa Junior College Public, two-year; mid-sized city EMT-1 skills certificate,
EMT-Paramedic certificate of achievement,
A.S., EMT-Paramedic
$1,328 in-state; $8,174 out-of-state*
Southwestern College Public, two-year; large suburb EMT-Basic certificate of completion,
Emergency medical technology and paramedic certificate of achievement,
A.S., Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic
$1,338 in-state; $6,602 out-of-state*
Ventura College Public, two-year; mid-sized city EMT course,
EMS: paramedic studies certificate of achievement,
A.S., EMS: Paramedic Studies
$1,388 in-state; $7,050 out-of-state*
Victor Valley College Public, two-year; mid-sized city EMT-1 (ambulance) certificate,
Paramedic certificate,
A.S., Paramedic
$1,126 in-state; $6,214 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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