EMT-Basic Training Programs and Requirements

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)-Basic programs prepare students to become first responders in emergency situations. Coursework covers topics such as assessment and treatment of injuries and use of medical equipment.

Essential Information

The EMT-Basic certification is the first of three levels of certification and training available for emergency medical services personnel. It often is a prerequisite for earning EMT-Intermediate and Paramedic certifications. EMT-Basic training programs are offered by community colleges and emergency medical service providers, such as fire departments. These programs usually take 3-12 weeks (typically 120 hours) and combine classroom learning, physical skills, aptitude enhancement and sometimes hands-on training in emergency settings. EMT-Basic training programs prepare students to take the required EMT-Basic exam through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Prerequisites for the program include meeting the age requirement and having a high school diploma or the equivalent.

EMT Basic Training Program

EMT-Basic training programs teach students the knowledge and skills to provide basic emergency medical assistance to people in need. Students learn to use emergency medical equipment such as suction mounts, neck immobilizers and splints. Common courses or training includes:

  • Emergency responsiveness
  • Trauma scenarios
  • Managing respiratory systems
  • Assessing patients
  • Cardiac emergencies

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) emergency medical services jobs are expected to grow 24% from 2014- 2024 ( An aging population should result in more emergency calls, fueling this growth. Emergency medical technicians earned a mean annual salary of $31,980 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Aspiring EMT-Basics must obtain certification in order to work. All levels of emergency medical services personnel can gain certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The NREMT certification exam for EMT-Basic tests applicants' cognitive and physical abilities. Passing the exam leads to EMT certification for one year. Every year after that, EMTs must complete continuing education courses to maintain certification.

A student who completes an EMT-Basic training program may pursue advanced education in the field. Through a certificate or associate's degree program, students can become eligible for certification at the EMT-Intermediate or paramedic level. Such programs could qualify EMTs to assume greater responsibilities including the operation of more complex equipment and performance of more delicate procedures. Regulation of tasks designated to EMT-Intermediate or Paramedic professionals varies greatly by state.

The EMT-Basic program is a 3 to 12-week program that teaches students how to provide basic emergency medical assistance and prepares students to take the EMT-Basic exam, which is required for EMT certification. Certification is required to work as an EMT in all states and can be acquired through the NREMT.

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