Persons desiring to complete the education necessary to work as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic in Washington State have limited schools from which they may choose. Programs in the field range from individual courses at the EMT-Basic level to bachelor's degrees in paramedicine. Training in emergency medical services compounds: students must complete basic training before taking advanced or paramedic classes, although some programs include all levels of training. Additionally, all EMT and paramedic programs include clinical or practicum requirements.
Bates Technical College
Tacoma-based Bates Technical College offers an EMT-Basic course that prepares students to work in entry-level positions within the EMS field. The eight-credit hour course is offered by the school's continuing education division of public safety. Students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, provide a copy of their driver's licenses, and be CPR certified as a health care provider in order to enroll in the class. Additionally, there is a health care provider CPR course.
Central Washington University
Both an EMT-Basic and a Bachelor of Science, Paramedicine degree are offered by Central Washington University in Ellensburg. There are two parts to the EMT-Basic course, a lecture class and a skills lab, totaling 12 credit hours. The degree program requires the completion of 105-106 credit hours of coursework and includes didactic instruction, skills labs, clinical experiences, varying types of internships, and simulation exercises. Applicants to the program must be currently certified EMTs. The college also offers a certification program in paramedicine for non-degree seeking students.
Columbia Basin College
Located in Pasco, Columbia Basin College offers an EMT-Basic short-term certificate program every fall term and every other spring term; the course is worth ten credit hours. The college offers an advanced EMT (AEMT) course on an as-needed basis; there are currently no plans to offer the course in the immediate future. The school also offers three awards relating to paramedic studies: a pre-paramedic short-term certificate, a paramedic one-year certificate, and an Associate in Applied Science in Paramedicine. The awards require the completion of 4, 65-67, and 105-107 credit hours of coursework, respectively. Applicants to the paramedic certificate or A.A.S. programs must be currently certified as EMTs with a minimum of one year of experience.
Seattle Community College - North Campus
Based out of Seattle, this community college offers an EMT-Basic certificate program. The 12-credit hour program consists of one course that may be completed in one quarter. An applicant to the program must be at least 18 years old, possess a driver's license and high school diploma or GED, and be able to pass the required first aid entrance exam.
Spokane Community College
Located in Spokane, this community college offers an EMT-Basic course, an EMT-Paramedic certificate, and an Associate of Applied Science, EMT-Paramedic degree. The basic EMT course is comprised of two parts and includes a lecture class. Before enrolling in the basic EMT course, students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be able to meet the physical demands of a job in the EMS field. All coursework required by the 81-credit hour paramedic certificate program is also included in the curriculum required by the 100-credit hour A.A.S. program. In addition to the admission requirements mandated by the EMT course, paramedic program applicants must be currently certified EMTs at the basic or intermediate level and have at least one year of experience in the field.
Tacoma Community College
In Tacoma, the community college offers two levels of training for individuals interested in working in the EMS industry. The eight-credit hour EMT-Basic certificate requires the completion of one course by the same name. Before enrolling in the course, students must be able to provide a copy of their driver's licenses, meet minimum score requirements on the ACCUPLACER exam, and be CPR certified as a health care provider by the American Heart Association or certified as a professional rescuer by the American Red Cross. There is one paramedic-level award available as well. This A.A.S. program requires 42 credit hours to be earned in related classes and general education courses. The summer session of 2013 will be the last quarter in which application for the paramedic certificate-only program will be accepted; the A.A.S. degree will continue to be offered without change.
Walla Walla Community College
A basic EMT certification course is offered in Walla Walla at the local community college. The ten-credit hour course is open to students at least 18 years or older who hold valid driver's licenses and high school diplomas or GEDs. Upon acceptance into the class, students must pass a background check and provide immunization records. Because space in the EMT class is limited, admittance preference will be given first to those working for an EMS service (paid or volunteer), followed by fire personnel, law enforcement, and other rescue teams.
In order to be licensed to serve as an EMT or paramedic in Washington State, an individual must complete a state-approved training course and successfully pass a certification examination approved by the Department of Health. Most candidates choose to take the exams administered by the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT) upon program completion. Once national certification has been earned, a candidate must apply for and receive a license from the Washington State Department of Health to legally work as an EMT or paramedic.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||EMT Certificate and/or Degree Programs Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Bates Technical College||Public, two-year; mid-sized city|| EMT-Basic course,
Health Care Provider CPR course
|EMT-Basic: $2,106.96, Health Care Provider CPR: $164.61*|
|Central Washington University||Public, four-year; distant town|| EMT-Basic course,
Paramedicine certification program,
|$8,688 in-state; $21,501 out-of-state**|
|Columbia Basin College||Public, four-year, primarily associate's; small city|| EMT-Basic short-term certificate,
Pre-paramedic short-term certificate,
|$4,194 in-state; $6,189 out-of-state**|
|Seattle Community College - North Campus||Public, two-year; large city||EMT-Basic certificate||$1,299.92*|
|Spokane Community College||Public, two-year; mid-sized city|| EMT-Basic course,
|$102.75 per credit (in-state, 1-10 credits), $50.90 per credit (in-state, 11-18 credits); $279.26 per credit (out-of-state, 1-10 credit), $58.08 per credit (out-of-state, 11-18 credits)|
|Tacoma Community College||Public, two-year; mid-sized city|| EMT-Basic certificate,
|$4,194 in-state; $9,354 out-of-state**|
|Walla Walla Community College||Public, two-year; rural||EMT-Basic course||$49.90 per credit hour*|
Sources: *School's Website, **NCES