EMTs are the first responders to provide medical care to the sick and injured during an emergency crisis. If you wish to have a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), you should take into account the commitment, dedication and time factor needed to be an EMT. It can be a full-time job that can take up to several months of rigorous and intense training. So, when determining how long does it take to become an EMT, you must take into account the EMT course duration, the length of different EMT programs, and the time taken for obtaining an EMT license.
How Long does it Take to Get EMT Certified?
There is no universal time duration to get certified as an EMT. An EMT course length varies with country, state, community colleges, and schools. Some states have their own regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies which differ from one to another. In the United States, obtaining an EMT Certification takes a minimum of three weeks to a maximum of two to four years depending upon your professional goals, national standards, and state requirements.
In order to become an EMT certified, the candidate must meet specific education and other relevant criteria. Further, the candidate must complete the necessary coursework and different level of the training program within the defined time. The time that each level takes depends on several factors like student dedication, class schedule and time taken for completing the licensing examinations. On successful completion of the training program, the candidate can appear for the certification tests and apply for the certification documents through an online portal to become an EMT certified.
EMT Course Duration
The training and classes duration also depends upon the colleges, schools, and universities offering EMT courses. Some institutes may provide a certificate course of 3-6 months while some may offer a two or four-year associate or bachelor’s degree program. The number of hours is divided among class, lab, and field training that must be necessarily obtained. It depends upon the school or institute on how they structure the course to achieve the defined hours.
Moreover, it also depends upon the course level you select. Generally, there are three levels of EMT certification course: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT Paramedic. Each program requires its own set of training, lectures, and duration. For example, an EMT-Basic course requires 2 to 3 weeks to complete, having a class of minimum 8 to 10 hours a day, while an EMT Paramedic course may take two years to earn an associate degree.
The EMT-Basic has the shortest course duration as compared to the Intermediate and Paramedic. You need to cover all the theory and practical learning part in such a short time. On the other hand, a Paramedic course can take thousands of hours for completion. You will be attending two years of classes and clinical training to finally become an EMT Paramedic certified.
Duration of Different EMT Programs
Each EMT program level has its own pace. Generally, the basic level takes a shorter period to complete as compared to the advanced level of EMT. In many instances, the students are also required to complete the basic level to qualify for the advanced level of the EMT program.
The course duration for an EMT-Basic generally takes up to 3-11 weeks consisting of 120-150 credit hours. The basic level EMT program is not as challenging as the Intermediate and Paramedic programs. The program includes coursework and clinical training essential to become a professional EMT.
EMT Intermediate program requires the student to attend another 300-350 credit hours of coursework and training. An EMT Intermediate takes on more responsibilities in comparison to the Basic level training. The course includes advanced learning in performing medical procedures on patients like conducting IV treatment, endotracheal intubations, etc.
3. EMT Paramedic
EMT Paramedic is the highest level of EMT certification program. It generally takes two years of excessive training, both classroom and clinical training at hospitals and fire departments. The coursework includes a variety of subjects like anatomy, physiology, cardiology, pharmacology, and other advanced medical treatments. The program requires 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training which leads to an associate or bachelor’s degree upon completion.
Getting EMT License
After completing different levels of EMT training course, the candidate may apply for the state’s licensing examination or the National Registry examination. It must be noted that the candidate must be an EMT certified before applying for an EMT licensure. Many states prefer the EMT certification to be obtained through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) to qualify for the license. Further, the examination conducted by the NREMT requires the candidate to pass both cognitive and psychomotor exam.
The Cognitive exam is a computerized adaptive test which covers entire coursework taught in class during the training program. The candidate is given six opportunities to pass the exam. If not successful in the first attempt, the candidate may reapply within 15 days for the same. On the passing of the cognitive exam, the candidate may appear for the psychomotor exam. The exam tests the practical leaning of the candidate regarding medical procedures before getting an EMT certification.
The licensing procedure also varies with the state. Many states conduct background checks and may not give license to a candidate with a criminal record. Moreover, every two or three years EMTs are required to renew their licensure through continuing education.
You need to understand the amount of time and dedication required before applying for an EMT program. Ask yourself how long will it take for you to become an EMT professional and whether you can devote the amount of time required to complete the courses. Based on your career goals and priorities, you can opt for shorter or longer duration courses available.