How Long Does It Take to Become an EMT?

If you believe your life’s purpose is to help others and save lives, you should consider becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT). If this is the first time you’ve heard about this career, dig a little deeper into what the difference is between an EMT and a paramedic so you understand what growth opportunities may be available and how much time needs to be invested in training for each position.

This is an important concern to address before signing up for any EMT training program so that you know what you’re getting into beforehand. You can only become an EMT or paramedic when you can demonstrate that you have the relevant skills and certifications.

These certificates are provided by the National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), a nonprofit agency that assesses emergency services professionals. To get an EMT certification, you have to pass an exam administered by the NREMT.  

It’s important to learn what the EMT certification exam is designed to do and what you need to do to prepare for it. Fortunately, reputable resources like those from The Paramedic Coach can assist you in your test prep for EMT exams. 

How to Become an EMT

An EMT is a medical professional who responds to medical emergencies and provides immediate care to critically ill or injured patients before they’re transported to the hospital. Therefore, an essential quality of an EMT is the ability to remain calm in chaotic and stressful situations. Secondly, you should have a natural desire to help others and save lives.

These traits will help you excel in your career as an EMT and feel a great sense of accomplishment for every situation you encounter in the line of duty. Aside from these qualities, you need to undertake the necessary training to acquire the required skills and knowledge to deliver emergency medical services (EMS).

Your EMT training program must be offered by an NREMT-recognized institution. Because NREMT is the organization that issues certificates to candidates who successfully pass their exam, they also want to make sure the training provided meets their standards to graduate qualified technicians.

For example, many EMT students in Illinois and California study at the National University, which offers a comprehensive EMT certificate course. This university has campuses in multiple locations throughout the two states. Furthermore, the EMS/EMT program offered at the National University is fully accredited. 

Here are the five main steps you have to take to become a certified EMT:

  • Ensure you meet all the prerequisites of an EMT education program.
  • Complete the basic EMT training course at an accredited EMT school.
  • Register, complete, and pass an NREMT exam.
  • Complete a Live Scan of biometrics and background check.
  • Submit your exam results and other relevant documents to the NREMT for certification.

Timeline to Become an EMT

The training program for the basic level of EMT takes approximately 120 hours, which is typically completed over six to twelve months. Once you’re finished with training, you have to take the NREMT exam to prove that you have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to become a certified EMT.

If you choose to pursue an advanced EMT program or a paramedic program, your training will take longer than three months (or one semester) because it involves advanced training and certifications. Lastly, how long your journey of becoming an EMT takes will depend on whether you enroll full-time or part-time and the training program you choose to attend.

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