How to Get an EMT Certification

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have one of the most rewarding careers out there–they make a difference in their communities and save lives. Becoming an EMT can open up many doors and opportunities in the emergency medical services (EMS) field, including opening up pathways to work as a paramedic, firefighter, and more.

Whether you already work as an emergency medical responder (EMR) or are just getting started in this industry, the path to becoming an EMT isn’t complicated but it takes focus and dedication. 

EMT certification requirements include completing an accredited course and passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. Only around 73% of test-takers pass this exam on the first try, which is why you must invest in the right test prep materials for your EMT exam.

In this article, we’ll walk through the steps it takes to get your EMT certification, as well as how long it can take to get your EMT certification.

EMT Certification: What You Need to Know

Your EMT certification is more than a class and a test–you have educational requirements beyond the EMT course and need to understand the material in-depth rather than memorize it. Let’s dive into what it takes to become an EMT.

What Education Do I Need?

To begin your EMT certification process, you must be at least eighteen years old, have a high school diploma or educational equivalent (such as a GED), and enroll in and complete an accredited EMT course. These courses take between one hundred to 120 hours, or between three and four months, to complete.

How Do I Select the Best EMT Course?

When choosing an EMT certification program, you must choose a program that is endorsed or accredited by the NREMT, State EMS Office, or Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE). If your program does not have accreditation from any of these three institutions, you may not qualify for EMT licensure, even if you pass the exams.

This is because the NREMT endorse and accredit courses that reflect the current technologies and equipment used by EMTs, enforce hands-on learning, and teach the latest information regarding emergency healthcare. When you opt for a course that isn’t accredited, you risk investing in inaccurate or outdated information.

When selecting the right course, choose one that is taught by an instructor with experience as an EMT or paramedic, offers hands-on training and experience using real EMT equipment, and is accredited.

What Are the Exams?

After you complete your EMT course, you must take the NREMT exam within two years. If you wait longer than two years, you’ll need to retake the course to ensure the information you have is current. 

There are two parts to the exam: cognitive (knowledge) and psychomotor (skills). You have two hours to complete the exam and answer between seventy and 120 questions. 

The exam is a computer-adaptive exam, meaning that the questions change based on your answers. This is why not all test-takers have the same number of questions. If you answer one question correctly, the test will ask you progressively more challenging questions. If you answer a question incorrectly, the computer will adapt and give you slightly easier questions to test the scope of your knowledge.

These questions don’t test you on what you’ve memorized from your class–they test you on how you can apply your knowledge of these concepts in real-life scenarios! This just means you proved that you have the ability to provide safe and effective entry-level advanced emergency medical care.

How Do I Prepare for the Exams?

Many people don’t pass the exams because they don’t take the time outside of the course to study and prepare. Many people also complain that their courses focus too much on reading off of slides and that the medical language is too complicated to follow.

This is where The Paramedic Coach has your back. We’ve developed a comprehensive, extensive Video Vault with more than 480 videos, audio files, and other materials to break down these complex concepts and show you how they work in language that you can understand.

You’ll also have access to an entire community of EMS professionals and students so you can receive advice and feedback throughout your entire career in EMS. The Video Vault offers lifetime access and continues to grow and update with new technologies and practices in the EMS field, so it’s really the only ‘study buddy’ you’ll ever need.

The Bottom Line

In order to become an EMT, you must be eighteen years old or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited or endorsed EMT course, and pass the NREMT exam. Connect with The Paramedic Coach today to jumpstart this exciting new career!

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