EMT Programs

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Educational Requirements


Depending on which state they live in, there are different requirements workers must meet to become an EMT. The first step typically involves obtaining certification from a state-approved EMT school course for medical technicians.


A hopeful must also attend classes for CPR-BLS training to test their life support and resuscitation skills. Next, EMT jobs require the successful completion of both a cognitive exam as well as a psychomotor exam.


The last special requirement to become an EMT involves completing an exam put out by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Also known as NREMT, this exam includes a series of physical assessments that test a worker’s ability to interact with patients and perform the proper techniques to treat them.


State Hourly wage Annual wage
Alabama $16.12 $33,520.00
Alaska $25.52 $53,080.00
Arizona $17.10 $35,560.00
Arkansas $15.56 $32,370.00
California $21.93 $45,620.00
Colorado $18.43 $38,340.00
Connecticut $21.99 $45,740.00
Delaware $19.97 $41,540.00
District of Columbia $24.79 $51,550.00
Florida $17.85 $37,130.00
Georgia $16.96 $35,280.00
Hawaii $27.30 $56,790.00
Idaho $17.38 $36,140.00
Illinois $23.28 $48,420.00
Indiana $17.16 $35,690.00
Iowa $17.74 $36,890.00
Kansas $15.04 $31,270.00
Kentucky $14.88 $30,940.00
Louisiana $17.45 $36,300.00
Maine $17.65 $36,710.00
Maryland $26.01 $54,110.00
Massachusetts $23.80 $49,500.00
Michigan $17.17 $35,720.00
Minnesota $20.32 $42,270.00
Mississippi $16.02 $33,320.00
Missouri $17.99 $37,410.00
Montana $16.17 $33,640.00
Nebraska $18.27 $37,990.00
Nevada $17.81 $37,040.00
New Hampshire $17.62 $36,650.00
New Jersey $22.04 $45,830.00
New Mexico $17.81 $37,040.00
New York $22.12 $46,020.00
North Carolina $17.93 $37,280.00
North Dakota $20.24 $42,100.00
Ohio $17.00 $35,370.00
Oklahoma $14.88 $30,960.00
Oregon $20.99 $43,660.00
Pennsylvania $17.06 $35,470.00
Puerto Rico $13.01 $27,050.00
Rhode Island $20.54 $42,720.00
South Carolina $17.73 $36,870.00
South Dakota $16.80 $34,950.00
Tennessee $17.88 $37,190.00
Texas $17.13 $35,620.00
Utah $17.19 $35,740.00
Vermont $18.09 $37,630.00
Virgin Islands $22.45 $46,700.00
Virginia $19.12 $39,770.00
Washington $20.87 $43,400.00
West Virginia $14.96 $31,130.00
Wisconsin $18.57 $38,630.00
Wyoming $22.03 $45,830.00

source: data.bls.gov
Occupation:Emergency Medical Technicians (SOC Code292042)

Career Overview

What is an EMT?

An EMT, or Emergency Medical Technician, responds to emergencies, provides medical support and transports patients to hospitals. These employees can perform a number of procedures including resuscitation, child birth, burn management and the administration of some medications.

EMTs are often confused with paramedics, who perform a similar job though have much higher job requirements.

An EMTs job takes them to virtually any location.

Whether it’s the scene of a car accident, a patient’s home or a business, these workers respond to 911 calls and travel wherever they’re needed. Due to this, much of an EMTs day takes place inside an ambulance, where they perform any necessary operations until they arrive at a hospital or medical center.

What Are EMT Job Duties?

EMTs are responsible for a number of different duties throughout the day. Some involve patient care and transportation, while others have to do with maintaining a safe work area.

A few EMT job duties include:

  • Responding to 911 calls from dispatch
  • Transporting patients
  • Administering oxygen
  • Performing CPR
  • Sterilizing tools and surfaces
  • Providing first-aid treatment
  • Providing life-support

What Types of Skills Should EMTs Possess?

Above all else, an EMT job requires the ability to work under pressure. Many healthcare careers involve stressful situations that call for quick, decisive action.

As an EMT, worker’s must be able to remain calm and think clearly for the health and safety of the patient. This fast-paced career needs people that can think on their feet and carry out their job duties effectively.

The EMT skillset should include:

  • Situational awareness
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Self-care
  • Strong reasoning skills
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Ability to work in a non-structured environment
  • Organization skills

Importance of Teamwork

Responding to an emergency call is a complex process that involves much more than simply driving to a scene.

Due to this, EMTs must work together to ensure a patient is taken care of safely. This involves carrying patients, lifting and pushing stretchers, handling stair chairs and a number of other physical demands.

They must also effectively communicate with calls from dispatch that direct them to their next emergency situation.

Work Environment

EMTs should expect a high-stress, intense yet rewarding career in the healthcare field.

They should also understand that they are responsible for the health and safety of the people in their care. This job allows workers to have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of patients and their families.

Also, workers must anticipate the possibility that some patients may lose their lives while aboard an ambulance. This can be a difficult situation to encounter, but knowing how to continue working despite this stress is extremely important.

EMT personnel travel a lot for their job, making the ambulance their base of operations for most of the day.

Keeping the vehicle clean and well-organized is essential to carrying out the job efficiently. EMTs regularly empty trashcans of items like syringes, soiled bandages and saline packaging.

Perhaps most importantly off all, an ambulance must be safe for patients and other employees. This means that every surface and medical instrument should be cleaned and decontaminated prior to use.

Also, body fluids such as blood can be dangerous to come in contact with and should always be cleaned up.

Places They Can Work

While they are a common sight at the emergency entrance of a hospital, EMT jobs are available at more than just medical facilities.

A few other places hopefuls can potentially find work include:

  • Recreation centers
  • Cruise ships
  • Ski resorts
  • Fire departments
  • State parks

Can EMTs Work Remotely?

Due to the nature of the job, EMTs cannot work remotely. All duties must be carried out in person at emergency sites and hospitals.

However, a related career in emergency dispatch is handled remotely from a single location.

What are Other Career Options for EMTs?

Depending on how much continued education a worker is interested in completing, there are several other jobs EMTs could potentially perform.

Firefighters, medical assistants, police officers and even nurses and doctors are within the realm of possibility.

Keep in mind that each of these options involve their own set of requirements, exams and certifications.

Since EMTs work directly with the public, there is a strong likelihood that careers as a civil servant appeal to employees.

The training and experience workers receive working as an emergency technician can translate over to a number of public jobs.

Career Outlook For EMT Jobs

EMT careers have always been in demand, however there is a projected growth of 7 percent over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is faster than most other occupations, mainly due to the nature of emergency medical jobs.

Considering this spike in demand, EMT job availability is only likely to grow further as time goes on.

One important factor in the rising demand of EMT careers is the health of middle-age and senior populations. As these generations age they are more likely to suffer emergencies like heart attack, stroke, accidental falls and many other age-related incidents.

Interview with an EMT

An interview with Roxana Perez, a student studying to become an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) at City College in Miami.

What school did you attend?

City College in Miami

What program?

Emergency Medical Technician. It’s an associate degree, which is a two year program, but you can choose to take another two years once you complete it for a paramedic program, and that’s what I’m doing so it’s 4 yrs to be a paramedic.

I’m a sophomore.

How has your training been so far?

Training so far has been okay; they don’t let you start any medical programs until you do some requirements for the associates. Basically, it’s the Math, English, Psychology and other elective classes that sometimes have nothing to do with what you’re studying. But then sometimes like with psychology, you can see how it’s going to help you to understand people.

Are you happy with the training that you’ve received?

Not necessarily excited like I was once at this point, but little by little the medical classes are more exciting and I’m just starting to get into them. At the beginning it’s very though.

Favorite classes and why they are your favorite?

My favorite right now is my anatomy and physiology class. It’s my first step into learning about the medical field, so I’m learning the basic knowledge about the body and terminology and everything is first hand. It’s something that I love. At 6:00 when I have that class, that’s a class I know I’m not going to be late to and I put my full focus on.

How much did it cost for you to complete the program?

At the beginning when I was first shopping around, I was told it would be $32,000 in total, but once you sit down and really look at it, it’ll be a little bit more than that because they do require you to purchase the books online through their school website. They don’t give you another choice if you’re just a student you do as they tell you. For me books are getting more expensive especially my medical books, so renting books for me is so much better I wish I could go back in time and do it the first year too. The only thing is when you don’t buy the books through them, they do call you down. They do question you about why you’re not doing it on their website but they haven’t told me not to. They just tell you that you have your loans and financial aid why not use it? Basically, to scare you off they ask why are you paying out of pocket. For me it’s more common sense to pay $30 out of my pocket now than to pay $155 in the long run.

Did you receive any financial aid or scholarships? Which ones? Were these easy to obtain?

I have received government Pell grants. Scholarships I’ve just been looking at this year. I talked to one of my advisors, they told me to be careful because they don’t accept all of them. The financial aid advisor does everything for you for the grants. And I have about two student loans.

Did you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

Full time.

Were any of your classes online?

No, they do have that option but it’s very limited. They don’t offer a lot of classes online they might have like three or four out of the ones you need. No I would not take any online anyway.

Did you consider other programs?

No I already knew what I wanted to do.

Why did you choose the school you’re at?

I was stuck between about two schools. The other one was a faster program but it was all about student loans. It was so much cheaper and faster but once I spoke to the advisors at City College and told them I was shopping around they automatically shut me down. They told me that school doesn’t offer associates they only certify you. So I thought what’s better? So I went on and told them ok, it’ll cost me more and be harder and, but in the long run I thought it would be better to have my associates degree. Later I found out they do offer associates degrees at the other school and it does cost less but it’s only online.

Would you recommend this school to someone else? Why or why not?

I would say I would just because you would finish faster and classes are so small. There are about 10 to 15 students so there is more teacher interaction. Whenever you need a tutor your teacher tutors you for free at your time in case you need any help. Basically that’s why I would recommend it, but overall through expenses and the way they handle things and choose to communicate, I wouldn’t. It’s very hard if you need to sit down and talk to your advisor. It’s hard to communicate and then it’s very expensive too.

Was that or something else the most difficult part of the program for you?

Yes, that actually {the communicating to advisors}

About how many other students were in your classes?

Yea, it’s about 10 to 15. That is one of the best things they do. There is more of the interaction with teachers instead of a class of 40 where you get stuck in the back, and they try to group all the business students or all the EMT students together, so it feels like your going through the process with them. They’re great about that, it’s definitely very friendly; everybody knows everybody at City College so they’re not that bad. It’s very friendly you’ll feel very comfortable with your classes and little by little it’s getting bigger too. They’re putting up newer buildings.

For your particular program, are there any special licenses or certifications that you need to receive before getting a job? If so, what are they and what do they entail?

You need to have certification and a license for every stepping stone: EMT Assistant EMT 1 and 2. In order to pass you do have to pass the state exam and have all your certifications and the license. When you take the exam you get to choose whether you want to take the state or national exam.

Is the state/national exam the one to get your license?

From what I could remember yes for the state/national exam is for the license, to be certified you would need to take a written and practical exam and register with the state.

Can you get a job before you have your license, with just the certifications?

Definitely you can have a job with only a certification, but you will be limited on the things you are going to be able to do and I believe salary also decreases slightly.

At City College, are they going to certify you through your classes? In other words, which of these requirements are you going to have completed when you graduate City College?

City College will provide all the training and classes I need, but it is up to me to take my exams, register, and get certified and of course actually pass all requirements. It’s possible that when I graduate City College I will have completed all EMT 1 and 2 as well as being certified and licensed as a Paramedic.

Related Resources

Becoming an EMT in California
Becoming an EMT in Florida