The first step to earning an EMT license is to meet the prerequisite educational requirements. A high school diploma or equivalent must be completed before emergency medical technician courses can be taken. Once this and any age requirements are met, a student can then enroll in an EMT program and later apply for an EMT license. Age requirements to become an EMT are generally age 18 and up.
Before applying for an EMT license, there are some aspects of this career that should be considered. EMTs lift and carry patients of all different sizes, and because of this they are required to be physically capable of bending, lifting, and moving people, while at the same time working under stressful conditions. They also need good eyesight in order to drive an ambulance regardless of weather or road conditions.
EMT licensing usually takes place at three different levels: basic, intermediate, and paramedic. The requirements for each of these levels can vary by state, province, or territory, depending upon which country the license is being earned. In the United States, each state has its own requirements for licensing. The requirements in Canada vary by province, and this should be considered when pursuing an EMT license.
Licensing should not be confused with EMT certification, which is a separate process done through a national registry. Some states require certification with the national registry in addition to state licensing. To find the requirements of a particular state, province, or country, it is best to to contact the government health department or emergency medical services department.
EMT licensing programs can be found at many community or two-year colleges, some universities, and vocational schools. Length of training is dependent upon the license being earned. Certification or licensing to become a paramedic will require more training than that needed to become an emergency medical technician, and the job requirements vary as well. In most cases, EMTs complete training in the most basic level of emergency services, receive their license, and then, if desired, they continue their education to receive the next level of licensing as an EMT. EMT training can last anywhere from six months to two years, depending upon the license being earned.
There are many practice exams that can be taken to prepare for the written exam that leads to an EMT license. In addition to the written exam, there is a practical examination that must be passed successfully in order to be licensed. An EMT license typically requires renewal every two years. This helps to ensure that all EMTs are aware of and are using new and improved life saving techniques.
EMTs work for a variety of employers, including hospitals, private companies, fire departments, and even helicopter rescue crews. EMTs are often the first responders to emergency situations, and what they see and experience can be very traumatizing, as well as dangerous. That being said, this health profession can be an exciting one, with plenty of room for advancement. EMTs are usually well respected, and their services are almost always in demand.