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How to Become an EMT in Any US State

How to Become an EMT in Any US State

Photo of Greta

by Greta Kviklyte

Life Saver, AMC
Co-authored by Kim Murray, RN, M.S.

posted on Oct 28, 2022, at 9:03 am


As you consider a career as an emergency medical technician or EMT, there are several areas to address. First, getting trained as an EMT requires going to advanced schooling or a post-secondary program. Additionally, EMTs must be certified in their state before they are eligible for employment. At Advanced Medical Certification (AMC), you can become certified 100 percent online. Learn more about what it takes to become an EMT in any state in the US with this guide.

What is the Role of an EMT?

emt-in-an-ambulace-with-a-patientThe role of an EMT involves taking care of patients in an emergency setting. In addition, there are different levels of emergency medical technicians. As you begin your career in this field of the healthcare industry, you will be an EMT-Basic. “An EMT, also known as an EMT-Basic, cares for patients at the scene of an incident and while taking patients by ambulance to a hospital. An EMT has the skills to assess a patient’s condition and to manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies,” states the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You will be fully trained to handle choking victims, as well as burn victims. Patients who have suffered from an auto accident are the ones you will most likely work with if you are in an ambulance. Additionally, you will work with a team of medical professionals. These team members will include licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, physicians, and surgeons, as well as paramedics.

As your job is emergency-based, this requires you to be on call for 24-hour shifts to accommodate advanced-level emergencies. Expect to work for a series of days or nights, followed by a period of inactivity. The role of an EMT involves being alert and ready to work whenever you are on call.
Therefore, you have to be trained and up-to-date on all certifications and skills evaluations. This will keep you on the level when it comes to dealing with life-threatening emergencies, which is what your job is at the end of the day. Working with an online training provider like AMC is the most effective for this type of occupation.

You can get recertified right online as an EMT, no matter what US state you live in. Additionally, with Certification for Life, you are able to receive communication from AMC regarding when it is time to update your EMT applicable certifications. Whether you are interested in First Aid and CPR, or PALS certifications, we will ensure you maintain the skills and tools needed to satisfy your job requirements as an EMT.

What Best Defines an EMT Training System

An EMT training system provides you with everything you need to safely and successfully become an EMT. This training can be done in person or online. Hands-on training, which is also known in the healthcare industry as clinical, is also important for EMTs. In fact, to get certified in any state in the US as an emergency medical technician, you must have a minimum number of clinical hours.

This hands-on training is done in person and prepares you to work in the field on your own. It is a type of internship that is generally offered while you are in a professional training program. This is most commonly provided at a college or university. However, EMT training can also be offered by a post-secondary training institute. Whether you earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or a certificate or diploma, there are plenty of ways to train as an EMT.

The certification element of becoming an EMT in any state involves a different type of training. Graduate from a school or institute to earn a diploma, certificate, or degree in emergency medical technician training. This training must include a clinical or hands-on element. Once completed successfully, you are eligible to sit for a board exam. A board exam is a state-level or national-level test that is administrated by a competency board.

Where Do I Go for the National EMT Exam?

The EMT board exam provides an examination that is conducted online and results in certification in a skill or industry. For an EMT, there is the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The NREMT provides national certification through a board exam that is available to all EMTs in the US. Once you pay to take the board exam and submit the required documents, you must pass this test successfully. Retesting is available and you will need to recertify annually.

How Much is the Average EMT Salary?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average EMT salary of an emergency medical technician in Washington State is $82,810. Compare this to $36,930 for the national median salary for an EMT. This breaks down to $17.76 per hour as an emergency medical technician fully trained for field duty.

Your salary will be determined by the cost of living in your state of employment. A higher cost of living should mean you will earn more than the national average. However, if your state has a lower cost of living than the US, you can anticipate earning less than the national median EMT salary.

Is Being an EMT Difficult?

As an emergency medical technician, every medical case you work on is a different situation. Most likely, you will be working alongside paramedics and other EMTs. This job typically takes EMTs out with ambulances for emergency medical duties. However, you might also work in an emergency room at a hospital. The primary difference between an EMT and a nurse is the emergency component.

Therefore, you have to have skills of being on your feet, so to speak. As an EMT, you have to be able to work in different areas of medical care at any time. You also need to have advanced training in order to complete emergency medical services. Here is why you want to get CPR or PALS Certification for Life by Advanced Medical Certification.

Having First Aid and CPR Certification, as well as Pediatric Advanced Life Support training will ensure you can do your job as an EMT. Be ready to work with any age of the patient in any situation with the use of Advanced Medical Certification resources. This will ensure that being an EMT will not be too difficult.

How Can I be a Good EMT Basic?

To be a good EMT Basic is the ultimate goal for any incoming emergency medical technician. Start by choosing a good school that provides the most training opportunities. This should include clinical training and EMT certification in your home state.
If you plan to work out of state, check to see if you are in an EMS Compact Privilege to Practice state. A compact state means you can be certified as an EMT in that state but work in other states. Currently, there are more than 20 states that are compact states, which allows more flexibility with certified EMTs on duty.

According to The EMS Compact, “The EMS Compact extends a privilege to practice under authorized circumstances to EMS personnel based on their home license. To remain active under the EMS Compact, EMS personnel must follow their home state rules for licensure, license renewals (recertification), and maintain a relationship with an authorized physician medical director.”

Once you have been certified and are ready for employment, be up-to-date on all applicable certifications. This includes CPR, First Aid, PALS, and other basic medical certifications. Stay on track with the latest methodologies and techniques for saving lives of all ages with AMC as your go-to certification resource. We offer 100 percent online training for EMTs who want to maintain certifications for medical services.

Where Can I Train to be Certified as an Emergency Medical Technician?

You can be trained as an emergency medical technician at a local college or online. However, part of your training will need to be in person to satisfy the requirements for certification as an EMT. Some of the best colleges and universities for EMT training include the following:

  • University of Washington in Seattle, WA
  • University of California in Los Angeles, CA
  • Weber State University in Ogden, UT
  • Grady EMS Academy in Atlanta, GA
  • Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA
  • Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC
  • Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, SD
  • University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Arizona Academy of Emergency Services in Mesa, AZ
  • Boston Pro EMS Center for Medics in Cambridge, MA
  • Amarillo College in Amarillo, TX
  • Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ
  • Phoenix College in Phoenix, AZ

Each of these colleges and universities has a stand-alone and top-notch EMT training program. Go to school, become an EMT in your home state, or move out of state for a highly reputable training opportunity.

Do I Have to Get EMT Certified in My State?

No matter where you go to school to become an EMT, you will still need to get certified upon graduation. Along with EMT certification at the national level, you will need to check with your state board for certification requirements. This will typically come from the Department of Health in your state. Some states do not have state-level certification exams for emergency medical technicians. However, some do and you will be required to get state certified to work in these states.

For example, in Washington State, there is a state-level requirement for certification. The Department of Health in Washington requires EMS Provider Certification at the state level. This is in addition to national certification. Therefore, to work as an EMT in WA, you must have the state EMS Provider Certification. This is even if you already have the National EMT certification from the NREMT.

Make sure to check with your state department of health or nursing to find out what the requirements are for you. This will save you time and money on getting certified. The national certification exam for EMTs is $98 each time you take this board. The state-level EMT certification exams also cost each time you take them, too. Therefore, to save money, make sure to take the most applicable EMT certification board for your state and work situation.

Choosing a School for EMT Training

Start by selecting a school closest to your home base. This will save you money on living expenses and transportation costs. You will need to go to school or be in training for at least a year in most programs. Therefore, consider how much money you will need for living expenses during that amount of time. From there, decide if you want to spend 100 percent of your training in a classroom or if you would prefer to go to EMT school online.

There are many schools that now offer a hybrid program that combines online and in-person training. This might be most advantageous to you as a student. You can save time by taking some courses online. These classes allow you to complete your studies on your own schedule. If you are currently working part-time or are a full-time employee, a hybrid program provides you with the most flexibility.

EMT versus Paramedic Occupations

emt-pushing-wheeled-stretcher-in-an-ambulaceAccording to WebMD, “Para” means next to, and “medic” means doctor. So it means that paramedics work alongside doctors, though not always physically. They can provide life-saving treatment for someone until they can get to a doctor. Paramedics are not Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), though many EMTs become paramedics.” So what’s the difference between an EMT and a paramedic?

Generally, the amount of training for an EMT is less than what a paramedic goes through. Paramedics go to school for two to three years compared to six months to one year of school for an EMT. An EMT receives basic medical care training, whereas a paramedic is skilled in advanced and critical care. These two generally work side by side in an emergency setting.

Find 100 Percent Online Certification as an EMT

Get started in the right direction by training as an EMT with 100 percent online certification. Here at Advanced Medical Certification, we offer training and certification any time, day or night. Stay alert to the latest concerns and techniques in medical care with the certifications by AMC.

What is your experience of becoming an EMT? Share your stories in the discussion or comment below.

About Greta

Greta is a dedicated life saver and a distinguished expert in the field of medical content creation and editing. Her impressive array of certifications in ACLS, CPR, PALS, and BLS underscores her commitment to excellence in the medical field. With over four years of invaluable experience in medical education, Greta plays an indispensable role within the Advanced Medical Certification team, shaping the way healthcare professionals around the world acquire and apply vital knowledge.

Greta's profound expertise serves as the driving force behind the development and distribution of medical content that has significantly enhanced the capabilities of countless healthcare practitioners across the globe.

In addition to her medical qualifications, Greta holds a prestigious academic distinction in Marketing and Global Business from Vilnius University. Her academic journey has been enriched by immersive studies in Slovakia and Portugal during her time as an exchange student, providing her with a global perspective that complements her medical expertise.

Beyond her professional commitments, Greta possesses a genuine passion for global exploration, with a particular focus on immersing herself in diverse cultures and appreciating the intricacies of the natural world. While residing in Vilnius, Lithuania, she continues to make substantial contributions to the field of medical education, leaving an indelible mark on the sector.

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