Emergency medical technicians, nurses, paramedics and firefighters need to complete an accredited EMT program before they can enter the workforce. An EMT program typically includes CPR training, emergency response training and teaches students how to use different types of medical equipment in an emergency setting. There are several different types, or levels, of EMT programs available. Some employers such as hospitals and ambulance service providers only require basic training, while fire houses and local governments typically require paramedic or advanced training in the field. Some EMT education courses can be completed online, while others will need to be completed at a technical college, medical training center or other training facility.

EMT Education and Programs

EMT programs prepare students to provide immediate medical care in an emergency setting. Students learn how to stabilize patients after a serious injury or a heart attack, how to take care of sick or injured patients, how to move patients from an ambulance to a hospital bed, and how to perform basic patient assessments. Students are also taught how to perform CPR and other life support skills on children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Each level of the EMT program covers basic and advanced training, and all EMT programs include clinical requirements where students must demonstrate their skills with hands-on testing.

The different types of EMT programs include:

  • EMT I-Basic - a certification program that teaches students basic life support and emergency response skills, how to perform airway maintenance, and how to administer oxygen.
  • EMT-II and EMT-III (Intermediate) - advanced skills and trains students how to administer intravenous fluids, how to use defibrillators, and how to help patients who need respiratory care.
  • EMT-Paramedic (advanced) - the most comprehensive type of EMT program that includes the administrating of emergency medications, moving patients after injury, ambulatory care procedures, and other advanced skills. This type of EMT education program is typically two years in length and requires extensive clinical training.

Where to Find EMT Education Programs

EMT programs are offered at several accredited technical colleges and schools around the country. Some healthcare centers and online schools also offer formal EMT training programs. In order to enroll in an EMT education program, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED. Students who excel in math and science tend to do particularly well in this healthcare field.

Most EMT education programs last between six months to two years, depending on the level and how much training or education the patient has already completed.

You can find EMT education programs at:

  • Area technical colleges
  • Vocational schools
  • Medical training centers
  • Online paramedic and online EMT training centers

Those who only complete the EMT-I program can still find work but will be referred to as "first responders". They are often responsible for evaluating and assessing a patient's state after an injury or accident, but they will work with paramedics and more experienced EMTs to resuscitate the patient or care for them as they take them to the hospital.