How To Become an EMT

Information Last Verified: July 14, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

Do you want to help people in a challenging and rewarding career? Then, you can become an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). As an EMT, you will be at the forefront of the healthcare industry. This position is one of the most common in emergency medical care.

When it comes to how to become an EMT, you will need the right training. It can take from six months to three years to complete the training. So first, let’s look at what you will be doing as an EMT and how to become one.

How To Become an EMT

What is an EMT?

This type of professional provides emergency care away from the hospital. You can work in many different settings. However, you will likely be the first at the scene. Therefore, EMTs are commonly called first responders.

You will need the right skills and specialized training to work as an EMT. This type of position has to provide life-saving medical care. You will be transporting patients to medical centers and hospitals. It’s a high-stakes profession, but you will be working hard to save lives.

The Duties of an EMT

Providing the right medical attention at the scene of an accident is the main duty of an EMT. You will respond to emergency calls and transport those in need of medical attention to the hospital.

Commonly, EMTs work in ambulances. However, they will be directed to emergencies when a 911 operator takes the call.

EMTs provide services during natural disasters, in-home emergencies, car accidents, and other types of accidents. The main responsibilities of an emergency medical technician will include addressing a trauma, illness, or another health-related issue.

Step-by-Step Guide How to Becoming an EMT

Complete High School or a GED

You’ll need to have a high school diploma or a GED to become an EMT. You cannot be eligible for this type of career without completing a GED or getting a high school diploma.

Get Certified in CPR

EMT training programs typically include a CPR training class. You will need to hold a CPR certification if you want to work as an EMT. Many training programs will offer both online and in-person CPR training courses.

Finish an EMT Program

You must complete an accredited EMT program if you want to become an emergency medical technician. This type of program will give you the in-depth training you need to handle the duties of an EMT.

Pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Cognitive Exam

If you plan to become an EMT, you must pass the National Registry of Emergency Technicians cognitive exam. This test will be taken on a computer and cover several aspects of the job, including trauma, medical care, and EMT operations.

The test will include 60 to 110 questions. It will also include 10 pilot questions that won’t count toward the final score. The exam takes two hours, and you will need to meet the standard level of competency to pass.

Pass the Psychomotor Exam

Along with the cognitive exam, you’ll need to pass the psychomotor exam. Again, it needs to be a state-approved EMT psychomotor exam. Usually, this exam will be offered by the local emergency medical office or the local training organizations.

With this exam, you’ll be tested on many emergency skills, including:

After passing this test, you will be able to apply for jobs as an EMT.

What Does it Take to Become an EMT?

If you want to become an EMT, you need the right education and certifications. However, it takes more than being properly educated and trained. Not everybody fits into this type of position.

Successful EMTs bring the following skills to the table:

Emergency medical technicians need to be compassionate, and they also need to be strong enough to lift a body to a gurney. As an EMT, you will also need to communicate well. It’s also necessary to be flexible as you might work different hours from one week to another.

Getting the Right EMT Job

EMT training will provide the ability to work for many different organizations, including:

With the right training, you can specialize in a specific area. There are many job opportunities for those trained to work as EMTs.

The Three Levels of EMTs

As you can work as an emergency medical technician, there are three certification levels. As you gain more skills and responsibility, you can also gain higher pay. The three levels of EMTs include:

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an EMT

How much does an EMT earn, on average?

The average per hour earning for an EMT is about $18.66. Depending on the location and your experience, the pay could be higher or lower. Some of the top companies pay more than $30 per hour for trained EMTs.

Will EMT jobs grow over the next few years?

Yes. The expectation is that most healthcare jobs will grow, and EMTs are predicted to grow by 15% over the next several years.

What type of hours do EMTs work?

Depending on where you work, the hours will likely vary. EMTs commonly work 12-hour shifts with one shift during the day and open at night. You might also end up staying late due to a call coming in towards the end of your shift.

How many calls do EMTs take in one shift?

The number of calls taken in one shift by an EMT depends on where you work. Urban settings tend to receive more calls than a smaller town or rural area. A large city will provide more calls but may also provide more ambulances. The number of ambulances and the size of the population will determine the number of calls you will take.

Which calls are most commonly taken by EMTs?

While some people expect the most common calls to be car crashes or gunshot wounds, these are less common than you might think. Instead, most of the calls you will take will likely have to do with heart issues or minor health issues.