How to Become an EMT in 4 Simple Steps

What is an EMT

Choosing to be an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) is an incredibly rewarding career choice. EMT’s are often the first line of care for injured or sick people who have called for emergency assistance. The role comes with extreme highs, and extreme lows. It’s a tough role to fill, but incredibly satisfying, so continue reading and learn how to become an EMT.

What Does an EMT Do?

Most of us never have to make life or death decisions at work. There are few professions where this is applicable, however being an EMT is one of them. Most EMT’s will face life changing decisions almost daily, so being able to think fast and use the appropriate training is vital to the role.

Emergency technicians are dispatched to the scene of an emergency and are usually the first on the scene. No two days are ever going to be the same, and it’s a role that is hard to separate emotions and professionalism.

Arriving at a scene of an accident or a person in need of medical attention is daunting. There is extensive training given for the role, and knowing the training is what an EMT relies on when arriving on scene.

Depending on where the EMT is working there are different levels to the role. You won’t be expected to handle complex assignments at first. With experience and further training a technician be responsible for a higher degree of medical care.

There is a lot of scope for progression and development in the role of an EMT. The medical field is very vast, and having the training and experience gained in this role helps you to move into other roles within healthcare.

The average EMT salary is .

Desirable Skills of an EMT

With such a high-pressure and demanding role as an emergency medical technician there are some skills and personality traits that help some people adapt to the role easier and quicker than others. Some of these skills are;

Keeping Calm under Pressure

You will be tested almost daily with high-pressure and high-risk situations. Being able to think and act calmly and using training and critical thinking is incredibly important. Being responsible for lives is a different reality to jobs where you are not.

Good Communication

There is a lot of communication in the role of an EMT. You often work in pairs, so you will be talking to your partner all day. Patients require clear and concise communication. They will often be confused or in shock, so remaining calm and communicating is a key role of an EMT.

Being a Good Listener

You need to know when to listen and when to talk. There will be important information to gain from people calling in with emergencies. You need to ask enough questions to gain the information and know how to act on it.


Working in the medical field in general means you are helping others. Having genuine compassion for people and wanting to help makes the roles a lot easier and more satisfying. There is such a thing as caring too much however, you need to keep professional and not invest emotionally into patients.

Attention to Detail

Handling medical equipment, medicines and attending to patients can be confusing under the pressure of a potentially fatal situation. Having a good attention to detail and noticing when something is not right can save lives.

How to Become an EMT

Becoming an EMT

Step 1: High School Requirements

High School Courses for Emergency Medical Technicians


Students that are planning to enroll in an EMT training program will have to learn a lot of medical information in a really small time-frame. High school science classes will help them get more familiar with human body function and make it easier for them to pass their courses.

Physical Education

Physical fitness is really important for EMTs as a part of their daily routine is to bend, kneel and twist when checking on injured people, they also push and lift their patients on gurneys and stretchers. Physical conditioning ca be improved in high school by participating in sports, taking physical education classes and joining a fitness center.


We recommend taking psychology classes cause studying human behavior will help you understand stress reactions that you will encounter when dealing with injured people. You will also improve your listening and communication skills as you will understand better the needs of trauma survivors and their family members.

Step 2: Become Certified in CPR

Some of EMT training programs will require enrollees to become certified in CPR, while others will offer it as a part of their studies program. So before you enroll to a training program you have to know if they will give you a CPR certification after you graduate or you have to get this before you start.

Step 3: Get Official EMT Training

EMT Certificate Program 4 months to 1 year

These certificate programs are offered by universities and community colleges and can be taken as recreational courses or for course credits. They last 110 to 250 hours if taken as recreational courses and consist of 11 to 34 semester credit hours if taken as university courses. The prerequisites are a high school diploma and a CPR certification.


  • EMT Fundamentals
  • EMT Medical Emergencies
  • EMT Trauma Emergencies
  • EMT Special Considerations
  • Emergency Medical Technician-Basic Clinical

The cost of an EMT certificate program is $1,326 – $6,420.

It is really important to talk with college or university you want to go and get all your questions answered.

Emergency Medical Services Associate Degree Program 2 years

These two year programs consist of 60 to 75 semester credit hours.

The admission requirements are:

  • High School Diploma
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • CPR certified
  • Certified EMT
  • Have a driver’s license


General Education Requirements (20 to 30 credits)

  • Intro to College Writing
  • Human Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Life Span Developmental Psychology
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • General Mathematics
  • College Algebra

Core Courses(30 to 40 credits)

  • Clinical-EMT
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Clinical – Emergency Medical Services Paramedic I
  • Introduction to Advanced Practice
  • Patient Assessment and Airway Management
  • Emergency Pharmacology     3
  • Introduction to Physical Fitness & Wellness
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Paramedic Clinical II
  • Trauma Management
  • EMS Operations
  • Composition and Rhetoric I
  • Cardiology
  • Methods of Teaching EMS
  • EMS Research
  • EMS Supervision/Management
  • Clinical – Paramedic III
  • Special Populations
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Assessment Based Management
  • Clinical – EMS

The cost of an emergency medical services associates degree program is $5,400 – $48,960.

It is really important to talk with college or university you want to go and get all your questions answered.

Click the red button below and get free information about accredited emergency medical services associates degree programs near you.

Emergency Medical Services Bachelor Degree Program 4 years

These 4 year bachelor degree programs consist of 120 semester credit hours.

The admission requirements are:

  • High School Diploma
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • CPR certified
  • Certified EMT
  • Have a driver’s license
  • Have an EMT associates degree


General Education Requirements (36 to 50 credits)

  • American Literature I
  • Art Appreciation
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Biology I
  • General Chemistry I
  • Western Civilization I
  • American History I
  • English Composition
  • English Composition I

   Core Courses (50 to 70 credits)

  • Fundamentals of Emergency Medical Services
  • Preparatory
  • Patient Assessment
  • Airway Management/Ventilation
  • Trauma Management
  • Medical Emergencies I: Respiratory
  • Special Considerations
  • Medical Emergencies II: Cardiac
  • Operations
  • Medical Emergencies III: NEAGR
  • Assessment Based Management
  • Medical Emergencies IV: THEIB
  • Clinical Practicum I
  • Field Practicum I
  • Clinical Practicum II
  • Field Practicum II
  • Clinical Practicum III
  • Field Practicum III
  • Educational Planning and Assessment for EMS Educators
  • Management of Emergency Medical Systems
  • Special Topics in EMS
  • Critical Care Paramedic
  • Directed Independent Readings
  • Directed Independent Study
  • Directed Independent Research

Electives (20 to 30 credits)

  • Introduction to EMS System
  • EMS Administration
  • EMS Law/Legal Issues
  • Instructional Methods in EMS
  • Disaster Management & Event Planning
  • Health Insurance / Managed Care in EMS
  • EMS Research
  • Issues and Trends in EMS

The cost of an emergency medical services bachelor degree program is $25,200 – $177,000.

It is really important to talk with college or university you want to go and get all your questions answered.

Step 4: Become Certified

All EMTs need to be certified in the US depending on the state they will need to pass a national exam and a background check. The organization that administers the exam is (NREMT) National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.



  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Completion of an NREMT approved training program
  • Completion of an state approved psycho-motor exam for EMTs


Computer based test consisted of 70 to 120 questions that should be completed in two hours.

Cost: $70

How Long Does it Take to Become an EMT and How Much Does it Cost?

Option 1 : Certificate

Degree Time Cost
Certificate 4 months to 12 months$1,326 – $6,420
Certification $70
Total 4 months to 12 months$1,396- $6,490

Option 2 : Associate’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates Degree2 years$5,400 – $48,960
Certification $70
Total 2 years $5,470 – $49,030

Option 3 : Bachelor’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$$25,200 – $177,000
Certification $70
Total 4 years$25,270 – $177,070

EMT Training Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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