How to Become an EMT


EMT stands for “emergency medical technician.” EMTs are health care providers trained to provide emergency medical services and assistance in urgent situations, often caused by a disaster or accidental injury. EMTs are seen working for governments, hospitals, fire departments, police departments, and ambulance services. Many firefighters have training and background on the duties of an EMT, for the unfortunate event that an emergency arises and they need to respond in a timely manner.


Step 1: Know your state’s requirements.

The requirements for enrolling in an EMT program will differ from state to state, so it is crucial for prospective students to understand their state requirements before proceeding further.

Step 2: Get CPR-certified.

Occasionally, as an EMT, you will be faced with situations where knowing how to perform CPR is extremely useful. With that said, nearly every state in the country requires students to obtain a CPR certificate. The coursework required to earn this certificate will teach you how to relieve choking, use an AED, and perform CPR. After passing a written and practical test at the end of the course, you will receive a course completion card.

Step 3: Join a local fire department.

Getting hands-on is an important aspect to this profession. Joining a fire department will expose you to real-life emergency situations that will help you better determine whether this career path is right for you.

Step 4: Find the right program for you.

So you’ve decided you want to continue on with becoming an EMT? It’s time to find the right program to study! Some options that offer certificate programs include health care institutions, hospitals and fire academies, and community colleges.

Step 5: Volunteer.

Similar to joining a fire department, volunteering will not only give you hands-on experience in the field, it will also allow you to connect with other individuals in the profession, interact with patients, and respond to emergency situations. As a volunteer, you may find yourself working with firefighters, police officers, and paramedics, to name a few. If this isn’t enough to convince you, having volunteer experience generally helps your chances of being hired by potential employers.

Step 6: Pass National Registry EMT Exam

Every year, each state administers one EMT exam. This exam has both a written and practical portion to it. It is critical for aspirants to pass both of these portions to earn their certification. Results can be checked online, and failed candidates have two more chances to re-take the exam. After these two chances, students will have to take the training again.

Step 7: Stay updated and informed.

Times are always changing in every profession, and it’s important for EMTs to stay up-to-date on information and procedures. To stay on top of the competition, it is highly recommended that prospective EMTs join professional groups to be aware of any changes in the healthcare industry.

Step 8: Renew your certificate.

Every now and then, it’s important to renew your EMT certificate. In order to do so, you will have to complete continuing education hours, studying topics like assessing patient conditions, determining types of injuries and sickness, and prepping patients, for example. Refresher courses in CPR and airway management are also available at this stage.

Step 9: Continue on the rise.

For those looking to advance your career and become a physician assistant or supervisor, you may consider furthering your education and taking it up a notch from EMT-basic to EMT-Intermediate/Advanced or EMT-Paramedic.


Aspiring EMTs must meet the following requirements to be considered: