Emergency Medical Technology / Technician

EMS is difficult work. Personal sacrifice is a part of the package, along with long work hours, awful weather and heavy lifting. You'll be surrounded by people who are panicking, having heart attacks and can't breathe. There will be blood and other bodily fluids.

Needless to say, an EMT position can be a stressful job with psychologically and physically demanding work conditions. At the same time, it is rewarding to save lives in one's community on the front lines of crises. EMTs are also increasingly expected to participate in community health education initiatives that are designed to prevent emergencies before they happen.

Paramedics work hard to provide quality out-of-hospital care, serving as a turnkey link between the public and other medical professionals. The EMT is responsible for providing initial medical treatment, with a focus on stabilizing crises until injured or sick persons can be transported to an appropriate caregiving facility. The paramedic must keep people alive en route until they have access to the full range of resources available at a hospital or other healthcare setting.

About Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)


The Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Profession, or CoAEMSP, is the largest national regulatory agency in charge of evaluating paramedic programs in the U.S.

For 2013, the rules have been updated such that EMT and paramedic programs must be formally accredited by either CoAEMSP or CAAHEP, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. There are only a few CAAHEP-accredited paramedic programs in the U.S. at the bachelor's level, among them the University of South Alabama and Central Washington State.

Scope of Practice

A emerging trend in EMS is the integration of "community paramedicine" into the EMT's scope of practice. EMTs are being repositioned to provide preventative "mobile healthcare" to the masses as part of a larger network involving nurses, doctors and other providers.

A movement is gearing up to frame EMTs not only as emergency techs but also as healthcare providers uniquely empowered to expand access to members of the community who are not getting all the care they need. In practice, this can mean eliminating the persistent problem of 'repeat' healthcare consumers who are back in the hospital within a month of discharge, among other sources of system inefficiency.

As political and industry leaders move to implement an expanded scope of practice for EMS personnel, EMT students might profitably position themselves as leaders in this area. To that end, a handful of Community Paramedicine degree-granting programs have appeared in recent years.


EMT workers are licensed in each of the states. Licensing invariably requires proof of successful field training and some minimum level of coursework. While many states rely on the exam given by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians as proof of education and competency, others use their own tests and benchmarks.

Tests of psychomotor and 'practical skills' are often required for state licensing. Graduates should get to know the regulatory board for the state in which they intend to practice. State boards are excellent resources for updated information about EMS practice protocols.

Educational Options for EMTs

In general, the number of EMTs that have completed a degree is relatively small. For EMTs in the United States, vocational certification is the standard. While the pursuit of a degree can often confer competitive advantage in many fields, this is not necessarily true in all fields and EMS is a good example. There are no universal or commonly accepted career pathways with which to reward the advanced knowledge and training that a degree could provide. As a result, NREMT's certification system remains entirely sufficient.

Primary Certifications

There are five distinct levels of EMT/Paramedic certification under the rubric of NREMT, or the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Here, we'll discuss the most common credentials. Note that these levels of certification usually prevail across states, but may have different names. Their responsibilities and on-the-job privileges, too, are based on state-specific regulations.

The introductory level of EMT training is called "First Responder." A certified First Responder is, in a nutshell, more trained than someone with basic first aid certification, yet less qualified than an EMT or Paramedic. First Responders learn how to perform CPR, deploy defibrillators, immobilize fractures, supply oxygen and deliver first aid. Most police and firefighters are certified First Responders.

The second and most common level is the EMT-Basic certification. After working as a Basic EMT for a time, additional training and certification can earn students the third credential: EMT-Intermediate. The difference between a Basic EMT and an Intermediate one is the extent of intervention allowed.

The basic EMT makes quick diagnoses and provides elementary, life-saving pre-hospital care at the scene or during transport. Meanwhile, Intermediate EMTs and Paramedics are entrusted with providing more advanced care. They administer medication, shots and intubations to subvert morbidity and mortality in critical-condition patients. Paramedics can interpret EKG readings and may operate certain types of advanced medical equipment.

In its current state, the EMS profession is not set up to justly compensate those who have invested in higher education. While specific employers may offer exceptional opportunities, achieving one of the accepted levels of professional certification is sufficient to succeed in most EMT positions.

Associate Degrees

Sometimes, students pursue an Associate of Applied Sciences in Emergency Medical Technology that encompasses the EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic certifications in a bundle.

Bachelor Degrees

An undergraduate degree isn't usually necessary for EMTs, although sometimes results in better pay and benefits. One reason to pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree would be to keep your options open for further advancement in the medical sector.

EMS administrative jobs are usually reserved for those with at least a post-baccalaureate degree in a health sciences major, though not necessarily EMS. Any decision to pursue further education beyond vocational certification and targeted training should be accompanied with a thorough understanding of one's ultimate career goals.

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We found 437 schools offering emt degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 437 Emergency Medical Technology / Technician Colleges in the U.S.

Emt Schools By Total Enrollment

Miami Dade College
Miami, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 46834

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
Houston Community College System
Houston, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 40929

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Northern Virginia Community College
Annandale, VA  |  Total Enrollment: 37073

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
Community College of Southern Nevada
North Las Vegas, NV  |  Total Enrollment: 29905

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
College of Dupage
Glen Ellyn, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 28862

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
American River College
Sacramento, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 28420

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Mt San Antonio College
Walnut, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 28329

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Pima Community College
Tucson, AZ  |  Total Enrollment: 28078

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27571

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Valencia Community College
Orlando, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 27565

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's

Browse All 437 Colleges With Emt Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Adult Center for Education Zanesville OH 97
Aims Community College Greeley CO 6948
Akron Adult Vocational Services Akron OH 325
Alabama Southern Community College Monroeville AL 1261
Alaska Vocational Technical Center Seward AK 210
Albany Technical College Albany GA 2444
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria CA 12110
Allen County Community College Iola KS 1968
Altamaha Technical College Jesup GA 1110
Alvin Community College Alvin TX 3665
Amarillo College Amarillo TX 8422
American Center for Technical Arts and Sciences Philadelphia PA 217
American River College Sacramento CA 28420
Angelina College Lufkin TX 4412
Appalachian Technical College Jasper GA 950
Arapahoe Community College Littleton CO 7436
Arizona Western College Yuma AZ 5214
Arkansas State University - Main Campus State University AR 10429
Arkansas State University - Mountain Home Mountain Home AR 916
Arkansas Valley Technical Institute Ozark AR 455
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville NC 4940
Athens Technical College Athens GA 2747
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta GA 2884
Auburn Career Center Concord Twp OH 141
Augusta Technical College Augusta GA 3265
Austin Community College Austin TX 25735
Bainbridge College Bainbridge GA 1311
Baker College of Clinton Township Clinton Township MI 2559
Baker College of Muskegon Muskegon MI 2727
Ball State University Muncie IN 19004
Baltimore City Community College Baltimore MD 5883
Barton County Community College Great Bend KS 4612
Bellingham Technical College Bellingham WA 3682
Belmont Technical College Saint Clairsville OH 1524
Bevill State Community College Sumiton AL 3558
Bishop State Community College Mobile AL 4058
Black River Technical College Pocahontas AR 1239
Blackhawk Technical College Janesville WI 2472
Blinn College Brenham TX 11588
Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City LA 4332
Bowling Green Technical College Bowling Green KY 854
Brevard Community College Cocoa FL 13265
Brigham Young University - Idaho Rexburg ID 8949
Broome Community College Binghamton NY 5663
Broward Community College Fort Lauderdale FL 27389
Butte College Oroville CA 11542
Camden County College Blackwood NJ 12131
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau MO 169
Capital Community College Hartford CT 3042
Career and Technical Center at Fort Osage Independence MO 5
Carl Sandburg College Galesburg IL 3220
Catawba Valley Community College Hickory NC 3731
Central Alabama Community College Alexander City AL 1577
Central Florida Community College Ocala FL 5230
Central Georgia Technical College Macon GA 3787
Central Oregon Community College Bend OR 4079
Central Texas College Killeen TX 14636
Central Washington University Ellensburg WA 8050
Century Community and Technical College White Bear Lake MN 6937
Chabot College Hayward CA 13615
Chattahoochee Technical College Marietta GA 3287
Chattahoochee Valley Community College Phenix City AL 1748
Chemeketa Community College Salem OR 9650
Chesapeake College Wye Mills MD 2186
Chipola College Marianna FL 1845
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire WI 4503
City Colleges of Chicago - Harold Washington College Chicago IL 8147
City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College Chicago IL 8638
Clackamas Community College Oregon City OR 6369
Clark State Community College Springfield OH 2808
Clatsop Community College Astoria OR 1743
Clayton State University Morrow GA 4455
Coastal Carolina Community College Jacksonville NC 3780
Cochise College Douglas AZ 4966
Coffeyville Community College Coffeyville KS 1680
Colby Community College Colby KS 2160
College of Dupage Glen Ellyn IL 28862
College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls ID 5452
College of the Canyons Santa Clarita CA 10528
College of the Mainland Texas City TX 3358
Collin County Community College District Plano TX 12996
Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs CO 7407
Columbia College Sonora CA 3340
Columbia State Community College Columbia TN 4261
Columbiana County Vocational School Lisbon OH 64
Columbus State Community College Columbus OH 18094
Columbus Technical College Columbus GA 1754
Community College of Southern Nevada North Las Vegas NV 29905
Coosa Valley Technical College Rome GA 2313
Corning Community College Corning NY 4306
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen AR 815
Cowley County Community College Arkansas City KS 3986
Crafton Hills College Yucaipa CA 5054
Creighton University Omaha NE 6237
Crowleys Ridge Technical Institute Forrest City AR 141
Cuesta College San Luis Obispo CA 9496
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland OH 19518
Dalton State College Dalton GA 3137
Darton College Albany GA 2805
Davenport University Grand Rapids MI 2322
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