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
North Metro Technical College Acworth GA 1567
Akron Adult Vocational Services Akron OH 325
Albany Technical College Albany GA 2444
Darton College Albany GA 2805
Linn - Benton Community College Albany OR 4443
University of New Mexico - Main Campus Albuquerque NM 23670
Central Alabama Community College Alexander City AL 1577
Louisiana Technical College - Alexandria Campus Alexandria LA 300
Western Oklahoma State College Altus OK 2296
Alvin Community College Alvin TX 3665
Amarillo College Amarillo TX 8422
South Georgia Technical College Americus GA 1319
Lurleen B Wallace Community College Andalusia AL 802
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale VA 37073
Fox Valley Technical College Appleton WI 6806
Southern Oklahoma Technology Center Ardmore OK 172
Cowley County Community College Arkansas City KS 3986
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville NC 4940
Clatsop Community College Astoria OR 1743
Athens Technical College Athens GA 2747
Trinity Valley Community College Athens TX 4780
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta GA 2884
Kiamichi Technology Center - Atoka Atoka OK 59
Augusta Technical College Augusta GA 3265
Austin Community College Austin TX 25735
South Florida Community College Avon Park FL 2199
Bainbridge College Bainbridge GA 1311
Baltimore City Community College Baltimore MD 5883
University of Maryland - Baltimore County Baltimore MD 10759
University of Cincinnati - Clermont College Batavia OH 2185
University of Arkansas Community College - Batesville Batesville AR 1024
Our Lady of the Lake College Baton Rouge LA 1053
Kellogg Community College Battle Creek MI 5300
Lee College Baytown TX 5932
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville IL 13351
Bellingham Technical College Bellingham WA 3682
North Central Kansas Technical College Beloit KS 411
Central Oregon Community College Bend OR 4079
Northwest Arkansas Community College Bentonville AR 4058
Lawson State Community College - Bessemer Campus Bessemer AL 1314
Howard College Big Spring TX 2260
Broome Community College Binghamton NY 5663
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham AL 14951
Camden County College Blackwood NJ 12131
Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills Campus Bloomfield Hills MI 23188
Northeast State Technical Community College Blountville TN 4125
University of Cincinnati - Raymond Walters College Blue Ash OH 3668
Palo Verde College Blythe CA 3312
Louisiana Technical College - Sullivian Campus Bogalusa LA 849
Southwest Baptist University Bolivar MO 3593
Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City LA 4332
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Bowling Green Technical College Bowling Green KY 854
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green KY 15481
Manatee Technical Institute Bradenton FL 2721
Blinn College Brenham TX 11588
Texas Southmost College Brownsville TX 7776
Finger Lakes Community College Canandaigua NY 4667
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau MO 169
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids IA 11645
Nunez Community College Chalmette LA 1884
Parkland College Champaign IL 8026
City Colleges of Chicago - Harold Washington College Chicago IL 8147
City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College Chicago IL 8638
Prairie State College Chicago Heights IL 4795
Southwestern College Chula Vista CA 17994
Rogers State University Claremore OK 2640
North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville GA 1482
Dekalb Technical College Clarkston GA 3315
St Petersburg College Clearwater FL 19900
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland OH 19518
Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland WI 2742
Baker College of Clinton Township Clinton Township MI 2559
Brevard Community College Cocoa FL 13265
Coffeyville Community College Coffeyville KS 1680
Colby Community College Colby KS 2160
Pikes Peak Community College Colorado Springs CO 9997
Columbia State Community College Columbia TN 4261
Columbus Technical College Columbus GA 1754
Columbus State Community College Columbus OH 18094
Mt Diablo Adult Education Concord CA 637
New Hampshire Technical Institute Concord NH 2809
Auburn Career Center Concord Twp OH 141
Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay OR 3326
Corning Community College Corning NY 4306
Del Mar College Corpus Christi TX 9936
Louisiana Technical College - Avoyelles Campus Cottonport LA 219
Mchenry County College Crystal Lake IL 5086
Western Carolina University Cullowhee NC 6699
Gaston College Dallas NC 3954
El Centro College Dallas TX 4333
Dalton State College Dalton GA 3137
Eastern Iowa Community College District Davenport IA 6179
Daytona Beach Community College Daytona Beach FL 10420
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen AR 815
Henry Ford Community College Dearborn MI 12742
Delaware Area Career Center Delaware OH 70
Grayson County College Denison TX 3318
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines IA 409
Wayne County Community College District Detroit MI 9008
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