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
Ihm Health Studies Center Saint Louis MO No Data
Career and Technical Center at Fort Osage Independence MO 5
Kirksville Area Technical Center Kirksville MO 56
Kiamichi Technology Center - Atoka Atoka OK 59
Columbiana County Vocational School Lisbon OH 64
Tri - Rivers Career Center Marion OH 65
Delaware Area Career Center Delaware OH 70
Kiamichi Technology Center - Hugo Hugo OK 84
Sikeston Career and Technology Center Sikeston MO 87
Kiamichi Technology Center - Stigler Stigler OK 95
Adult Center for Education Zanesville OH 97
Louisiana Technical College - Florida Parishes Greensburg LA 120
Auburn Career Center Concord Twp OH 141
Crowleys Ridge Technical Institute Forrest City AR 141
Louisiana Technical College - Shelby Jackson Campus Ferriday LA 141
Pike County Joint Vocational School District Piketon OH 148
Kiamichi Technology Center - Mcalester Mcalester OK 162
Eastland - Fairfield Career and Technical Schools Groveport OH 164
Kiamichi Technology Center - Poteau Poteau OK 167
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau MO 169
Southern Oklahoma Technology Center Ardmore OK 172
Great Rivers Vocational Technical School Mcgehee AR 182
Alaska Vocational Technical Center Seward AK 210
American Center for Technical Arts and Sciences Philadelphia PA 217
Louisiana Technical College - Hammond Area Campus Hammond LA 218
Louisiana Technical College - Avoyelles Campus Cottonport LA 219
Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center Roosevelt UT 223
Louisiana Technical College - Folkes Campus Jackson LA 230
Louisiana Technical College - Northeast La Campus Winnsboro LA 230
Tulsa Technology Center - Lemley Campus Tulsa OK 243
Star Technical Institute Philadelphia PA 251
Foothills Technical Institute Searcy AR 279
Rolla Technical Institute Rolla MO 280
Louisiana Technical College - Alexandria Campus Alexandria LA 300
Davis Applied Technology College Kaysville UT 324
Akron Adult Vocational Services Akron OH 325
Louisiana Technical College - Natchitoches Campus Natchitoches LA 345
Gallia Jackson Vinton Joint Vocational School District Rio Grande OH 355
Medix Schools Smyrna GA 389
Southern Hills Joint Vocational School District Georgetown OH 402
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines IA 409
North Central Kansas Technical College Beloit KS 411
Metro Technology Centers Oklahoma City OK 434
Taylor Technical Institute Perry FL 441
Arkansas Valley Technical Institute Ozark AR 455
Louisiana Technical College - Lafourche Campus Thibodaux LA 482
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke VA 508
Louisiana Technical College - Slidell Campus Slidell LA 531
Sandersville Technical College Sandersville GA 601
Flint River Technical College Thomaston GA 605
Mt Diablo Adult Education Concord CA 637
Louisiana Technical College - Delta - Ouachita Campus West Monroe LA 652
H Councill Trenholm State Technical College Montgomery AL 663
San Joaquin Valley College - Fresno Fresno CA 669
Lake Technical Center Eustis FL 669
Montgomery Community College Troy NC 674
Ozarka College Melbourne AR 737
Swainsboro Technical College Swainsboro GA 775
Northern Maine Community College Presque Isle ME 784
Lurleen B Wallace Community College Andalusia AL 802
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen AR 815
Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield ME 834
Louisiana Technical College - Sullivian Campus Bogalusa LA 849
Bowling Green Technical College Bowling Green KY 854
Lackawanna College Scranton PA 877
South Arkansas Community College El Dorado AR 905
Arkansas State University - Mountain Home Mountain Home AR 916
Texas State Technical College - West Texas Sweetwater TX 948
Appalachian Technical College Jasper GA 950
Sarasota County Technical Institute Sarasota FL 963
University of Arkansas Community College - Batesville Batesville AR 1024
Our Lady of the Lake College Baton Rouge LA 1053
Heart of Georgia Technical College Dublin GA 1068
Altamaha Technical College Jesup GA 1110
Southeastern Technical College Vidalia GA 1139
Independence Community College Independence KS 1144
Hannibal - Lagrange College Hannibal MO 1150
University of Arkansas Community College - Hope Hope AR 1176
San Juan Basin Technical College Mancos CO 1198
West Georgia Technical College Lagrange GA 1201
Western Texas College Snyder TX 1233
Black River Technical College Pocahontas AR 1239
Alabama Southern Community College Monroeville AL 1261
Okefenokee Technical College Waycross GA 1263
West Shore Community College Scottville MI 1273
Kirtland Community College Roscommon MI 1307
Bainbridge College Bainbridge GA 1311
Lawson State Community College - Bessemer Campus Bessemer AL 1314
South Georgia Technical College Americus GA 1319
East Arkansas Community College Forrest City AR 1358
North Florida Community College Madison FL 1358
Moultrie Technical College Moultrie GA 1376
Umpqua Community College Roseburg OR 1386
Nicolet Area Technical College Rhinelander WI 1415
East Central Technical College Fitzgerald GA 1434
Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville GA 1465
North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville GA 1482
Jefferson Community College Steubenville OH 1482
Northwestern Technical College Rock Spring GA 1500
Belmont Technical College Saint Clairsville OH 1524
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