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
Davenport University - Central Region Midland MI 1694
Davidson County Community College Thomasville NC 2356
Davis Applied Technology College Kaysville UT 324
Daytona Beach Community College Daytona Beach FL 10420
Dekalb Technical College Clarkston GA 3315
Del Mar College Corpus Christi TX 9936
Delaware Area Career Center Delaware OH 70
Delaware Technical and Community College - Owens Georgetown DE 3439
Delgado Community College New Orleans LA 12784
Delta College University Center MI 9358
East Arkansas Community College Forrest City AR 1358
East Central College Union MO 3190
East Central Technical College Fitzgerald GA 1434
Eastern Iowa Community College District Davenport IA 6179
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond KY 13285
Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus Roswell NM 2980
Eastland - Fairfield Career and Technical Schools Groveport OH 164
Edison College Fort Myers FL 8919
El Centro College Dallas TX 4333
El Paso Community College El Paso TX 18001
Elgin Community College Elgin IL 10174
Enterprise - Ozark Community College Enterprise AL 1590
Erie Community College - South Campus Orchard Park NY 3122
Essex County College Newark NJ 8868
Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville NC 8310
Finger Lakes Community College Canandaigua NY 4667
First Coast Technical Institute Saint Augustine FL 1634
Flint River Technical College Thomaston GA 605
Florida Community College at Jacksonville Jacksonville FL 20838
Florida Keys Community College Key West FL 1625
Foothill College Los Altos Hills CA 14193
Foothills Technical Institute Searcy AR 279
Fort Scott Community College Fort Scott KS 1677
Fox Valley Technical College Appleton WI 6806
Fresno City College Fresno CA 19351
Front Range Community College Westminster CO 12962
Gadsden State Community College Gadsden AL 4787
Gainesville State College Oakwood GA 3248
Gallia Jackson Vinton Joint Vocational School District Rio Grande OH 355
Gaston College Dallas NC 3954
Gateway Community College Phoenix AZ 7895
Gateway Technical College Kenosha WI 5741
George C Wallace Community College - Dothan Dothan AL 3612
George C Wallace State Community College - Hanceville Hanceville AL 4696
Georgia Highlands College Rome GA 2090
Glendale Community College Glendale AZ 20091
Grayson County College Denison TX 3318
Great Rivers Vocational Technical School Mcgehee AR 182
Greenville Technical College Greenville SC 10786
Griffin Technical College Griffin GA 2689
Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown NC 8008
Gulf Coast Community College Panama City FL 5341
Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville GA 4814
H Councill Trenholm State Technical College Montgomery AL 663
Hagerstown Community College Hagerstown MD 2516
Hannibal - Lagrange College Hannibal MO 1150
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg Harrisburg PA 7572
Heart of Georgia Technical College Dublin GA 1068
Henry Ford Community College Dearborn MI 12742
Hibbing Community College - A Technical and Community College Hibbing MN 3143
Hillsborough Community College Tampa FL 18497
Hinds Community College Raymond MS 16032
Hocking College Nelsonville OH 5051
Houston Community College System Houston TX 40929
Howard College Big Spring TX 2260
Hudson Valley Community College Troy NY 9304
Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson KS 3466
Ihm Health Studies Center Saint Louis MO No Data
Illinois Central College East Peoria IL 11053
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges - Olney Central College Olney IL 1648
Imperial Valley College Imperial CA 6775
Independence Community College Independence KS 1144
Indian River Community College Fort Pierce FL 13186
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis IN 27525
Inver Hills Community College Inver Grove Heights MN 4304
Itawamba Community College Fulton MS 3467
Ivy Tech Community College - Kokomo Kokomo IN 1812
Ivy Tech Community College - Southwest Evansville IN 3448
Jackson Community College Jackson MI 5069
Jackson State Community College Jackson TN 3726
James A Rhodes State College Lima OH 2521
Jefferson College Hillsboro MO 3876
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke VA 508
Jefferson Community College Steubenville OH 1482
Johnson County Community College Overland Park KS 16383
Jones County Junior College Ellisville MS 4514
Kalamazoo Valley Community College Kalamazoo MI 9319
Kankakee Community College Kankakee IL 3120
Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City KS 5238
Kapiolani Community College Honolulu HI 6760
Kellogg Community College Battle Creek MI 5300
Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield ME 834
Kiamichi Technology Center - Atoka Atoka OK 59
Kiamichi Technology Center - Hugo Hugo OK 84
Kiamichi Technology Center - Mcalester Mcalester OK 162
Kiamichi Technology Center - Poteau Poteau OK 167
Kiamichi Technology Center - Stigler Stigler OK 95
Kilgore College Kilgore TX 4000
Kirksville Area Technical Center Kirksville MO 56
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids IA 11645
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