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.

No schools found or there was a problem, please try again later. (error: 6, http code: 0)

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
Yuba College Marysville CA 10295
Youngstown State University Youngstown OH 11787
Yavapai College Prescott AZ 7915
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake WI 3350
Wilson Technical Community College Wilson NC 1596
Wharton County Junior College Wharton TX 4571
Western Wisconsin Technical College La Crosse WI 4928
Western Texas College Snyder TX 1233
Western Oklahoma State College Altus OK 2296
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green KY 15481
Western Iowa Tech Community College Sioux City IA 4365
Western Carolina University Cullowhee NC 6699
Westcentral Technical College Waco GA 2032
West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling WV 2486
West Shore Community College Scottville MI 1273
West Georgia Technical College Lagrange GA 1201
Weber State University Ogden UT 16050
Weatherford College Weatherford TX 2788
Wayne County Community College District Detroit MI 9008
Waukesha County Technical College Pewaukee WI 7943
Walters State Community College Morristown TN 6163
Wake Technical Community College Raleigh NC 9654
Volunteer State Community College Gallatin TN 6567
Victoria College Victoria TX 4022
Victor Valley Community College Victorville CA 9221
Valencia Community College Orlando FL 27565
Valdosta Technical College Valdosta GA 2049
University of Toledo Toledo OH 19491
University of South Alabama Mobile AL 11673
University of Saint Francis Fort Wayne IN 1570
University of New Mexico - Main Campus Albuquerque NM 23670
University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson MS 1674
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark NJ 4666
University of Maryland - Baltimore County Baltimore MD 10759
University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette LA 15742
University of Cincinnati - Raymond Walters College Blue Ash OH 3668
University of Cincinnati - Clermont College Batavia OH 2185
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock AR 1855
University of Arkansas Community College - Hope Hope AR 1176
University of Arkansas Community College - Batesville Batesville AR 1024
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham AL 14951
Umpqua Community College Roseburg OR 1386
Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center Roosevelt UT 223
Tyler Junior College Tyler TX 8319
Tulsa Technology Center - Lemley Campus Tulsa OK 243
Tulsa Community College Tulsa OK 16270
Truckee Meadows Community College Reno NV 9930
Trinity Valley Community College Athens TX 4780
Trinidad State Junior College Trinidad CO 1921
Tri - Rivers Career Center Marion OH 65
Tidewater Community College Norfolk VA 20184
Three Rivers Community College Norwich CT 3574
The Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk MD 18168
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock TX 1719
Texas State Technical College - West Texas Sweetwater TX 948
Texas State Technical College - Harlingen Harlingen TX 3265
Texas Southmost College Brownsville TX 7776
Texarkana College Texarkana TX 3735
Temple College Temple TX 3404
Taylor Technical Institute Perry FL 441
Tarrant County College Fort Worth TX 26868
Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee FL 10816
Tacoma Community College Tacoma WA 5302
Swainsboro Technical College Swainsboro GA 775
Suny Westchester Commmunity College Valhalla NY 10819
Star Technical Institute Philadelphia PA 251
St Petersburg College Clearwater FL 19900
Springfield College Springfield MA 4722
Spokane Community College Spokane WA 7767
Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay OR 3326
Southwestern Michigan College Dowagiac MI 3047
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville IL 13351
Southwestern Community College Sylva NC 1665
Southwestern College Chula Vista CA 17994
Southwest Tennessee Community College - Union Campus Memphis TN 12194
Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville GA 1465
Southwest Baptist University Bolivar MO 3593
Southern West Virginia Community and Techn College Mt Gay WV 2574
Southern Union State Community College Wadley AL 4017
Southern Oklahoma Technology Center Ardmore OK 172
Southern Maine Community College South Portland ME 2334
Southern Hills Joint Vocational School District Georgetown OH 402
Southeastern Technical College Vidalia GA 1139
Southeastern Illinois College Harrisburg IL 2508
Southeast Arkansas College Pine Bluff AR 1955
South Texas College Mcallen TX 11319
South Suburban College South Holland IL 6751
South Plains College Levelland TX 6731
South Georgia Technical College Americus GA 1319
South Florida Community College Avon Park FL 2199
South Central College North Mankato MN 3220
South Arkansas Community College El Dorado AR 905
Snow College Ephraim UT 2999
Simi Valley Adult School and Career Institute Simi Valley CA 5902
Sikeston Career and Technology Center Sikeston MO 87
Shawnee State University Portsmouth OH 3280
Seminole Community College Sanford FL 9042
Schoolcraft College Livonia MI 9016
Savannah Technical College Savannah GA 2048
Sarasota County Technical Institute Sarasota FL 963
 1 2 3 >  Last ›