This website will help you become an EMT by learning more about the certification process, training requirements, and what it takes to pass the EMT test.
EMT Job Overview
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics perform emergency healthcare services and are considered part of an overall Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system. The EMS system is an emergency medical response that involves the coordination of multiple agencies and healthcare providers. EMTs and paramedics have varying levels of responsibilities depending on their training/certification, experience and other factors. Typically, an EMT will be dispatched to a scene of an injury or illness by a 911 dispatch operator. At the scene, the EMT is expected to assess a patient’s condition and determine the appropriate course of treatment.
In the United States, there are over 700,000 professionals who work in the EMS field. These professionals treat over 25 million patients each year. EMTs can work for a variety of different organizations – both paid and unpaid. About 40% of EMTs work for local fire departments. The rest work for government services, hospitals, private companies, the military or other federal agencies.
EMS personnel can be classified in many different ways depending on their training, certifications or responsibilities. Many of the classifications are defined by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) which is described in detail later. The NREMT categorizes EMS professionals in one of four categories:
Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) – A first responder whose scope of practice includes basic lifesaving interventions for critical patients. EMRs are the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency and deliver care while waiting for additional resources to arrive.
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – An EMT performs basic skills dealing with the acute management and transportation of critical patients. An EMT will perform these services at an emergency scene or between an emergency scene and a health care facility.
Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) – The AEMT serves a similar role to the EMT with the inclusion of some more limited advanced skills. The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician is considered the minimum licensure level for pateients requiring limited advanced care on site or during transport.
Paramedic – The paramedic is the top tier of the EMS system and is considered capable of performing a full range of advanced out-of-hospital care.
About The NREMT
The NREMT was founded in 1970 to provide a nationwide system for certifying EMS professionals. The NREMT is a non-profit organization that is governed by a 21 member Board of Directors who come from various segments of the EMS community. The formal mission of the NREMT is:
“To serve as the National EMS Certification organization by providing a valid, uniform process to assess the knowledge and skills required for competent practice by EMS professionals throughout their careers and by maintaining a registry of certification status.” – Mission Statement
The NREMT specifies entry requirements for EMS professionals, including the completion of a state-approved training course and the successful completion of both a written and practical EMT Test.
How To Become An EMT
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics must pass educational and training programs that are overseen by local and state governments. To begin the training programs, a candidate must have a high school diploma and hold a valid CPR credential. An EMT-Basic credential requires approximately 100 hours of specialized education involving condition assessment, trauma and cardiac emergencies, airway obstructions, field equipment and emergency management. The Advanced EMT level (sometimes referred to as an EMT-Intermendiate 1985 or 1999 level) requires approximately 1,000 hours of training in more complex topics such as advanced airway devices, medications and intravenous fluids. A paramedic candidate is required to complete both the EMT-Basic and Advanced EMT levels as well as training in more advanced medical skills. Typical Paramedic programs require about 1,300 hours of training and can take up to 2 years to complete.
After completion of the appropriate formal education program, an EMT or Paramedic candidate will then need to pass the required EMT Test based on their certification level. The final step to becoming an EMT is to receive your state license, whose requirements vary by state.
NREMT Test Overview
Currently, the NREMT offers certification exams for: First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate/85, EMT-Intermediate/99 and EMT-P (Paramedic). An EMT test is delivered via a computer and consist of multiple choice questions with four possible answers. The exams are delivered in a computer adaptive test format which adapts the difficulty of the questions based on how a student has answered previous questions. This approach means that students taking the same test may see anywhere from 70 to 130 questions.
To take an NREMT exam, the following process is recommended:
Create an account and login at the NREMT.org site
Complete an online application for the National Registry. Note: This application will require you to specify any felony convictions.
Pay an application fee which is non-refundable and non-transferable
After these steps are performed, you will receive an “Authorization to Test” (ATT) which will specify complete examination information such as scheduling instructions, locations of test centers and required identification.
How To Pass the EMT Test
There are many tips and tricks to help you pass your EMT test. Here are a few of the best, most practical study tips:
Take the formal training class seriously – Many students don’t get serious about studying for the exam until after their formal training programs are complete – this is too late! To successfully pass your NREMT exam, you must learn the material presented in class. To make the most out of your classroom time, we recommend:
Paying attention in class – if you find mind wandering during class, you will not learn the material and you will not pass your exam. Many people find it helpful to sit in the front of the class to insure that you stay focused and on task.
Taking good notes – Creating good study notes is essential. Making old fashioned flashcards can also be effective in helping you memorize various facts.
Reading the material prior to class – To get the most out of class, we recommend that you read the book/class material prior to class. When you do this, you will then be able to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts as the instructor is reviewing the material.
See what you know with practice exams – Taking sample tests is an excellent way of determining what information you already know, and what topics you are weak on. Practice exams also allow you to manage your test anxiety, get a handle on you time allocation and gain some confidence. Go to www.test-guide.com/EMT-Test to see some EMT Test samples.
Learn some basic test taking tips – General test taking tips work well for an EMT test. These tips include relaxation, reading the entire question and answer choices carefully, eliminating obvious wrong answers, and sticking with your first answer.