How to become an emt

The rewards of being an EMT are immeasurable, but it is not a job for everyone. Do some self-examination before you decide to take an EMT training class. Here are some things to consider:

  • Being an EMT is a substantial time commitment.
    • Do you have the time to take a 4-6 month training class (~100 hours of classroom training)?
    • Do you have the time to do on-the-job training for an additional 4-6 months?
    • After your training is complete, can you commit to a consistent 12+ hours/month to work on the road as an EMT?
    • Do you have the time to attend quarterly mandatory training classes?
  • Can you handle the sight & smell of body fluids (blood, urine, vomit, feces), deep cuts, broken bones, needles, etc.?
  • Can you handle stressful situations?
  • How is your strength? If you had a partner, could you carry a 200+ pound patient down a flight of stairs?
  • Can you make decisions?
  • Do you have good communication skills?
  • Are you a team player?

If you think being an EMT is the right job for you, see Where to take an EMT Original class.

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How to become an EMT

Instead of focusing on “How long does it take to become an EMT?” which the answer to that is roughly 16 weeks, it is better to realize that an EMT career begins with certification, but learning doesn’t end there. EMT education requirements are an ongoing process of continuing medical education (CME) courses being a cornerstone of your career. This can be done online, at community colleges by taking summer EMT classes or at conventions like EMS PRO Expo, where certified CME credits are provided.

PRO tip: Steps on how to become an emergency medical technician

  1. Research your state certification EMT education requirements
  2. Choose an online or local community college or university and sign up for EMT basic training
  3. Complete the required hours, typically around 150
  4. Take the national or state exams*

*PRO tip: national certification allows you to move anywhere in the country since EMT education and training requirements vary from state to state

Now that you are on the path to becoming a certified emergency medical technician, or have recently completed your EMT requirements, advancing your career as a paramedic can improve your income along with opening up further job opportunities in the EMS world. When asking “How long does it take to become a paramedic”, the answer can vary widely based on your time availability and career goals.

Some choose to get their paramedic associate’s degree, while others might shoot for a bachelor’s degree to get a final career position as a clinical supervisor or paramedic training manager. Your career goals and choices will influence how many years it takes you to become a paramedic. The average is typically 2-4 years, and depending on where you live can almost double your income.

Although more rigorous, obtaining the position of a paramedic allows you to perform advanced life support (ALS) and become the lead member of your rescue team. If you excel in leadership roles and find yourself thriving in crisis situations, this might the perfect job for you. If you are unsure, attend an EMS convention like EMS PRO Expo and meet with career veterans to network and see if becoming a paramedic is good for you. Join the team and come see us at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, where we can help you be the best emergency medical technician you can.

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1. Meet the Prerequisites and Get Educated

There are several prerequisites for becoming an EMT. The first set of rules you need to be eligible for include:

  • Pass a legal background check
  • Be over the age of 18 to operate ambulances and equipment
  • Be over the age of 18 to go through basic education

After these prerequisites are met, an individual can apply for certification. Education includes at least 10 hours of hands-on experience in a hospital emergency environment or an approved EMT setting. Remember that there is an exam process to certify you as an EMT.

EMT Training in Washington State

EMT training in Washington State is offered at many schools and Universities. Most Washington EMT schools only offer the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), and Paramedic programs for study.

When signing up for a Washington Paramedic program, you want to make sure the course is accredited. For a list of accredited programs in Washington state scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Good EMT training schools will teach students to quickly respond to emergency situations and transport the sick and injured while providing life saving care. Washington State EMT training programs will prepare graduates to complete patient care assessments, identify signs and symptoms, and perform the proper patient care interventions.

After graduating from EMT training students will be able to perform life-saving skills and respond to emergency situations. Some of these life-saving skills include stabilizing fractures, controlling bleeding, and administering oxygen. Common emergency situations an EMT will respond to are cardiac arrest, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and gunshot wounds.

Washington State EMT’s also have additional training which allows them to administer epinephrine to patients in anaphylactic shock, place intermediate airway devices, and use semi-automated external defibrillators.

EMT Training Washington State Tulip FieldsWashington State Tulip Fields

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EMT School Requirements Washington State

Washington State EMT training programs have a set of requirements which must be met in order to be accepted into the different levels of EMT training.

Each Washington EMT training program can add requirements, but in general most schools will want the following standards met.

• EMT training in Washington State applicants can be 17 years of age prior to the first day of EMT course. However, they must be 18 years old by the end of the EMT training program.

• EMT programs in Washington State require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

• EMT training in Washington State requires applicants complete the American Heart Association BLS – CPR for the Healthcare Provider. An acceptable alternative is American Red Cross BLS – CPR for the professional rescuer. (Some EMT programs include this as part of the course instead of as a prerequisite.)

• EMT training in Washington State applicants must have a current first aid card.

• Some EMT training in Washington State will require a 4-hour Infectious Disease Prevention for EMS Provider’s class or 7 hours of HIV/AIDS education. (This is also a requirement for EMT certification in Washington.)

• Some EMT programs in Washington State require a current Drivers License.

• EMT training in Washington State requires candidates have Current Medical Insurance verification to begin the program. Students will need to remain insured throughout the EMT training program.

• EMT training in Washington State requires a 10-panel urine drug test within the last 3 months for all candidates.

• Applicants for EMT training in Washington State must have a TB skin test completed within the last 12 months.

• EMT training in Washington State requires applicants show proof of immunizations or titers for the following:

– MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) – Varicella (Chicken Pox) – Tetanus, TD, or TDaP depending on the EMT program.

• EMT programs in Washington State require applicants show proof they have begun the Hepatitis B series of vaccinations.

• EMT programs in Washington State require a flu vaccine within the last year.

• Some EMT programs in Washington State will require students to complete an English, Math, or Reading class as a requirement for school enrollment.

• EMT training in Washington state requires applicants to pass a finger-print based National Background check. May need to be done within 3-6 months of application deadline.

While researching EMT training in Washington State you may find some programs mention that applicants should be affiliated. Not all schools require affiliation to complete EMT training, but eventually you will have to become affiliated to obtain Washington EMT state certification.

What do you mean I have to be affiliated or associated?

An important factor for Washington State EMT certification is the requirement that all candidates be associated, aka affiliated, with a qualifying EMS agency or law enforcement agency.

This means the candidate needs to volunteer with or be employed by a Fire agency, EMS agency, Law Enforcement agency, or a business with an organized industrial safety team that has an affiliation number with the State of Washington.

Some EMT schooling programs in Washington State will give affiliated applicants priority for registration. They will then give any leftover seats to non-affiliated applicants. It’s even possible for all seating in an EMT training class to be filled by affiliated students.

It is possible to get accepted into an EMT program in Washington State, complete the course, and take the National Registry of EMT exam without any affiliation. However, within a year the EMT candidate will need to obtain affiliation in order to receive Washington State EMT certification.

Washington State EMT License-Flag

Washington State AEMT License Requirements

In addition to most of the EMT requirements listed above, AEMTs must also meet the following standards.

• Required to be a licensed or certified EMT for at least one year.

• Must submit copy of current AEMT course completion certificate.

• Must complete and pass both the written and practical skills National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician AEMT certification examinations.

EMT Training in Washington State Paramedic

EMT Scope of Practice

The EMT scope of practice is a set of Washington State EMS protocols that guide Emergency Medical Response Personnel. EMT scope of practice helps all levels of emergency medical responders to provide pre-hospital emergency medical care and treatment interventions for patients.

Generally, Washington State EMS personnel provide care in compliance with the Department of Health and under the authority of the Medical Program Director.

The Medical Program Director approves patient care protocols which are skills and interventions that EMS personnel can perform. There are some procedures in the Washington State scope of practice that require specialized training or certification in order for EMTs to be allowed to perform them.

Skills covered in the National EMS Scope of Practice Model are also included in Washington State scope of practice and will not need extra training. Here is the scope of practice EMT training in Washington State allows for.

EMT Scope of Practice – Airway

1. Can perform Head Tilt/Chin Lift and Modified Chin Lift 2. Can perform Jaw Thrust 3. Can apply Cricoid Pressure 4. Can use Oral and Nasal Airways 5. Can give Humidified Oxygen via Mask or Cannula 6. Can apply Nasal Cannula 7. Can apply Non-rebreather and Partial rebreather mask 8. Can apply Venturi mask and Pocket mask 9. Can give Positive Pressure Ventilation with Bag Valve Mask 10. Can give Positive Pressure Ventilation using Manually Triggered Demand Valve 11. Can manually Remove Airway Obstructions 12. Can do Upper Airway Suctioning

EMT Scope of Practice – Trauma

1. Can apply Manual Cervical Spine Stabilization 2. Can place a Cervical Collar 3. Can apply Spinal Motion Restriction / Immobilization – from standing, seated, or supine position 4. Can apply both manual and mechanical Extremity Injury Immobilization 5. Can Irrigate Eyes 6. Can Control Hemorrhage using Direct Pressure, Hemostatic Agent, and Tourniquet 7. Can apply MAST or PASG (Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garments) 8. Can apply mechanical Patient Restraint Device

EMT Scope of Practice – Cardiovascular

1. Can do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – both manual and mechanical 2. Can apply both Semi-Automated and Automated External Defibrillation

EMT Scope of Practice – Patient AssessmentEMT Scope of Practice Blood Glucose

1. Can take Blood Pressure, Pulse, Respirations and Pulse Oximetry 2. Can Assess Blood Glucometry using capillary puncture 3. Can place 12 Lead ECG for computerized analysis and transmission

EMT Scope of Practice – Medical

1. Can assist Childbirth – Normal Delivery 2. Can assist Childbirth – Complicated Delivery

EMT Scope of Practice – Medications

1. Emergency Medical Technician can assist with patient’s prescribed medications using the following routes. 2. Can administer Oral, Buccal, Sublingual, and intranasal medications 3. Can administer Inhalation medications using Metered Dose Inhalers 4. Can administer Intramuscular (IM) medications using Auto Injector 5. Can give Oxygen Therapy 6. Can give Aspirin and glucose orally 7. Can give Nitroglycerine Sublingually 8. Can use Inhalation for Bronchodilator / Beta Agonist 9. Can give Nerve Agent Antidote Kit and Epinephrine using Intramuscular Auto Injector

AEMT Scope of Practice

A Washington State Advanced EMT can do everything listed above for an EMT and EMT IV along with the following procedures.

Subcutaneous Insulin InjectionSubcutaneous Insulin Injection

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1. Can administer Inhalation medications using Nebulizers and Aerosolized 2. Can give Subcutaneous Injections 3. Can give Bronchodilator / Beta Agonist using a Nebulizer 4. Can give Hypoglycemic Medications (Ex: D50, Glucagon) 5. Can administer Naloxone IV 6. Can administer Nitrous Oxide 7. Can give Nitroglycerine Transdermally

Paramedic Scope of Practice

A Washington State Paramedic can perform all the skills of an EMT and AEMT listed above along with the following procedures.

1. Can Transport ventilator with adjustments beyond rate and tidal volume. 2. Can use Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) 3. Can Remove an Airway Obstruction using Direct Laryngoscopy 4. Can perform Oral and Nasal Endotracheal Intubation 5. Can use Pharmacological facilitation of Intubation 6. Can perform Surgical and Percutaneous (Needle) Cricothyrotomy 7. Can perform Pleural Chest Decompression 8. Can Monitor Chest Tube 9. Can Place OG and NG Tubes 10. Can perform Tracheal Bronchial Suctioning of an already intubated patient 11. Can perform manual Defibrillation, Cardioversion, and Transcutaneous Pacing 12. Can perform a Pericardiocentesis and Carotid Massage 13. Can draw Cardiac Enzymes

Paramedic Blood Draw 14. Can perform Eye Irrigation with Morgan Lens 15. External Jugular Insertion and Infusion in an Adult 16. Can infuse a Central Venous Line 17. Can Manage a Controlled Delivery Device IV Pump 18. Can apply Transdermal and Topical Medications 19. Can administer Medications via Endotracheal, nasogastric, and rectal routes 20. Can administer medications via a Central Venous Line 21. Can Administer Controlled Substances 22. Can give Nitroglycerine via IV 23. Can Initiate and Maintain Thrombolytic Therapy 24. Can give Emergency Cardiac Medications 25. Can give Benzodiazepines for sedation or for seizures 26. Can give other medications for sedation (Ex: Ketamine, Etomidate) 27. Can Maintain Pre-existing Blood or Blood Product Infusions

Accredited Paramedic Programs

In Washington State paramedic training programs must be accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP). Here is a list of some Washington State Approved CoAEMSP accredited paramedic programs.

Central Washington University Address: Department of Health Sciences, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg WA 98926 Program Director: Keith A. Monosky, PhD, MPM, EMT-P ([email protected]) Phone: 509) 963-1098 Medical Director: Jackson Horsley, MD

Class information Class Size: 30 Begins: September • Class Length: 12 months for certificate, two years concentration for degree • Tuition Costs for Degree: Resident: $12,213 per year; non-Resident: $25,026 per year (2015-2016 academic year) • Award: Diploma, Certificate, BS in Paramedicine

College of Emergency Services Address: 9800 S.E. McBrod Ave. Suite 200, Milwaukie OR 97222 Program Director: William Thrasher, B.S., EMT-P ([email protected]) Phone: 971) 236-9231 Medical Director: Lynn Wittwer, MD

Class information • Class Capacity: 24 Begins: Every 10 months. • Tuition and Fees: $10,560.00 per course, plus books. • Award: Certificate

Columbia Basin Community College Address: 2600 N. 20th Ave. MS R-2, Pasco Washington 99301 Program Director: Troy Stratford, B.S. EMT-P ([email protected]) Phone: 509) 544-8320 Medical Director: Dr. Kevin Hodges, MD

Class information • Class Capacity: 21; begins: January; Length: 18 months • Award: Certificate, AAS

Harborview Medical Center – University of Washington Address: 325 9th Ave. Mail Stop: 359727, Seattle WA 98104 Program Director: David Carlbom, MD Phone: 206) 521-1224 Medical Director: Michael Sayre, MD

Class information • Class Capacity: 24; begins: October; length: 10 months • Tuition: Sponsorship by Regional EMS Employers ONLY • Award: Certificate

Inland Northwest Health Services Address: 601 W. 1st, Spokane WA 99201 Program Director: Douglas Presta, DPM, B.S., EMT-P ([email protected]) Phone: 509) 242-4264 Medical Director: Joel Edminster, MD

Class information • Class Capacity: 24 • Tuition: scholarships available • Award: Certificate of Completion

Tacoma Community College Address: 6501 S. 19th St.Tacoma, WA 98466 Program Director: Melissa Stoddard ([email protected]) Phone: 253) 566-5219 Medical Director: Joseph Hoffman, MD

Class information • Class Capacity: 24 Begins: September Length: nine months or 18 months • Tuition Costs: Resident: about $5400; non-resident: about $9,800 • Award: Certificate, APA (Associate of Applied Science)

Tacoma Fire Department Address: 2124 Marshall Ave.,Tacoma WA 98421 Program Director: Chris Rock Phone: 253) 591-5149 Medical Director: James Billingsley, MD

Class information • Class Capacity: 12; begins: winter; length: 15 months • Tuition: $9,500 per year • Award: Certificate • Prerequisites: Applicants must be employed and sponsored by a career fire department that provides Advanced Life Support and be a member in good standing with the IAFF. Applicants must have current Washington State EMT Certification and have a minimum of 18 months experience as an EMT.

EMT Training Washington State Ross DamWashington State Ross Dam

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Want more EMT topics? Check out:

• The Pediatric Assessment Triangle

• EMS Boot Buying Guide & Top 10 Boots List

• Taking a SAMPLE History & OPQRST Pain Assessment

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