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Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

3 tips to finding the right EMT course

Follow this advice to find the training program that's best for you

By Greg Friese, EMS1 Editor-in-Chief

An Everyday EMS reader asked, "I want to become an EMT. How do I find an EMT course?"

The ease of finding your options and choosing an EMT course depends a lot on where you live, how far you are willing to travel, and how soon you want to enroll and complete the course. Here are three steps that can help streamline the process.

1. Ask around

Ask local EMS providers where they completed their EMT training. It's possible their EMS organization, squad or department offers a course in-house.

While you're at it, inquire if you can observe or attend an in-house continuing-education session, which might give you insights into an EMS training experience and the camaraderie of the organization.

2. Use your state website

Visit your state EMS office's website. Some states are required to authorize EMT course providers, and may have a list of approved training centers. Most states also have a state association, which may link to EMT course providers.

The state EMS website is also a good place to find and review the minimum requirements to become certified or licensed as an EMT. Before starting a course, make sure you understand and meet qualifications in regards to the minimum age to be licensed, driving record and criminal record.

3. Research individual training centers

For each training center:

  • Visit the website and read information about the program.
  • Ensure the EMT course curriculum is based on the National EMS Education Standards.
  • Ask how the program specifically prepares students for a state certification exam and the National Registry EMT exam.
  • Ask about student support services to help with reading course materials, completing math assignments or improving test-taking skills.
  • Ask about the percentage of students who complete the course, who fulfill the course requirements, and who pass the state certification and NREMT on the first, second and third attempts.

Once you have selected a training center and enrolled in an EMT course prepare yourself for success. Before the course starts:

  • Review the course requirements and time commitments with your spouse, family and employer.
  • Begin reading the textbook or read about the real world of EMS in Paramedico, Responding, or Paramedic.
  • View basic arithmetic and medical math videos from the Kahn Academy.
  • Improve your health and wellness. Exercise regularly, eat better, quit smoking and get enough sleep.

Have you recently completed an EMT course? How did you find a training center? What are your tips for aspiring EMT students?

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Marquez First-Response Marquez First-Response Tuesday, June 24, 2014 7:45:25 PM Good Advice.
Bill R. Young Bill R. Young Saturday, June 28, 2014 2:09:59 PM Excellent advice Greg. I would also add that I would inquire with the state EMS office as to whether disciplinary action had been taken against the school. This information is considered an open record in many, if not most states.
Bill J. Hufford Bill J. Hufford Saturday, June 28, 2014 2:10:12 PM

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