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How to Become an EMT

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are highly-trained people who save the lives of countless disaster victims. If you want to join the ranks of those who devote their lives to saving the lives of others, follow these steps to become a licensed EMT.

  1. Decide if being an EMT is the career you really want. If you have previous training, arrange to volunteer as an EMT. If you have no previous training, you can arrange to do some job shadowing [source: EMT Career]. Keep in mind that EMTs put in long hours (typically between 40 and 60 hours a week).
  2. Contact a local EMT training center, or a school or college that offers an accredited EMT course. Every state has its own criteria and prerequisites for becoming an EMT. Make sure you have the necessary prerequisites before applying for the course.
  3. Take the necessary coursework. In the first course, EMT I, you'll learn basic skills, such as triage, CPR and treating trauma victims. In the next two courses, EMT II and EMT III, you'll be trained to be an intermediate-level EMT. After passing these courses you'll be qualified to give IVs and use special equipment. [source: EMT Training]
  4. Take the state licensing exam. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. However, most states require EMTs to renew their license every two years.
  5. Take the certifying exam. If you want to be a certified EMT, take the exam administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Certification is optional and can be renewed every two years. [source: EMT License].