How Volunteer EMTs Work

Volunteer EMT Requirements

Offering your time as an emergency medical service (EMS) volunteer is unlike other community volunteer programs. In order to be certified, emergency medical technician (EMT) students must log somewhere between 40 and 1,000 hours of class time, practical experience and on-the-job training based on their level of certification [source: AMA].

But before you begin the rigorous process of EMT training, there are some basic requirements with which you should become familiar.


Meeting most of these requirements should come naturally -- they have to do with the quality of your physical and mental status. Providing emergency medical care is a risky business, and the people who take on these jobs need to be ready for its physical, mental and emotional challenges. Here are some basic requirements to work as an EMT:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have clear vision (glasses and contacts are OK)
  • Have accurate color vision
  • Be able to lift and carry heavy objects
  • Be in excellent physical condition
  • Be emotionally stable
  • Have earned a high school diploma or GED (required in most cases)

If you meet the above requirements, you're ready to start the six- to 24-month process of EMT training and certification. In order to volunteer as an EMT, you'll need certification from an EMS program that is recognized by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians [sources: US Labor, AMR].

Knowing the requirements is just the first step -- now you'll need to complete EMT training in order to become a fully-certified EMT volunteer. On the next page, you'll find details on where EMT classes can be found and how you can sign up.