Instructor performing CPR on a mannequin

EMT to EMT Instructor: EMT Career Guide

How to Become an EMT Instructor: Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

Instructor performing CPR on a mannequin

We all know that EMTs play an essential role in saving the lives of people who have suffered life-threatening injuries. The services provided by medical first responders are the very definition of priceless. However, these men and women don’t become Emergency Medical Technicians on their own or overnight. They have to be trained and certified before they can step inside those ambulances or clinics—and it’s someone’s job to train them. So, as the demand for certified EMTs continues to grow at a steady pace in our country, EMT instructors will play an increasingly indispensable role in the years to come in helping to meet the demand.

EMT Instructor Job Description

What Does an EMT Instructor Do?

Simply put, an EMT/EMS Instructor’s job is to help as many students as possible complete their required EMT training program while preparing them to take the NREMT certification exam. For every new EMT who enters the field, an EMT instructor has prepared them with the necessary knowledge and skills to do their job. The stakes are always high in emergency medical care, and quality instructors are always needed.

The day-to-day responsibilities of an EMT instructor include:

  • Teaching EMT courses, such as patient treatment, trauma, patient assessment, and emergency medical conditions.
  • Demonstrating practical skills, such as patient transportation, immobilizations, and cardiac arrest treatment—everything you’ll find on the EMT psychomotor exam.
  • Preparing EMT course materials and assignments to help your students get the most out of every class hour and study session.
  • Coordinating with other departments on student training to provide the best-rounded educational experience possible.
  • Maintaining an accurate record of grades and assignments. This may sound basic, but it’s a vital part of making sure all your hard work (and your students’ hard work) is recognized.
  • Evaluating your students’ work and assisting those who need additional instruction. Not every student will get every technique or concept the first time around, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t a potentially wonderful EMT. Part of your job is to identify the ones who can make it but might need a little extra help from their teacher.

EMT Instructor Requirements

How Do I Become an EMT Instructor?

Exact requirements will vary from state to state, but requirements typically include:

  • Current EMT certification
  • Current CPR certification
  • 120+ hours as an EMT Instructor Aide
  • A clean background check
  • Successfully passing the NAEMSE exam
  • 3+ years experience as an EMT or Paramedic

How Long Does It Take to Become an EMT Instructor?

EMT instructors will need to earn 40 credit hours of instruction before taking their certification exams. Other prerequisites, such as 16 credit hours of online training, may also be required before your official training courses can begin. Some training institutions offer the full 40-hour credit load within a single 3-day course.

In addition to your coursework, many states require up to 120 hours working as an EMT Training Aide before you can take over as lead instructor.

If your plans include teaching at a college, additional training and/or degrees may be required.

Paramedics in an ambulance

How Hard Is the EMT Instructor Training Curriculum?

For those who meet the requirements to become EMT instructors, the curriculum will not be too challenging.

To become an EMT Instructor, you must first be certified as an EMT or Paramedic, including passing the respective training courses and certification exams for either profession.

Therefore, EMT instructor candidates should be very familiar with the training curriculum. The additional training should serve to reinforce their current skills while helping to learn new approaches for passing those very same skills along to others.

In other words, as a practicing EMT or Paramedic, you’ve been down this road, and you should have very little trouble passing the EMT instructor course.

EMT Instructor Training

While the EMT courses for instructors will certainly include some additional EMT training, most of what you’ll be learning is how to teach—a very different skill that can divide good and bad candidates for the job. Just as not everyone was born to be an EMT, not everyone was born to teach. And fewer still were born to be both an EMT and a teacher. That means you’ll learn and become proficient at educational theory and philosophy, proven classroom techniques, grading, and evaluating student progress.

IC1 EMT Instructor Course

Your first EMT course for instructors (IC1) will focus primarily on the various elements of teaching future EMTs and typically takes three days to complete (or 40 credit hours).

IC2 EMT Instructor Course

For EMT instructors looking to improve their effectiveness (or enhance their resume a little), advanced EMT courses for instructors (IC2) dig deeper into the administrative and managerial side of teaching. Here, you’ll study more esoteric techniques such as leadership, research, social intelligence, mentoring, and presentation techniques.

EMT Instructor School Cost

The cost of studying to become an EMT instructor is pleasingly low, especially considering the career potential it brings. According to the National Association of EMS Educators, you can expect to pay under $400 for either the IC1 or IC2 EMT Instructor courses.

Membership in the NAEMSE comes with significant discounts on these courses, lowering the price to under $300. For more information, click here.

EMT Instructor Certification

Passing the EMT course for instructors is the first step, but it won’t automatically qualify you to be an instructor. You’ll also need to pass the EMT Instructor certification exam.

The cost for this exam is $150 (you can find a copy of the application here). And don’t worry—if you don’t pass the first time, there’s no limit to the number of times you can retake the test (and the registration fee drops to $75 after the first try).

Just be sure to study hard, get plenty of sleep the night before the test, and give it your best shot!

Remember, there are also some qualifications you’ll need to meet before taking the exam. These include:

  • Completion of your EMT course for instructors
  • A clean Felony/Conviction background check
  • Two (2) years of teaching experience under a mentor
  • A letter of recommendation from an EMT medical director
  • Proof of identification and citizenship

As an EMT instructor, you’ll need to re-certify once every three years, so be sure to keep that study guide handy (see below). You can re-certify in one of two ways:

1) Earn 12 Continuing Education course credits by attending conferences or courses, or

2) Take the NAEMSE re-certification exam.

For a list of exam locations, visit the NAEMSE link here.

Laptop draped with a stethoscope

EMT Instructor Resources

We get it… becoming an EMT instructor may seem a little complicated, but today is your lucky day because we’ve got your helpful links right here. Here are a few sites that can help make the process a lot more manageable.

Under Pressure is an excellent essay from NAEMSE graduate Angel Burba, who goes into great detail about her journey to becoming an instructor, what to expect, and her tips on how to ace every step of the way.

Additional reading and study guides can be found here. The NAEMSE recommends all these articles, books, and papers for any prospective EMT instructor. If you still have questions about the process of becoming an EMT instructor or what to expect during the course or exam after reading this article, these readings should have you covered.

A calendar of upcoming NAEMSE courses can be found here. Check the locations and the dates to find the one most convenient for you.

A full list of upcoming exam dates and locations can also be found here.

EMT Instructor Jobs

Where Do EMT Instructors Work

Like the future EMTs they instruct, EMT Instructors work in a variety of locations, alternating between traditional classroom settings and field settings for practical demonstrations and physical skills assessments.

As an EMT instructor, most of your day will be spent in traditional classroom settings. You’ll present to a seated class, all of whom will (ideally) be listening attentively and taking copious notes. The classroom size will vary from school to school, but you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect if you think back to your own EMT studies. Only this time, you’ll be the one behind the podium.

Occasionally, lab work or physical skill demonstrations may take you and your students outside the classroom. For example, you may take field trips to give the class hands-on experience with an ambulance or have them practice with their medical mannequins in outdoor settings to simulate what they’ll actually be experiencing as working EMTs.

The great thing is that you are the one responsible for creating the lesson plans and customizing the educational experience for your students. Therefore, the only person who can predict what your class will be like is you. 

An EMT instructor’s hours are typically the same as a traditional secondary educator’s day but ultimately depend on your employers. It’s possible you could be asked to teach night classes and daytime classes, for example. But for the most part, instructors can expect morning to late afternoon hours.

And as far as where you teach, that again is entirely up to you. EMT training facilities can be found in every state, and every one of those facilities needs instructors. Simply Google “EMT courses near me” or “EMT courses near [city]” to see how many opportunities for EMT instructors are out there.

Where Can I Find EMT Instructor Jobs?

You can search for EMT and EMS instructor jobs on popular job search websites such as Indeed.com and Ziprecruiter.com. You can also contact your local EMT training facilities to ask about openings. Local community colleges and trade schools are also excellent resources for finding open positions.

EMT Instructor Salary

How Much Do EMT Instructors Make?

Though the average salary* for an EMT/EMS instructor nationally is around $43,000, location plays a large factor. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary* of an EMT instructor in New York, for example, can make nearly $16,000 more than an EMT instructor in North Carolina.

(RELATED: Check out our list of the best paying cities for EMTs)

Female EMS professional comforting a man

Why Become an EMT Instructor

Teach Others to Save Lives

To paraphrase an old proverb, treat one victim, and you’ve saved one person’s life. Teach someone to save lives, and you potentially save thousands. Training the next generation of EMTs and Paramedics isn’t just a noble calling; it’s a necessary one. The country needs hard-working EMT instructors to keep ambulances and clinics staffed so that when help is needed, we won’t have to worry about whether it will come.

Interested in beginning your journey to becoming an EMT instructor? Click here for more information on our 14-Day Bootcamp: EMT Courses