If you have chosen a rewarding career as an Emergency Medical Technician, it’s important to do your research and learn about the EMT certification process. EMTs provide the public with a life-saving medical service. At times, they quite literally hold lives in their hands. Due to the high-risk nature of the position, it’s critical that these professionals receive proper EMT basic training and certification. In order to better understand this undertaking, allow us to give you a brief overview of the EMT certification process.
After completing a state-approved EMT program, you must become certified within the next two years
Certification is achieved by taking the NREMT practical skills/written exam and applying for EMT certification under a local agency. The written exam is administered by an organization called the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Their mission is to protect the public and advance the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) profession. The NREMT practical skills/written exam contains two primary components: the cognitive portion and the psychomotor portion.
The cognitive exam is a computer adaptive test, and it will contain anywhere from 70 to 120 items. Additionally, the exam will have 10 indistinguishable questions that will not affect the final score. Questions may be drawn from the entire spectrum of EMS care, including but not limited to the following: Airway, Respiration & Ventilation, Cardiology & Resuscitation, Trauma, Medical, Obstetrics/Gynecology, and EMS Operations. The cognitive exam must be completed in two hours or less. However, if a candidate does not pass the exam, they may apply to retest 15 days after their last examination. Assuming all other requirements have been met, candidates will have a total of six opportunities to pass the cognitive exam.
The cognitive exam and psychomotor skills examination
While the cognitive exam is available at local Pearson VUE testing centers, the psychomotor skills examination can typically be completed during your chosen EMT program. For instance, Unitek EMT conducts the psychomotor exam on the last day of the program. Your instructor must verify that you have demonstrated competence in the following areas during your EMT program:
- Assessment/management of both trauma & medical patients
- Cardiac arrest management
- Bag-valve-mask ventilation of an apneic patient
- Spinal immobilization (both seated and supine patient)
- Long bone fracture immobilization
- Joint dislocation immobilization
- Traction splinting
- Bleeding control/shock management
- Upper airway adjuncts and suction
- Mouth-to-mouth ventilation with supplemental oxygen & supplemental oxygen administration to a breathing patient
Passed portions of the cognitive and psychomotor exam remain valid for a 12-month period
Once a student has successfully completed the NREMT written/cognitive exam, they will be able to apply for state certification with their local county/state Emergency Medical Services authority. Local EMS agencies may have additional requirements for candidates to become Emergency Medical Technicians. These include regional scope-of-practice completion, additional processing fees, and criminal background checks. For more information, please check with your state’s EMS office.
Some “EMT schools” will provide students with exam registration and retake assistance. At Unitek EMT, students are given assistance with the exam process, which includes registering, scheduling, and paying for the exam. If a student doesn’t pass the NREMT exam on the first attempt, Unitek will pay for the student to retake the exam one additional time. It’s important to note that Unitek students must schedule their first exam attempt within 30 days of completing the EMT program. If a second attempt is needed, it must be completed within 90 days of receiving the results of the first attempt.
Emergency Medical Technicians need to seek EMT recertification every two years
For the time being, they have three options available: the traditional model, the NCCP model, or recertification via the exam. EMTs should verify with their state’s EMS Office to determine which option(s) are acceptable. However, EMTs due to recertify on or after March 2019 are required to utilize the NCCP model. To learn more about these options, verify with your instructor or check the NREMT website.
Unitek EMT is here to help Emergency Medical Technicians
Whether you’re searching for an EMT program or NREMT recertification, Unitek EMT is here to help Emergency Medical Technicians. Along with a comprehensive EMT program, Unitek EMT offers an EMT refresher and other continuing EMT education courses. If you’re interested in EMT courses, please visit our website or contact us toll free at 888-790-1458.