Emergency medical technicians are among the first responders to automobile accidents, natural disaster and other emergencies. After arriving on scene, EMTs secure the area and preform triage on the seriously wounded and transfer other patients to area hospitals as needed. Most EMTs are men, although women are entering the profession in greater numbers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 31 percent of EMTs were women, according to BLS data from 2012. EMTs undergo intensive training and certification. A number of providers offer accelerated EMT certification programs to aspiring EMTs.
Different types of companies and organizations offer accelerated EMT certification, including private companies like Pelham Training in Indiana and the California-based Unitek Education. Specialty medical service providers, including the Seymour Ambulance Association in Connecticut and Fast Response School of Health Care Education in California, sponsor accelerated EMT-certification programs. Similar accelerated EMT programs include those at community colleges, such as Mid-Plains Community College in Nebraska.
Each certification course includes training on basic and advanced EMT topics. Each program uses different curriculum, but generally includes instruction on basic anatomy and physiology, airway management, assessment of patients and treatment of traumatic injuries. The accelerated courses also cover lifting, moving and transferring patients from an emergency scene. Courses include both classroom work and applied practical training in emergency rooms and ambulances.
Certification programs, especially those at community colleges, often require students to hold a high school diploma or GED. Most programs mandate that participants hold current healthcare provider or professional rescuer CPR certification from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or National Safety Council. Other prerequisites the candidate must fulfill before starting the program include passing a background check and being up to date on all immunizations.
Participants must be at least 18 to start an accelerated program, although a few programs permit people 16 or older take the course with signed parental permission. In addition to certification courses, EMTs must pass a national exam from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Passing the NREMT exam enables an EMT to receive National EMS Certification. Most programs offer the test at the end of the program and include its cost in tuition fees. Depending on the program, class materials may be included in the cost or students may have to purchase items like textbooks, workbooks and study materials separately. EMT students must also be able to lift 100 pounds and pass a background check.
Although the exact time frame of each program varies, most generally take two weeks to complete. Typically, students attend class for 10 to 12 hours each day of the program's period. For example, the Pelham Training course takes two weeks to complete with students attending class from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for 14 consecutive days. The number of clinical hours each program requires varies too, from 10 to 20 hours of practical work in an emergency room and ambulance setting.
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