How To Become An EMT – General Info

Many people are tempted to start a career as an Emergency Medical Technician, and if you are one of them then you have probably found it a little difficult to understand what is required of you to become an EMT. The decision is made more difficult, as the requirements vary from state to state, but there are a few things to keep in mind that can be listed in a general way.

In this article we will provide you with some very general rules and requirements that you should be aware of. If you do decide to take the step towards becoming an EMT then you should use the map below to take you to your state specific requirements and information about the training and application process.


The General Requirements

There are some requirements and restrictions that all states have, and these include being at least 18 years of age, having a criminal background check, taking an approved EMT course and passing the relevant exams. The process for these differs from state to state you should at least know that these are requirements prior to planning to become an EMT.


Criminal Background Check

EMT TrainingWhile the process for the criminal background check varies from state to state, what does remain the same is that certain criminal convictions will not allow you to become a licensed EMT. Some states publish the specific felony crimes they do not allow, while others suggest contacting the local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency for further details. In all states, however, applications with criminal convictions are reviewed on an individual basis to assess the details of the crime. If you have a criminal conviction it definitely makes sense to find out first if the crime would make licensing impossible.


Approved EMT Course

It is very important that you only sign up for state approved training courses. This is relevant to both the EMT course and CPR course, if required by your state EMS Agency. Before you register and pay for an Emergency Medical Technician course it is recommended that you check with the EMS Agency in your state and verify that the training provider is indeed approved by the state.

Course length varies from state to state but generally the minimum accepted length is 120 hours which includes a clinical field placement. Usually training providers exceed this minimum hours quite a bit in order to provide as much information as possible.



Almost all states require that you pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams in order to obtain an EMT license. The NREMT examination is divided into a practical exam and a written/cognitive exam. The written exam is provided through computer based testing, while the practical exam will require you to demonstrate procedures learnt during training.

For more specific information for the state that you live in, please click on the map below which will take you to a state specific information page. This page will include requirements and information on approved training providers as well as information on the application process.