The Different Levels Of EMT

Emergency Medical Technicians undergo several levels of training which provide a great and clear idea of how your career as an EMT might progress over the years. The great news is that with each higher level you achieve your earnings potential also increases. This is particularly important considering that the cost of training courses drastically increases as you move up the levels.

So what are the different levels of EMT. Pretty much all states distinguish between 3 levels of EMT: EMT-Basic (EMT-B), EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I), and EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P). While all states simply refer to EMT Basic and EMT Paramedic, a lot of states use different description for EMT Intermediate, which we will get to shortly


EMT-Basic (EMT-B):

This is the level that you will start at when you first start your career as an EMT. At this level you will be trained in the basic procedures of patient care, and a basic level of illness and injury diagnosis and first treatment. The main focus for an EMT-B is fast and basic on the scene treatment and transport to a hospital or other medical provider.

In most states basic training is conducted over a 6 to15 week period and consists of a minimum of 120 hours of classroom training and clinical placement.

The things you will be qualified to perform are set by your state’s Emergency Medical Services Agency. Generally speaking an EMT-B is qualified and licensed to perform basic assessment and non-invasive treatment but to give you an idea here are a few things:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Automated External Defibrillation (AED)
  • mechanical ventilation using bag-valve mask
  • pulse oximetry
  • glucometer
  • splinting of limbs and spinal immobilization


EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I):

This is a level that has many different references in throughout the USA. Some states have two levels of EMT-I, some states are phasing out EMT-I and other states refer to it simply as Advanced EMT. To avoid any confusion here, we will simply refer to EMT-I, but you should check our state specific information by clicking on the map on the home page.

This level is achieved through a combination of intermediate level training and passing of related exams.

Just like the EMT-B level, the procedures allowed to be performed by and EMT-I differ by state, but generally speaking they would include all the above listed treatments and may include the following:

  • basic airway management
  • administration of intravenous non-medical fluids like saline
  • administration of epinephrine (with limits on the concentration)
  • administration of medications such as glucagons, naloxone, albuterol and nitrous oxide



This is the highest level of Emergency Medical Technician and is achieved after extensive training and examination usually over an 18 to 24 months period. In some states you will be awarded with a degree upon passing your exams, which is a fantastic achievement to aim for.

Just like with the other two level of EMT each state dictates what a Paramedic is allowed to perform as part of patient assessment and treatment. Paramedics usually work closely with EMTs of different levels as well as with other Emergency Services in order to assure the best possible patient care.

Some of the additional responsibilities and procedures may include:

  • spinal and fracture injury management in the field
  • assistance in child birth
  • advanced airways management including surgical
  • administration of medicines including narcotic pain relief, sedatives, anti-psychotics and cardiac medication

As you can see, the procedures a Paramedic is trained to perform are quite extensive, which explains the reason for the years of training required.

The great thing about a career in the Emergency Medical Services is that you can start off your career and entry level that does not require years of training and effort. Once you start your first job you will most likely be exposed to situations where you will be able to observe EMTs with qualifications at different levels. This will give you a chance to decide on the job whether or not the higher levels are something that you would want to aim for or not.