Most formal training programs for becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT) require a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Many institutions offer training programs, including colleges and hospitals. These courses general consist of only a few weeks of training and prepare students through hands-on experience. Most often, students ride along with an ambulance crew. Some students may learn skills in a different clinical setting, such as a hospital. Paramedics must seek out additional education, usually in the form of a two-year associate degree. Often, a background in biology is extremely helpful for an EMT.
After completing the basic education program, individuals must pass a standardized exam offered through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and a background check for licensure.
While only the basic program is required for licensure, many EMTs expand their skillset through continuing education courses. For example, courses are offered on how to drive an ambulance. While the training session generally only lasts eight hours, it makes an individual much more competitive in the job market.