EMT School: The Ultimate Guide

Published on: October 31, 2023


If your goal is to become a firefighter, emergency care technician at a hospital, or ambulance driver, the first step on any of those paths is becoming certified at an EMT school. Though the process can be daunting at first, a good school will become your partner and walk you through the steps that it takes to become certified.

EMT school is also for those who are planning on obtaining a higher level of medical training such as RN, PA or MD as an enhancement for the competitive application process for those professions. No matter where you decide to go with it, this is your ultimate guide on how to successfully complete EMT school in California.

This guide to EMT school covers common questions and concerns such as:

The 5 steps to become an EMT

EMT school prerequisites

How to check the credibility of an EMT school

The 5 steps to become an EMT school are:

STEP 1: Meet all of the requirements or prerequisites for the EMT school

STEP 2: Complete an EMT basic course at a credible EMT school, including ride-alongs

STEP 3: Register, Schedule & Pass the National Registry Exam

STEP 4: Complete the Live Scan fingerprinting background check

STEP 5: Take all necessary documents and apply for certification at an EMS agency

How long does EMT school take?

The length of time commitment required for certification will depend on what prerequisites you already have, and what certification you are looking for. Before enrolling in an EMT school, be sure that you meet all of their prerequisites. Most schools just require a high school diploma and a current CPR card.

An EMT basic course can be as short as four weeks with CIEMT’s accelerated courses, and up to 3 months long if you go to a university. All of our courses include 21 total days of instruction. The four-week courses are at night and are 5 days a week, the seven-week courses are in the morning and are three days a week, and the nine-week courses are at our Wilson campus in Hawthorne.

These fast-track courses are not for everyone, certainly not for anyone who is not willing to put in hard work every day and seriously study outside of class time. Remember, our goal is not for you to pass the course, it is to prepare you to pass the NREMT exam so that you can go on to become an EMT.

How to Check the Credibility of an EMT School

The #1 thing to look for when checking out the credibility of an EMT school are their pass rates for the National Registry EMT Certification exam. Equally important is to check HOW MANY students attempted the exam (smaller numbers could be skewed by a select group of students).

Another important data point is how many students enrolled in and passed the EMT basic course; a high passing rate indicates effective and credible EMT classes that align with the instructional requirements for certification. Finally, you need to confirm where the EMT school is getting their data.

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