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How do I Choose the Best EMT Course?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2018
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Emergency medical technician (EMT) courses are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. There are four factors to consider when choosing the best EMT course: accreditation, graduate employment statistics, cost, and time frame. An emergency medical technician or ambulance attendant is a first responder to a call for emergency assistance.

EMT programs are usually one to two years in length. The first year of courses includes first aid, advanced first aid, triage, human anatomy, human psychology, and crisis management. In the second year, the courses include advanced CPR, hazardous material training, and communications.

When looking for an EMT course, make sure that the school is accredited. An accredited school has been evaluated by an independent agency to determine if it meets a minimum education quality, administrative process, and procedure. Only credits earned from an accredited institution can be transferred to other post-secondary education programs. In addition, accredited schools are eligible to offer government student aid.

Talk to the student services office and request a copy of the graduate employment rates. All post-secondary schools track the employment of their graduates at three-, six-, and 12-month intervals after graduation. These reports include the industry the student found employment in, if the position is full time, part time or contract, and the salary. This information provides insight into the reputation and value of the programs the school is offering and the relevance of the EMT course to employers.

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Compare the cost of the EMT course at the different schools. If one program is more expensive than another, look at the details. Schools that offer advanced courses, specialized training, or guaranteed work terms are often more expensive than schools offering basic programs. Think about the value of the program and determine if it will improve your employment opportunities upon graduation.

Programs that are one year in length may provide the minimal amount of training required to qualify for employment as an EMT. However, most employers prefer two-year programs due to the advanced level of training provided, additional support, and work term experience that is typically available in these programs. It is more economical and efficient to invest in as much training as possible at the start of your career. Look at the different course options in the second year, including marine, extreme cold or heat, and remote locations. This type of training opens up additional employment opportunities in the future.

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