Things To Know About An EMS Training Program

ems training program

Are you ready to narrow down an EMS career path and choose an EMS training program? For people who enjoy helping others, a career in EMS can be very rewarding. It’s also a great choice for people who do well under pressure and can spend a lot of time on their feet. EMS workers provide an essential and necessary service to their communities. If you’re ready for a rewarding career in emergency medical services but don’t know where to begin, read on!

We will go into more of the different types of EMS training programs and career paths. Here are four things to know about EMS training programs:

  1. There are different types of programs
  2. There will be hands on training
  3. There are opportunities for specializations and ongoing education
  4. Requirements for becoming an EMS provider vary by state

Get started today with the help of Dorsey College!

1.There are different types of EMS training programs

EMS training programs help people start their careers as:

  • Emergency Medical Responders (EMR)
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)
  • Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (AEMT)
  • Paramedics

The biggest difference between these career paths is the training and duties performed. To get started in any of these training programs, you’ll likely need a high school diploma or GED.

Generally, EMR training will provide more basic first aid information. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people start out their EMS career through EMR training. EMT training gets a bit more extensive. And finally, paramedic training is the most advanced. 1

Training to become a paramedic can take 1-2 years. Paramedics learn more advanced medical procedures and have more responsibilities in emergency situations. They might clear an airway or intubate a patient. These are difficult medical tasks to perform, especially outside of a hospital. Because of that, training to become a paramedic is one of the more robust EMS training programs.

What’s the difference between an EMR and EMT in EMS training programs? EMRs perform more basic medical tasks like applying bandages or a splint. Meanwhile, EMTs can administer medications and provide more advanced medical care. EMTs are also responsible for transporting patients. That’s why an EMT training program is usually more advanced. EMTs must learn how to operate on the move in stressful emergencies. Most EMT training programs take a few months to a year to complete.

Are you wanting to pursue EMT or paramedic training?

When you compare EMTs and paramedics, you will notice they usually work together. EMTs and paramedics both work in hospitals, government settings, and outpatient care centers. Both respond to emergencies and life-threatening situations. This might include car accidents, fires, or mass casualty incidents.

So how are the two jobs different? Paramedics have more responsibility in emergency situations and so they need more training. An EMT training program can take just a few months. Meanwhile, training to become a paramedic can take as long as two years. Some paramedics may start with an EMT program before becoming a paramedic.

When an EMT arrives on scene, they will face a variety of stressful situations. They may have to:

  • Dress a patient’s wounds
  • Deliver newborn babies
  • Provide oxygen to patients
  • Perform CPR
  • Administer life-saving medications such as Natroxolene and epinephrine
  • Transport patients to hospitals, nursing homes, or other medical facilities

A paramedic may perform all those duties, plus they may:

  • Intubate people
  • Applying needle Cricothyrotomy to clear a patient’s airway
  • Maintain central lines on critical care ambulance teams
  • Manage amputation accidents
  • Perform triage at mass casualty events
  • Direct EMTs on scene

These are things to keep in mind as you look at EMS training programs.

2.There will be hands on training

No matter which EMS training program you decide on, there are some key skills you will need to learn. These includes:

  • Patient assessment
  • CPR and other basic life support
  • Stabilizing patients
  • Signs and symptoms of major illnesses
  • And more

You can learn all these skills in hands-on training through an EMS training program. This will be how you learn and practice things like CPR and dressing a wound. Once you get used to that, an EMS training program will likely have opportunities for real world training. This might include clinical hours or an externship at a hospital or medical facility.

There are other essential soft skills you should know, too. This work is not for everyone, so it’s important to make sure it’s a right fit. Once you confirm you have the soft skills (or can learn them), you can explore EMS training programs!

3.What you could do when you complete an ems training program

Most EMS training programs are set up to teach you how to work in a variety of emergency situations. But before you can find a job as an EMT or paramedic, you’ll need to pass a certification test in order to pursue your state license. The test you take depends on whether you’re pursuing an EMT vs paramedic career path. You’ll also have to maintain a license throughout your career. Certification exams are offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, allowing for reciprocity in 40 states. Licensing requirements vary by state, and often include items such as a completing a state-approved EMS training program, passing the NREMT or other certification examination, background check and fingerprinting. It’s important to take EMS refresher classes to stay up to date.

Once you complete an EMS training program and obtain licensure, you can go on to:

  • Train to become an instructor or coordinator to teach these medical skills to others
  • Seek positions in management, such as working as a Field Training Officer
  • Increase your skills through extra certifications and specializations
  • Continue your education and become a paramedic or pursue another path such as training to be a registered nurse

4.State requirements for certification may differ

Location is another thing to consider as you research different EMS training programs. The rules and requirements for licensure as an EMT or paramedic vary by state. It’s important to know the requirements for the area you plan to work in.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • If you want to become a paramedic, does your state require a paramedic degree? Some do and some don’t, so this is an important thing to note.
  • How many hours does the EMS training program you’re looking at include? Does this meet any state requirements for licensure that may be in place?
  • Does your state have a state EMT or paramedic examination? Do you need this in addition to the national registry (NREMT) test?

Explore Dorsey College’s EMS programs

For future or current paramedics or EMTs in Michigan, Dorsey College has a variety of programs to help you learn the skills you need for success. The EMS training programs offered at Dorsey College include:

Whether you’re new to these career paths or looking to level up your skills, explore Dorsey College’s EMS training programs.

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1. Accessed 13 February 2024.


Dorsey College has determined that its Emergency Medical Technician training program and Paramedic training program curriculum are sufficient to fulfill educational requirements for licensure in the State of Michigan only. No educational determinations have been made for any other state, district, or US territory in regards to licensure requirements.