1. EMT Training Courses

Where can I find a list of EMT courses?

El Dorado County has two approved EMT Courses offered by Lake Tahoe Community College, One College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, (530) 541-4660 and the El Dorado County Training Officers' Association provided through Cosumnes River College, El Dorado Center 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville, CA 95667, (530) 642-5644. View the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) training courses.

What is contained in the courses?

Each EMT course must be a minimum of 120 total hours. Of these hours, a minimum of 110 hours is for didactic classroom instruction and skills training, and 10 hours for supervised clinical experience. The clinical time is divided into hospital emergency room time, EMT ambulance ride-along time, or both. All programs must follow regulations established by the State of California, Emergency Medical Services Authority. The curriculum must be based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's EMT-Basic National Standard Curriculum, DOT HS 808 149, August 1994. At the completion of the program, written and skills exams are given that must be passed to receive a course completion certificate. Following that, you must take and pass the National Registry of EMTs written exam, after which you can apply to an EMS Agency for an EMT card, which is valid statewide.

Are there prerequisites to taking an EMT course?

EMT Courses usually require a general first aid and a CPR class as the only prerequisites. Acceptable CPR classes must be taught to the standard of either the American Heart Association's Healthcare Provider or the American Red Cross' Professional Rescuer. You will need to contact the CPR Providers directly.

Is an EMT course accepted statewide?

An EMT Program is accepted statewide; however, each county may set specific requirements to certify in their county. Once you are certified by an EMS Agency in the state, your certification is accepted statewide.

2. Taking the National Registry EMT Exam

Who needs to take the NREMT written exam?

There are four occasions when someone would take the NREMT written exam:

  1. When you have completed an EMT Basic Course.
  2. When your EMT card has been expired for more than one year.
  3. When you are coming into California from another state and have not taken the NREMT exam.
  4. If you want to have an NREMT card so you can list the certification on job applications and/or resumes.

What are prerequisite to taking the exam?

If you are completing an EMT Program: In order to take the NREMT written exam, you must have completed and passed the written and skills exams of an approved EMT Training program in the previous two years. If it has been longer than 12 months since you completed the program, you must complete another skills verification testing (Skills verification testing is valid for one year). If you are already an EMT: If you completed your EMT program more than two years ago, you must take a 24-hour Refresher class and complete the skills verification test, in order to take the NREMT written examination.

When and where are the exams offered?

The NREMT exam will be offered during the day, in the evening and on some weekends through Pearson VUE's extensive network of testing centers across the United States. Candidates can test at any Pearson VUE test center in the United States. The exam is the same regardless of which state it is taken in. To locate a testing center, contact Pearson VUE directly at (866) 673-6896 or go to www.vue.com.

How can I register to take the exam?

In order to schedule an exam, candidates must have successfully completed all of the necessary application steps and received correspondence from the NREMT with instructions on scheduling their exam. To do this, go to www.nremt.org.

Can exams be scheduled online?

Exams can be scheduled online at the Pearson VUE website at www.vue.com or by calling an 800-number after the candidate has received confirmation from the NREMT that he or she has successfully completed all of the necessary application steps.

Once an exam appointment is scheduled, can it be changed or even canceled?

Yes. Each candidate must contact Pearson VUE directly to cancel or change an appointment to test. This must occur no less than 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment or the candidate will be charged for the exam.

What is the cost to take the computer based NREMT exam?

Visit the NREMT website for more information.

What kind of exam is it and what is a passing score?

The NREMT EMT-Basic / EMT cognitive exam is a computer adaptive test (CAT). The number of items a candidate can expect on the EMT-Basic / EMT exam will range from 70 to 120. The maximum amount of time given to complete the exam is 2 hours.

The exam will cover the entire spectrum of EMS care including: Airway, Ventilation, Oxygenation; Trauma; Cardiology; Medical; and EMS Operations. Items related to patient care are focused on adult patients (85%) and pediatric patients (15%). In order to pass the exam, you must meet a standard level of competency. The passing standard is defined by the ability to provide safe and effective entry level emergency medical care.

If I have a learning disability can I get special accommodations?

Yes. Make arrangements with Pearson VUE when you schedule your appointment to take the exam.

When will I get the results of my exam?

Scores will be available on the NREMT Web site (www.nremt.org) in most cases the next business day after the candidate has completed the exam. A results letter will also be mailed to the candidate within two to four weeks.

What if I fail the exam and need to retake it?

Candidates failing the exam are allowed three opportunities to complete the written examination. To take the exam a fourth time, you must complete a 24-hour Refresher class. This allows you to take the exam three more times. If you have not passed the exam after six attempts, the entire EMT program must be repeated. Taking the exam again requires repeating the "Registering for the Exam" process, except the Program Director does not have to provide authorization again.

What will the NREMT card do for me?

An NREMT card certifies you have passed the state and local EMS agencies mandated certification exam. Whether you maintain the card is up to you. The card is widely accepted across state lines as THE card required for local certification.

How do I keep my NREMT card current?

Your NREMT card can be kept current by following the NREMT requirements that can be found at www.nremt.org.

3. What Happens to After I Have My EMT Card

Once I have my EMT Card, where can I work?

EMTs typically work in ambulances or at Fire Departments while others work in hospital emergency rooms.

What do I have to do to maintain certification?

On an on-going basis, you need to:

  1. Keep your CPR certificate current.
  2. Keep your EMT card current by renewing it every two years.
  3. See the section EMT Recertification for information on the recertification process
  4. Take continuing education or refresher classes necessary for renewal.
    See the Continuing Education section for this information.

4. The EMT Application Process

Can I complete my application online or do I have to apply in person?

We accept applications online or in person. In person applications are accepted on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

How long will it take to get my card?

Typically an application is processed in about 2 weeks. Occasionally, it may take longer. We process applications as quickly and efficiently as we can. One way to speed up your application is to make sure your application is filled-out completely and all required documentation is attached.

Why did you deny my application?

There are occasions when an application has been filled out wrong, has the wrong CPR class, is not signed, has failed to include the fee, failed to submit a copy of National Registry card, etc. In these cases, we send a letter to explain what is wrong with your materials. Your application will be processed when you submit the necessary materials.

Where is my EMT-I card accepted?

An EMT-I card issued by any EMS agency in the state is valid statewide. You do not have to apply for a card from any other agency in order to work in their county, unless your employer requires you to.

Can the County of El Dorado EMS Agency help me find a job as an EMT?

Our EMS Agency does not provide job-matching assistance.

5. EMT Initial Certification

When can I apply for my EMT-I card?

After completing an EMT-I course, and passing the NREMT written exam, you have two years (from the date on the course completion certificate) to apply for EMT-I certification from any EMS agency in the state.

Is there an age requirement?

Yes, you must be at least eighteen years of age to certify as an EMT.

What do I need to turn in?

Your EMT application package must include:

  1. A signed EMT Certification application (available online at the Emergency Medical Services page or through our office).
  2. A copy of your course completion certificate from an approved California EMT-I training program.
  3. A copy of your NREMT card.
  4. A copy of the front and back of your current CPR card that is equivalent to the American Heart Association's Healthcare Provider level or the American Red Cross' Professional Rescuer level.
  5. A copy of a valid photo ID: current driver's license, passport, or valid military ID card.
  6. The non-refundable fee: online via credit card (fees apply) or cash.
  7. A completed copy of the Live Scan Application.

How soon after the end of the course can I get my EMT card?

As part of the verification process, we receive course rosters for classes taught in El Dorado County. Your training program has 15 days after the course ends to send these to the EMS office. Generally it will take two weeks to process your application once we receive the roster and your completed application.

How long is my EMT card valid?

EMT-I cards are valid for two years and expire two years from the last day of the month in which the completed certification application paperwork was received and approved by the County of El Dorado EMS Agency. The expiration date is on your card.

Is there a time limit to apply for county certification?

You have two years from the date of your course completion certificate to apply for El Dorado County certification. Applications submitted after that date will not be accepted and you must take the complete course over again.

6. EMT Recertification

What are the basic recertification requirements?

Every two years you must complete 24-hours of continuing education or a 24-hour Refresher class and complete a skills verification test.

What do I need to turn in?

Your EMT application package must include:

  1. A signed EMT Recertification application (available online or through our office).
  2. A copy of the front and back of your CPR card. See the section CPR Classes to make sure your class is acceptable.
  3. A copy of your driver's license (or other valid photo id if you do not have a license).
  4. Copies of your continuing education certificates or your refresher certificate.
  5. A copy of your skills verification test form.
  6. Cash or money order in the amount of $47.00 payable to the County of El Dorado EMS Agency.

When can I submit my recertification application?

It is a good idea to turn your materials in at least one month before your expiration date. You cannot expect to turn your materials in the day you expire and have it taken care of. Your recertification application package can be submitted up to six months in advance of your card expiring. Your new expiration date will be two years from the current expiration date, unless your card has expired, in which case it will be two years from the issue date.

Can I work as an EMT with an expired card?

You may not work as an EMT or represent yourself as an EMT if your card has expired. One day late is the same as six months late. There are no extensions of your expiration date.

My certification has expired. What do I have to do?

State law requires that if you turn in your recertification materials after your card has expired, the following regulations apply:

  1. For a card expired six months or less, complete a 24 hour EMT Refresher Course or 24 hours of CE; plus the Skills Competency Verification testing.
  2. For a card expired more than six months but less than one year, complete a 24 hour EMT Refresher Course and an additional 12 hours CE, or 36 hours of CE; plus the Skills Competency Verification testing.
  3. For a card expired more than one year but less than two years, complete a 24 hour EMT Refresher Course and an additional 24 hours CE, or 48 hours of CE; plus the Skills Competency Verification testing and pass the written NREMT exam.
  4. For a card expired two years or more, retake an entire EMT course.

How long do I have to recertify once my card has expired?

You have two years to recertify. After that, you have to take the complete EMT course over again and then apply for certification.

7. Skills Verification Testing

When do I need to do a skills verification test?

Skills exams are done at the end of your EMT course. Following your EMT certification, you will need to complete another skills verification test with each two-year certification. The skills test is valid for one year. It is your responsibility to take the test when it is due and provide documentation with your next recertification application. EMT I Skills Verification form and instructions can be found on the State Emergency Medical Services Authority website at: www.emsa.ca.gov.

Where can I take a skills verification test?

EMT Training Programs typically offer refresher courses with skills exams. The refresher courses are often done near the end of the regular EMT courses.

8. CPR Classes

What CPR cards do you accept?

We accept CPR classes that are equivalent to the American Heart Association's Healthcare Provider level and the American Red Cross' Professional Rescuer level. Other classes may be accepted if they meet that standard. Some agencies teach to these standards, others may not. When in doubt, ask! The most common classes are the American Heart Association's Healthcare Provider and the Red Cross' Professional Rescuer.

What happens if I've taken the wrong CPR class?

If you submit your application with the wrong CPR card, the application will be returned and will need to be resubmitted with the correct CPR card. Commonly submitted wrong cards include: Red Cross' Adult CPR, Adult CPR/AED, and Adult / Infant / Child CPR, or the American Heart Association's Heartsaver Card.

9. Continuing Education & Refresher Courses

What's the difference between continuing education and refresher courses?

Continuing education courses are typically one to two hour courses on a variety of topics. Multiple courses are taken to obtain the needed number of hours. Often conferences offer one or more days of continuing education credits. Refresher courses are typically 24 hours in length (spread over multiple days or evenings) and are focused on teaching commonly used skills and learning experiences.

Where can I take continuing education or refresher courses?

Continuing education and refresher courses for recertification can be taken anywhere; they do not have to be done in El Dorado County. They must however be offered from an approved CE provider.

Why would I choose a refresher course over continuing education courses?

If you work as an EMT, continuing education classes are a good way to learn about different topics. If you are not working in the field, a refresher course is a good way to review the subjects and skills you are expected to know. A refresher course also offers the skills verification testing needed for recertification.

How much continuing education do I need?

You need 24 hours from an approved CE Provider every two years in order to recertify. The courses must have been taken during the two years prior to your recertifying.

What do I do with my CE certificates?

Your certificates must be kept for four years. Copies must be submitted with your recertification application.

Why wouldn't you accept my continuing education paperwork?

An approved Prehospital CE Provider must have a CE provider number issued to them by a local EMS Agency or the State EMS Authority. The number is shown on the class certificate (it is a 6-digit number xx-xxxx). CE classes may be taken from any provider with a prehospital CE number and do not have to be taken in El Dorado County. Call the County of El Dorado EMS Agency at (530) 621-6500 if unsure.

10. Challenge Examination

Can I challenge the EMT exam?

Only a currently licensed physician, registered nurse, physician assistant, vocational nurse, currently licensed EMT-P, or an individual with documented evidence of successfully completing an EMT training program of the Armed Forces as defined in Title 22, Division 9, Chapter 2, section 100078 is eligible to take a challenge exam.

11. Out-of-County of Out-of-State Certifications

What if I took an EMT course in California but outside of El Dorado County?

Our EMT Certification policy states that if you took your EMT class in another county, you must provide written documentation that you have passed an approved written and skills certification examination. Many EMT course certificates include a statement on the certificate attesting to the completion of a written & skills exam. If not, you will need to obtain this information from your training program.

What if I took an EMT course out-of-state but never received an EMT card?

If you have never received an EMT card after completing an out-of-state course, you must submit a copy of your NREMT card. If you do not have an NREMT card, you will have to take and pass the NREMT exam.

What if I have an EMT certificate from another state?

Even if you have an out-of-stare EMT card, you must have a valid NREMT card. You must submit a recertification application, a copy of your CPR card from an approved course, the fee, a copy of your NREMT card, and, if you have one, your out-of-state card. You will be issued an EMT card with the same expiration date as is on your NREMT card. If you have an out-of-state card but to do not have an NREMT card, you will have to take and pass the NREMT written exam.

Can I challenge the EMT exam?

Yes. Individuals from out-of-county or out-of-state can challenge the EMT exam only if they are a currently licensed physician, registered nurse, physician assistant, vocational nurse, an EMT-P, or have documented evidence of successfully completing an EMT training program of the Armed Forces.

12. Paramedic Accreditation

When and why do I need paramedic accreditation?

The state's Emergency Medical Services Authority in Sacramento licenses you as a paramedic. In order to work in El Dorado County you must be accredited.

What does local accreditation involve?

Accreditation to practice as a paramedic in El Dorado County shall be granted upon successful completion of the following:

  1. Provide evidence of a valid California Paramedic License
  2. Complete orientation with FTO which includes local optional and expanded scope of practice
  3. Complete ambulance ride-along with FTO
  4. Complete an accreditation application
  5. Pay the $10.00 accreditation fee
  6. Provide letter of affiliation with an approved Paramedic agency Accreditation will be granted upon successful completion of the above elements within 30 days from the start date of the ride-along. Candidates failing to do so must reapply.

How long is the accreditation good for?

Your accreditation is continuous as long as you maintain your California Paramedic License and update your local requirements as outlined in the El Dorado County Paramedic Accreditation Policy.

Can I lose my accreditation, and if so, then what?

Yes. If any of the above requirements are not met or maintained, accreditation to practice shall be withdrawn until successful completion of the requirement(s). A Paramedic whose accreditation has been withdrawn for more than one year shall be required to re-apply for initial accreditation.

Where can I find out more about accreditation?

You can go to our website at the Emergency Medical Services page to obtain a copy of the El Dorado County Paramedic Accreditation Policy.

As a paramedic, do I need an EMT card?

No. An individual who is currently licensed as a paramedic in California is considered to be a certified EMT-I without any additional testing (except when the paramedic license or EMT-II certificate is under suspension).

What if I want an EMT card anyway?

A currently licensed EMT-P who wants to obtain a separate EMT-I certificate should complete the application process and submit a copy of his/her current EMT-P license to the EMS Office. The expiration date of the EMT-I certificate will be the same as the expiration date of the EMT-P license.