At present the educational courses for EMT certification in Pennsylvania are based on the standards prescribed by the state. This premise will be shortly shifted to national EMT standards followed by a similar shift of the pattern of the licensure exam. License is a state level permit while certification is a national level sanction, although the terms are interchangeably used. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) provide basic medical emergency care to patients battling with trauma, cardiac problems, accidents, injuries, illnesses etc. before these patients can be admitted to a medical facility. The certification – licensure process ensures that only qualified professionals handle such delicate tasks.
EMT Certification in Pennsylvania
The NREMT is the authorized organization to issue national level EMT certifications. Five levels of such certifications are awarded and each is valid for two years at a time. Those interested in an EMT career have to pass an entry level course of a particular level and apply for NREMT certification of the same level within two years (generally). After clearing the NREMT certification exams, candidates can apply for state level license. Entry level courses need to be sanctioned by the respective state plus the U.S. Department of Transportation EMT – Basic National Standard Curriculum.
Certification exams include the cognitive and psychomotor exam. While theoretical aspects of the candidate’s knowledge are checked in the cognitive exam, the psychomotor exam tests the steadiness of the candidate when dealing with patients in the grip of trauma, illness related complications, cardiac troubles, bleeding, accidents, injuries etc. The syllabus for the cognitive exam includes cardiology, oxygenation, EMS operations, trauma, ventilation and the like. Depending on the level of EMT applied for, the cognitive exam consists of between 70 to 150 questions that have to answered on a computer within 1 hour 45 minutes to two and half hours.
Using the EMT Achieve for the NREMT Exams
Brady Publishers provide two exceptional online sources for this purpose. The first one is the EMT Practice Test that provides relevant study material along with online tests that are immediately assessed. It is a part of an online guide by multiple authors. The second one is the EMT Achieve that sets a new benchmark in this field by providing notes supplemented by slides, videos, illustrations, pictures, and animations for better understanding. Practice tests are instantly assessed and explanations are provided with correct answers. Such preparation material is also available at numerous other websites.
Becoming an EMT in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (BEMS) is the licensure authority for awarding EMT licenses in this state. Starting January 1, 2013, the BEMS will apply the National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Standards to the educational courses of all levels of EMTs in the state. The BEMS awards licenses to the following types of EMTs: Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), EMT, Advanced EMT (AEMT), and Paramedic. The following is a link to EMS Provider Registry where a candidate can register as an EMS provider: https://ems.health.state.pa.us/emsportal/
From January 1, 2014, the state will administer practical and written exams for all EMR and EMT levels on the lines of NREMT standards. Paramedic exams for this state are already in sync with the national standards.