The type of coursework required to become an EMT depends on the level of certification that is pursued. All EMT training programs require at least a high school diploma or GED for enrollment.

The first level of certification that must be completed by all EMTs is called EMT-Basic. For EMT-Basic (also called EMT-b or EMT-1) training, the requirements normally include:

  • how to properly assess a patient's condition, including taking vital signs
  • management of cardiac and respiratory emergencies, including performing CPR and clearing airway obstructions
  • management of trauma victims, including handling of bleeding and fractures
  • use of typical emergency equipment such as stretchers, backboards and other devices found in an ambulance
  • delivering babies in emergency situations

After completion of the EMT-Basic program, a student may proceed to EMT Intermediate (or EMT-I) training.