Frequently Asked Questions for Prehospital EMS Personnel
1. What is the number of hours mandated for the new EMS Certification Programs?
While course completion time is based upon competency, the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) recommends the following minimum time frames:
Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) = 48-52 Hours
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) = 150-200 Hours
Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) = 150-250 Hours
Paramedic = 1000 – 1200 Hours
2. What is the current timeline for the switch to the new National EMS Education Standards and updated certification examinations? Has a final date been established?
The new National EMS Education Standards must be implemented at the onset of all EMS certification courses that would need to be tested effective January 1, 2013 and beyond, as that is the effective date within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the new National EMS Education Standards on all recognized certification examinations.
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Psychomotor Examination materials will be utilized effective January 1, 2013. The examinations will be administered at Pennsylvania recognized EMS Educational Institutes/sites by the Pennsylvania Regional EMS Council Educational Coordinators and/or approved staff. Written examinations updated to the new National EMS Education Standards will be administered by the aforementioned coordinators/staff from January 1, 2013 until implementation of the Basic Level NREMT Cognitive/ Computer Based Examinations effective January 1, 2014. All examinations will be administered in accordance with the Pennsylvania EMS Act.
The current Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (EMT-P) Examination will continue to be administered as such until transitioning to the NREMT Paramedic (P) level with the new National EMS Education Standards as of January 1, 2013.
3. Do all educational training institutes need to implement new textbooks by September 2012?
EMS Educational Institutes must assure utilization of materials reflective of the new National EMS Education Standards at the onset of all EMS certification courses that would need to be tested effective January 1, 2013 and beyond, as that is the effective date within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the new National EMS Education Standards on all recognized certification examinations.
4. EMT Skill Sets: Will additional training equipment purchases be required? (Transport Ventilators, Mechanical CPR Devices, O2 humidifiers, Simple mask, Venturi masks, etc.)
EMS Educational Institutes must assure proper types and quantities of equipment and supplies to facilitate the number of students within all EMS certification courses, as all students choosing the option to certify must successfully complete Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized certification examinations to the National EMS Education Standards.
5. Do all exams need to be converted to the new educational standards by January 1, 2013?
All EMS certification examinations recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be to the new National EMS Education Standards effective January 1, 2013. The Bureau of EMS therefore recommends that all EMS Educational Institutes assure that the new National EMS Education Standards are reflected within any and all materials, quizzes, exams/tests, etc. utilized by the EMS Education Institute.
6. Patient Contact for EMT – Observation versus assessment, number versus hours, ER versus urgent care center versus ambulance, etc.
10 Patient Contacts/Assessments
Preferred order of preference:
7. What is the cost to meet clinical time requirements? (Immunizations, background checks and clearances, etc.)
This would be similar to what an EMS agency would require as part of an employment interview/hiring process. Requirements and costs may differ from agency-to-agency or institution-to-institution.
8. What are the requirements for hospitals to permit student clinical time if that is the only available means to secure patient contacts?
This would be based upon internal policy which may differ from institution-to-institution.
9. Are there documentation requirements for student patient contacts?
Documentation requirements would be determined by the EMS Education Institute in conjunction with the agency or institution as part of the specific program design.
10. What will be expected of students within high school programs?
All students will be required to successfully complete the EMS Educational Program in reference to the new National EMS Education Standards in order to sit for a recognized certification examination.
11. Will 16-18 year olds have to take a different test and get a state EMT and then take a NREMT test later to get their NREMT?
As of January 1, 2013, all EMR and EMT candidates will take a Practical Psychomotor Examination that will reflect the new National EMS Education Standards. Written Examinations updated to the new National EMS Education Standards will continue to be administered by the Pennsylvania Regional EMS Council Educational Coordinators and/or approved staff.
Effective January 1, 2014 all Basic Level EMR and EMT written certification examinations will transition to cognitive/computer based exams through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) and Pearson Vue Testing Centers. Application fee can be paid by credit card or thru vouchers purchased by programs or individuals and distributed to exam candidates.
Current NREMT policy will recognize and credit the assessment exam results of individual candidates desiring NREMT Certification, in addition to the Pennsylvania certification initially issued, upon reaching the age of 18 within one year of successful exam completion. Interested individual candidates must personally make specific application along with a nominal administrative fee of $30.00 thru the NREMT Certification Department at 614-888-4484, Option 2.
12. What is the fee attached to the NREMT examinations?
EMR - $65
EMT - $70
AEMT - $100
Paramedic - $110
Prehospital Registered Nurse (PHRN), and Prehospital Physician Extender (PHPE) would be categorized on the same fee scale as the Paramedic.
13. Will the state pay for the first attempt at the NREMT exam?
Not directly. Agencies may apply for Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund (EMSOF) reimbursement to cover the cost of the written (cognitive) exam for Paramedic, Prehospital Registered Nurse (PHRN), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certification taken by their personnel at 100 percent of the cost of two (2) examination attempts up to a maximum allowable cost of $300. Requests for reimbursement would follow the standard EMSOF application process.
14. Will there be additional Pearson Vue testing sites offering the EMT exam or will those areas with no testing sites have to travel to take an exam? Is there a plan for a class of 40 students getting into a testing site that only has 6-8 seats and limited availability for testing appointment?
While some travel to an examination site may be necessary, currently the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) has numerous contracted Pearson-Vue Testing Center locations and continues to work with Pearson-Vue and the Pennsylvania Department of Health for the establishment of additional locations throughout the current year and thru 2013, in anticipation of the January 1, 2014 NREMT BLS Cognitive Examination effective date. It should be noted that cognitive certification examination interest and scheduling will be an individual candidate responsibility and based upon an individual’s personal availability and convenience, not that of an educational institution.
15. Will Continuing Education be accomplished through the PA DOH or the through NREMT? PA DOH Continuing Education does not always equal that of the NREMT.
Continuing education will occur in a similar manner to current methods. Those individuals maintaining NREMT certification will need to assure that they meet the requirements of the NREMT in order to maintain their NREMT credentials.
In addition to the Learning Management System (LMS) EMS online related courses offered free-of-charge thru the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS) recognized courses will be accepted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health effective January 1, 2014, in addition to pre-approved third-party vendor related educational topics. Most online continuing education vendors assess a fee for their services.
Continuing Education Units may be secured via Pennsylvania recognized third-party vendors thru on-line, video/DVD, CD-ROM, magazine, etc.