Frequently Asked Questions for Pennsylvania Emergency Medical
Services (EMS) Education, Examinations, Certification and Continuing Education
1. What is the number of hours mandated for the new EMS certification
course completion time is based upon competency, the National Association of
State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) recommends the following minimum time frames:
medical responder (EMR) = 48-52 hours
medical technician (EMT) = 150-200 hours
Advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT) = 150-250 hours
Paramedic = 1000 – 1200 hours
2. When were the new National EMS Education Standards, and
updated certification examinations implemented?
new National EMS Education Standards were announced by the DOH in 2012 and were
implemented at the onset of all EMS certification courses required to be tested
effective Jan. 1, 2013, as that was the effective date within the Pennsylvania
for the new National EMS Education Standards on all recognized certification
National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) (EMR) and (EMT) psychomotor
examination materials were utilized effective Jan. 1, 2013. The examinations were 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 were
administered from Jan. 1, 2013, until implementation of the basic level NREMT cognitive/
computer based examinations, which became effective Jan. 1, 2014. All examinations were, and continue to be,
administered in accordance with the Pennsylvania EMS Act.
medical technician-paramedic (EMT-P) examination continued to be administered, until
transitioning to the NREMT paramedic (P) level with the new National EMS
Education Standards as of Jan. 1, 2013.
Were the educational training
institutes required to implement new textbooks?
institutes were to assure utilization of materials reflective of the new
National EMS Education Standards at the onset of all EMS certification courses
that began in September 2012 for candidates that would need to be tested
effective Jan. 1, 2013 and beyond, as that was the effective date within the
Pennsylvania for the new National EMS Education Standards on all recognized
4. EMT skill Sets: Are additional training equipment purchases
required? (Transport ventilators, mechanical CPR devices, O2 humidifiers, simple
mask, venturi masks, etc.)
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 Pennsylvania
certification examinations to the National EMS Education Standards.
5. Were all exams required to be converted to the new
educational standards by Jan. 1, 2013?
EMS certification examinations recognized by Pennsylvania were required to be
to the new National EMS Education Standards effective Jan. 1, 2013. The Bureau
of EMS continues to recommend that all EMS educational institutes assure that
the new National EMS Education Standards are reflected within all study materials,
quizzes, exams/tests, etc. utilized by the EMS education institute.
6. What are the requirements for patient
contacts for EMT? Observation versus assessment, number versus hours,
emergency department versus urgent care center, versus ambulance?
patient contacts/assessments are required for successful completion of the
educational program. The preferred order of preference for the locations
are as follows:
- Specialty Center
7. What is the cost to meet clinical time requirements?
and costs may differ from agency-to-agency and/or from institution-to-institution,
similar to what an EMS agency would require as part of an employment
8. What are the requirements for hospitals to permit student
clinical time if that is the only available means to secure patient contacts?
would be based upon internal facility policy, which may differ from
9. Are there documentation requirements for student patient
documentation requirements would be determined by the EMS education institute
in conjunction with the agency and/or institution as part of the specific
10. What will be expected of students within high school
students will be required to meet the minimum age limits, and successfully
complete the EMS educational program to the National EMS Education Standards, as
well as to sit for a Pennsylvania Department of Health - recognized
11. Will students between 16 and 18 years of age be required to
take a different test and obtain a state EMT certification, then take a NREMT
test later to get their NREMT?
Jan. 1, 2013, all EMR and EMT candidates began taking a practical psychomotor examination reflective of the new National
EMS Education Standards. Written examinations
updated to the new National EMS Education Standards were administered by the
Pennsylvania Regional EMS Council educational coordinators and/or approved
staff, until Jan. 1, 2014.
Jan. 1, 2014 all basic level EMR and EMT written certification examinations were
transitioned 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 through vouchers purchased by
programs or individuals and distributed to exam candidates.
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
through the NREMT Certification Department at 614-888-4484.
12. What is the fee attached to the NREMT examinations?
Current basic level EMR and EMT along with AEMT and P certification
examination fees may be found on the National Registry of Emergency Medical
Technicians website at www.nremt.org.
Pre-hospital registered nurses (PHRNs) and pre-hospital physician
extenders (PHPEs) are required to take the paramedic assessment examination,
and would be categorized on the same fee scale as the paramedic.
13. Will the state pay for the first attempt at the NREMT exam?
directly: Pennsylvania licensed EMS 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, prehospital physician extender, advanced emergency medical technician,
emergency medical technician, and emergency medical responder certification,
taken by their personnel at the rate established in the EMSOF priority list
published annually in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Requests for reimbursement would follow the
standard EMSOF application process.
14. Will there be additional Pearson VUE testing sites offering
the EMS certification exams, or will individuals in 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 six to eight seats and limited
availability for testing appointment?
some travel to an examination site may be necessary, currently the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
has numerous contracted Pearson VUE Testing Center locations within the commonwealth,
as well as nationwide. NREMT continues to work with Pearson VUE and the
Pennsylvania Department of Health for the establishment of additional
locations. It should be noted that
cognitive certification examination interest and scheduling, is an individual
candidate responsibility based upon an individual’s personal availability and
convenience, as well as the availability of the testing center location (not
that of an educational institution).
15. Will continuing education be accomplished through DOH or
through the NREMT? DOH continuing education does not always equal that of the
all Pennsylvania EMS certified providers must maintain their Pennsylvania
certification as per the Pennsylvania requirements, those individuals desiring
to maintain their NREMT certification need to assure that they also meet the
requirements of the NREMT for such purpose.
Current NREMT requirements may be found on the NREMT website at
will continue to offer free online continuing education courses on the Public
Health Foundation’s TRAIN PA learning management system (LMS). Additionally, courses from the Commission on
Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE) [formerly known as the
Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services
(CECBEMS)] have been and continue to be accepted by the Pennsylvania Department
of Health, since Jan. 1, 2014.
education units may also be secured via Pennsylvania Department of Health recognized
third-party vendors thru on-line, video/DVD, CD-ROM, magazine, etc. Most continuing education vendors assess a fee
for their services, which is the responsibility of the candidate.