There are a number of emergency medical technician refresher courses available across the country, and it is important that you are aware of the options in your state and city long before it comes time to meet your continuing education requirements. Refresher courses are also extremely useful in cases where EMTs are seeking re-certification after a break from working in the field. Even if there is no pressing practical reason to complete a refresher course, it will improve your basic knowledge and will increase your chances of finding employment within the emergency medical services.
What Is Emergency Medical Technician Refresher Training?
There are two main purposes for refresher course training:
- Firstly it allows individuals to renew their certification and therefore continue working as EMTs
- Secondly it ensures that all of the knowledge that you possess on the subject is up to date and that you are fully equipped to continue being a successful EMT in the field
Different states may have slightly different rules for EMT re-certification, but there tends to be refresher courses available in all states for those EMTs who want to renew their license or who simply want to expand their knowledge.
As an EMT it is your responsibility to keep up with when your certification will expire. Remember that it can take a while to receive re-certification, so it is very important that you plan ahead. If your certification is due to expire within 9 months, you should immediately enroll in a refresher course. If you do not there may be a period of time in between expiration of your certification and renewal of your certification in which you will not be allowed to work or volunteer as an EMT. Clearly this is a state of affairs that should be avoided.
There are a number of requirements that you will need to meet in order to enroll in a refresher course of this nature. It is firstly interesting to note that there are several different types of EMTs:
- Medical first responders
- EMT Basics
- Intermediate technicians
- EMT Paramedic
As you move up the chain your responsibilities and roles become more and more complex. Each of these levels in the emergency medical services has its own distinct set of requirements that must be met before you can enroll in a refresher course for that qualification.
The rules are different for different states. As an example we will look at the refresher requirements for Wisconsin below.
Medical First Responder
The most basic level of emergency medical care is to be a medical first responder. In order to become re-certified as a medical first responder you will need to have:
- A current healthcare provider CPR certification
- Completed a 18 hour First Responder Refresher course in the current biennium
If you meet these basic requirements you will considered to be re-certified. You can also complete refresher courses to improve your skills. There are three course types that you can take which will allow you to become re-certified:
- An approved First Responder course
- An approved EMT-Basic course
- An approved EMT-Basic Refresher course
The refresher requirements for EMT-Basic also require that you have a current CPR certificate. In addition you need to complete one of the following:
- An approved 30 hour EMT-Basic Refresher course in the current biennium
- Approved Alternate Refresher requirements in the current biennium
The courses that you can complete in order to meet the refresher requirements at this level of emergency medical services are the EMT-Basic course, the EMT-Intermediate Technician course, or the didactic portion of the EMT-Intermediate or EMT-Paramedic courses. Completing any of these will allow you to say that you have met the refresher requirements.
The requirements here are very similar to the above mentioned options. Firstly you need to hold current CPR certification if you want to be re-certified at this level. In addition you will also need to have completed an approved course lasting 30 hours or one of the approved alternate refresher requirements that that are available. Both must be completed in the current biennium which spans from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012. In addition to these basic requirements you will also need to show that you have completed either a department approved 12 hour EMT-Intermediate Technician refresher course or 12 hours of medical director approved continuing education.
According to dhs.wisconsin.gov the following is required in order to be re-certified at this level of the emergency medical health care services in Wisconsin:
- “Current healthcare provider CPR certification, AND
- Current ACLS certification, AND
- Completion of a Department approved 48 hour EMT-Paramedic Refresher course OR 48 hours of medical director approved continuing education at the EMT-Intermediate level of training and scope of practice in the current biennium”
Completing an EMT-Paramedic course will allow you to be re-certified at this level. The other requirements are essentially the same as those needed to refresh your knowledge at EMT-Paramedic level. In other words you will need to hold current CPR certification as well as current ACLS certification. In addition you will need to complete a refresher course or meet the requirements a medical director approved continuing education course at EMT-Paramedic level.
These are the requirements for the state of Wisconsin. Other states may have very similar requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a full understanding of what those requirements are.
Some Locations For EMT Refresher Courses
There are a number of locations across the country where you will be able to engage in emergency medical technician refresher training, including the popular options listed below.
Emergency Care Programs
872 East 29th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11210
Description: This course is specifically for EMT-B’s and offers comprehensive training that builds on coursework learned previously as well as adding to the EMT’s knowledge and ensuring that all updates and changes in the industry are understood. Located in New York, this program prepares EMT’s well to continue working in the field. The course starts with a challenge exam and builds from that point onwards.
National Polytechnic College of Science: Los Angeles Campus
National Polytechnic College of Science
5245 Pacific Concourse Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045-6905
National Polytechnic College of Science: Kearny Mesa Campus
National Polytechnic College of Science
3580 Aero Court
San Diego, CA 92123-1711
Description: This is a course offered in California that covers the 24 basic principles required of EMTs who are seeking to engage in a refresher course. Some of the topics that will be covered in this course include:
- Patient assessment
- Ethical problems
- Health and safety of an EMT
- Medical emergencies
- Trauma management
In order to be eligible to enroll in this emergency medical technician refresher course students must provide proof that they are currently EMTs, such as their EMT card. The course takes 24 hours and counts towards the necessary continuing education requirements for the state.
National Outdoor Leadership School: Wilderness Medicine Institute
National Outdoor Leadership School
284 Lincoln Street
Lander, WY 82520
Description: This is a three day refresher course for EMTs and is aimed specifically at EMT-Bs. The course is comprehensive and extensive and covers all of the necessary units in order for it to count towards continuing education.
Northern California Paramedic Association: San Francisco Paramedic Association
657 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Description: The Northern California Paramedic Association offers a three-day course that includes EMT-1 re-certification and meets the guidelines for EMT-B refresher education. This program fulfills the necessary 24 hours of continuing education and completes the skills verification required for re-certification.
The emergency medical technician refresher courses mentioned above are specific to certain states and cities across the country. However it is important to note that there are refresher courses across the country, and that you are certainly not limited to the list included above. Refresher training counts towards continuing education units and is also useful for EMTs who have lost certification for whatever reasons and who would like to become re-certified in the field of emergency medical services. Many schools that offer initial training also offer refresher courses, so your original school or program coordinator is a good place to start looking.
Being certain that you meet the eligibility requirements to enroll in an emergency medical technician refresher course is the first hurdle that you must overcome on your path to becoming re-certified or to improving your level of knowledge in the field. Potential employers are more inclined to hire those EMTs who have shown that they are dedicated to the profession by choosing to complete refresher courses. It will also leave you feeling more confident in your job. The best EMT positions tend to go to EMTs who stand out from the crowd. Completing refresher training in the field will help you be one of those EMTs.