If you are considering becoming an Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), then one of the best ways to do it is via the NSCC EMT Program. The North Seattle Community College (NSCC) offers an EMT certification course which is renowned for being a thorough and competitive.
Emergency medical technicians provide a vital emergency service, which includes attending to and transporting sick or injured individuals to a medical facility. It is the EMT’s responsibility to assess the patient’s condition, take their vital signs, provide care at the scene of an accident and en route to the hospital, and manage cardiac, respiratory, and trauma emergencies. Emergency medical technicians may work as police officers, fire fighters, or ER technicians and some of them may drive ambulances.
Emergency medical technicians need to be emotionally stable, have good eyesight with accurate color vision, be agile, have good physical coordination, be dexterous, and be strong enough to lift/carry heavy loads. They generally have to deal with cardiac arrest, bleeding, airway obstruction, fractures, and sometimes even emergency childbirth. Emergency medical technicians are typically those who enjoy challenges and find the opportunity to help others and the excitement of dealing with an emergency situation very stimulating.
EMTs need to be trained in use of suction devices, the use of splints and backboards, bandaging of various wounds, the use of oxygen delivery systems, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), stretchers, automatic external defibrillators, and extrication. The NSCC EMT Program is the longest running EMT program in the state and has been around for more than 30 years. It offers first-class, streamlined training for a career as an EMT, and can brag with a 99% pass rate within the past five years.
Working Conditions Of An Emergency Medical Technician
As an EMT, you will work irregular hours, as medical emergencies do not stick to office hours, and you may be required to be on call for extended periods.
The hours that you will work as an EMT depends on where you work:
- Hospital EMTs, which make up about 20% of EMTs, generally work a 45-60 hour week.
- Private ambulance services, which take approximately 40% of EMTs generally work a 45-50 hour week.
- Fire departments and local governments take about 30% of EMTs, and they generally work a 50 hour week.
The nature of the job means that emergency medical technicians work both indoors and outdoors, and in all weather. You will work mainly in metropolitan areas, and need to have lots of stamina and be physically fit, as the job is stressful and physically demanding.
As an emergency medical technician, you will constantly be faced with life-or-death situations and may be exposed to disease and face some challenging situations with medically unstable patients.
Employment Outlook For An EMT
The employment prospects for an emergency medical technician who qualifies from the NSCC EMT Program are very good, as the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics puts the projected growth at around 19 percent in the 2006 and 2016 decade. This is due to more paid positions opening as opposed to volunteer positions, and the aging baby-boomer population that is in need of more assistance from emergency services every year.
The best employment opportunities are in private ambulance services and cities, and although there is more competition in local government positions with their police and fire departments and independent rescue squads, there are also better benefits.
Preparation For The NSCC EMT Program
An EMT must have advanced first aid testing and CPR; the CPR must be at the CPR for the Professional Rescuer level or Healthcare Provider level. Graduates of an EMT training program must have a job or obtain a volunteer appointment with a qualified field agency such as a fire department, search and rescue, fishery ambulance, or ski patrol in order to get certification in Washington. Clinics and hospitals do not qualify.
All fifty states require that emergency medical technicians are certified, which means taking the National Registry examination in order to be certified to work in Washington State, and must do additional out-of- state certification, if you want to work out-of-state. Re-certification for Washington State must take place every 3 years, and National Registry re-certification must be done every 2 years. You will also be required to do Competency Based Training of 10 hours annually, as provided by agencies who hire EMTs.
The NSCC EMT Certificate Program
The NSCC EMT Program will teach you the roles and responsibilities of the Emergency Medical Technician as per state and King County standards and requirements. You will be taught how to evaluate patients and various other emergency medical procedures.
In order to be accepted into the NSCC EMT Program, you will have to meet the following prerequisites:
- Be at least 18 years of age – proof of this will be required.
- A high school diploma or GED equivalency – copy of certificates to be provided.
- Attend a mandatory orientation session – these sessions are held quarterly and provide basic information on the NSCC EMT Program, class content, and expectations. Orientation is open to all.
- Complete the First Aid Entrance Exam – to be done approximately one month prior to the start of class. Class participation is on exam score, and the pass mark is 70% or more. The cost of this exam is a $35 application fee and $25 test proctor fee, which is to be paid at the NSCC Cashier’s office and both forms, with the cashier’s paid stamp on them, must be taken to the test. The top 42 scores will gain entry to the NSCC EMT Program, and the next 10 highest scores will go on a waiting list and will be notified if individuals in the top 42 do not wish to enrol. In order to prepare for this exam you should study Emergency Medical Responder: First Responder in Action, 2nd ed., by Barbara Aehlert, published by McGraw-Hill. The NSCC bookstore will be able to provide you with information if you cannot access the book.
- Be in possession of a valid U.S. driver’s license – a copy of which must be submitted upon enrolment in the course.
- Obtain your AHE191 or valid CPR Certification. A copy of your CPR card must be submitted on the first night of the NSCC EMT Program. The American Heart Association’s Healthcare Provider is the only acceptable CPR course, as it meets all the necessary requirements for the program. You can access the CPR course by registering in person at the Health & Human Services division office. The course cost, including tuition fees is $146, and you will also need to purchase as the textbook titled BLS for the Healthcare Provider by the American Heart Association and a pocket mask.
- Have the physical strength to be able to extricate, lift and carry extricate patients up to 200 lbs. with a partner.
The curriculum for the NSCC EMT Program is the AHE190 Emergency Medical Technician course, which consists of 10 credits, excluding prerequisites. You do not need to sign up in advance for this course, but must adhere to the prerequisites, which include the mandatory orientation and entrance exam.
Students who are set to complete their NSCC EMT Program requirements at the end of the quarter must apply for their award as soon as they enrol in their final classes. They must apply no later than the end of the previous quarter. This is very easily achieved by meeting with your faculty coordinator or advisor and officially completing the application. Once you have completed your application, it will be submitted to Admissions/Registration office by the faculty coordinator or advisor.
The total NSCC EMT Program consists of 150 hours of classroom and practical laboratory training, and an additional minimal 10 hours of in-hospital observation. The course covers all the requirements for individuals who provide pre-hospital emergency care according to the EMT Basic Curriculum, Washington State Law, the United States Department of Transportation, and King County EMS Guidelines.
The cost of the NSCC EMT Program is currently $1093, which consists of:
- State tuition of $160 – $16 per credit x 10 credits
- A self-support lab fee – $918
- Professional Liability Fee – $15
Over and above these fees you will be required to have or purchase a textbook, a workbook, a wristwatch, and an EMT kit.
State Reciprocity & National Registry
The NSCC EMT Program trains EMS students to meet the standards of Washington State to enable them to sit for the Emergency Medical Technician certificate examination. If you already have licensure in another state and wish to transfer to Washington State, you can contact the King County EMS on (206) 296-4861 or, should you require more information, contact Blake Harrison directly.
Graduates of the NSCC EMT Program are eligible to take the National Registry Exam to qualify for state certification once they have met the Washington State requirement of employment. The North Seattle Community College does not offer testing or certification in the National Registry program. Information regarding testing or certification can be accessed at the National Registry.