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EMT Step by Step:

Getting certified as an EMT these days takes a lot more than just completing the class. There are many hoops to jump through (with associated fees) before the process is done. Hopefully this guide will help you plan your course of action.

Step 1) Take an EMT class.

I guess you wouldn't be reading this if you hadn't already done this step, so . . . moving on!

Step 2) Pass the class!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but for those with little previous knowledge of basic human anatomy and physiology, an EMT education is a LOT of new information in a short amount of time. Get a study group going and stay on top of all the material and skills you will be learning. Even after getting your EMT card, re-certification every two years requires that you take Continuing Education Units (CEUs), so the study skills you develop now will serve you well in your career as an EMS provider.

Step 3) National Registry of EMTs Exam

To become a certified EMT in every county in California, you must first pass the National Registry of EMTs exam. As this EMT class comes to a finish, you should schedule a time to take the National Registry Exam. Go to the web address and create a new profile. The current cost for the National Registry Exam is $70.00. Once you have paid the fee you will receive a confirmation number which you will need to schedule an appointment for the exam.
Once you have received your confirmation number from NREMT, go to web address and schedule an appointment. There is no extra cost for this since you already paid the fee to NREMT. Though not required, the Success! for EMT textbook is a great resource for making yourself very familiar with scenario-based questions. The NREMT Exam is designed to fail two fifths of the people who take it, and it is heavily weighted towards scenario-based questions. The more familiar you are with them, the better you will do on the exam.

Step 4) Get Live Scanned (the first of many . . . )

Towards the end of class, you will be visited by Celia Barry (831-454-4751) from Santa Cruz County HSA/EMS. Celia will provide you with a Request for Live Scan Service form that you will need in order to get fingerprinted. You can walk-in to the Cabrillo College Sheriff's Department and get fingerprinted for $76 any time they are open. Other locations (County offices, police stations, etc.) will do Live Scans by appointment only, but they are a little less expensive than the Sheriff's Office. This Live Scan is ONLY for Santa Cruz County EMS purposes and is required in order to eventually get your EMT card.

Step 5) Get your Ambulance Driver's Certificate

If you plan of seeking employment as an EMT for an ambulance service, you will eventually need to get your Ambulance Driver's Certificate. Go down to DMV and purchase an Ambulance Drivers Handbook for $5.00, as well as getting a Medical Examination Report (DL-51) and ANOTHER Request for Live Scan Fingerprinting. You will need to take the DL-51 form to your own doctor, or to a walk-in clinic and have an M.D. perform a routine physical. Make sure they fill out EVERYTHING on the form that needs to be filled out. The DMV is very thorough when they check this report, so if anything is not filled out correctly they will bounce it back to you.

A suggestion for when studying for the driver's test - follow this link to AMR's Ambulance Driver's Practice Test:

Some of the exact same questions on the DMV test are on this test, so it will definitely give you a leg up.

Step 6) Pass the tests!

Assuming you have passed the EMT Class final exam with flying colors, make sure to schedule your NREMT exam ASAP. It's best to just bite the bullet and take the test while all the material is still fresh in your memory. NREMT will usually send your certificate within 2 weeks after passing the exam.

Now would also be a good time to go ahead and get your Ambulance Driver's Certificate from DMV. A note of caution though - the Certificate is only good until the next time your Driver's License is due to be renewed. You may want to go ahead and get your Driver's License renewed at the same time for another 2 years rather than going through the trouble of getting your Ambulance Certificate renewed any sooner than necessary.

Step 7) Get all your paperwork together and call Ruth Shugart at County EMS (831-454-4120)

At this point, assuming you have passed the class and passed the NREMT exam, you should have at least the following paperwork:
EMT Class Completion Certificate
NREMT Certificate
Completed Live Scan Fingerprint Receipt for Santa Cruz County EMS
Call Ruth and schedule an appointment to come in and get your County EMT Card. Bring all the above paperwork, and make sure to bring $100 CASH for local residents or $200 CASH for out of county residents, since they don't take American Express!

Step 8) Congratulations!

You are now a Santa Cruz County Certified EMT. Go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back - now is when all the fun begins!

Note: This guide only takes you as far as getting your county EMT certification, however, each county is a little different with respect to requirements for certification. Chances are you will have to submit duplicate, and even triplicate copies of the same papers you provided Santa Cruz County EMS in order to work in other counties. Those of you moving directly into careers as EMS providers should be very diligent about keeping good records of all your certifications and their respective renewal dates. As mentioned earlier, EMS personnel are required to keep up to date certifications, as well as CEUs for re-certification purposes every few years. In some cases, you can actually be pulled off your rig if your CPR card has expired!

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