Paramedic License Requirements: How to Become a Paramedic in Utah

Utah paramedics are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services & Preparedness, or BEMSP. Paramedic is the highest of several Emergency Medical Services (EMS) credentials. Prospective paramedics must complete a multi-stage education and examination process. Professionals who meet licensing requirements in Utah also meet all requirements for national certification as paramedics.

National certification is also the pathway to licensure for out-of-state candidates. An individual who has achieved certification is well on the way. The paramedic will, however, need to set aside time to complete (or at least document) minor additional requirements. The Bureau will need to verify that the applicant has a good background, is up-to-date on required trainings, and has had TB testing.

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Utah Paramedic Education Standards

Paramedic students must attend approved, accredited courses. Utah, like most other states, bases the program on the 2009 National EMS Standards.

The emergency medical services student will achieve EMT certification en route to Paramedic certification. An individual will need to meet academic, technical and physical standards in order to meet certification requirements at any level; these skills represent the foundation. The instructor is responsible for providing information about them during the first week of training; students are provided with the opportunity to self-assess their fitness. The Bureau has grouped skills into the following areas:

  • Critical thinking
  • Interpersonal ability
  • Communication
  • Motor skills
  • Mobility
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Smell
  • Tactile
  • Temperament

Examples of critical thinking include assessing scene safety and prioritizing patient needs and specific care modalities. The instructor will evaluate ability to meet the skills as the course progresses.

The paramedic program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or, at minimum, recognized as working toward accreditation. This is a relatively recent requirement, established by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians as a certification prerequisite. A student who enrolled in a program prior to 2013 can achieve national certification without meeting this requirement.

Students learn basic life support skills and then advanced life support skills. A certification-qualifying program will provide students with plenty of opportunity to practice these skills. Students who begin paramedic studies in August of 2016 or afterward will create psychomotor portfolios as they advance through the program.

Paramedic Examination Requirements

Utah paramedics must complete the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) examination process. The process includes practical and written examinations. Utah candidates test after they have completed their programs.

The practical examination is subject to national standards but administered locally. A Utah student can expect to take the test with his or her class. The National Registry website includes detailed descriptions of procedures that must be demonstrated (https://www.nremt.org/nremt/about/reg_para_history.asp); students can use these to help prepare. Candidates who begin the testing process in 2017 or later will encounter a somewhat different examination. Information about the new scenario-based practical examination can also be found on the NREMT website.

The written examination is computer-adapted. It covers the range of paramedic-level emergency medical care situations, from resuscitation to obstetrics. The fee will increase from $110 to $125 in 2017.

The Application Process

An in-state applicant will begin the process while enrolled as a student. The applicant will create an online account with the Bureau. The application is available within the online system. The application fee is $115; this includes a $65 background check fee.

The background process takes place while the person is still a student. The Bureau will issue a ‘Livescan’ form after receiving application and fees. Livescan is an electronic fingerprinting process that is available at many sites; the one stipulation is that the site be Direct Access Clearance System (DACS) approved.

The applicant will submit documentation of each of the following certifications at the appropriate time:

  • CPR
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals (PEPP)

Examination typically represents a last step. After both examinations have been passed, the credential can be issued.

Out-of-State Paramedics

Reciprocity is based on National Registry certification.

Reciprocity applications can be downloaded from the Bureau website (https://health.utah.gov/ems/certification/reciprocity.html).

The applicant will document his or her National Registry card; the Bureau will verify National Registry status.

The applicant will also need to submit documentation of CPR, ACLS, and PALS or PEPP certifications.

The licensing agency will require evidence of 25 Continuing Medical Education (CME) hours. An applicant who completed his or her paramedic program within the prior year can credit those hours.

The reciprocity applicant will need to provide documentation that he or she has had a TB test within the prior year. The Bureau website includes a summation of requirements, including procedures for individuals who have had a positive TB test (https://health.utah.gov/ems/certification/tuberculosis.html). Applicants are invited to call the Bureau with their questions.

The reciprocity packet includes a form that requires notarization.

Reciprocity applicants pay the same fee as Utah graduates: $115. This includes background check fees.

Paperwork can be submitted in any of several ways, including in-person at the Bureau Office in Salt Lake City. Fingerprints may be made at the Bureau Office. The reciprocity certification specialist can be reached by telephone at 801-273-6624.

Utah Paramedic Recertification

Paramedics recertify every four years (https://health.utah.gov/ems/certification/recertification.html). There are a number of steps. The paramedic will complete Continuing Medical Education in mandated subject areas. He or she will also secure the recommendation of a medical director and training officer. Paramedics who work for EMS agencies can expect to receive assistance with the recertification process.

Additional Information

Information about paramedic credentialing is available from the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness (https://health.utah.gov/ems/). The Bureau of EMS can be reached by telephone at 801-273-6666 or by email at ’ems at utah.gov’.

The Utah Association of Emergency Medical Technicians is an additional professional resource (http://www.uaemt.org).