EMT License Requirements: How to Become an Emergency Medical Technician in Hawaii

Hawaii’s Emergency Medical Technicians are under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Medical Board. In order to achieve licensure, a person must 1) complete a Hawaii-approved program (or an equivalent program) and 2) pass two certifying examinations.

Hawaii does not have reciprocity with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians or with other state licensing boards. Training requirements are set higher in Hawaii than they are in many parts of the nation, and even a nationally registered EMT may fall short. However, there are multiple pathways to meet standards. In some cases, an out-of-state EMT will be granted a temporary credential.

Select a Hawaii EMT Topic:

Educational Requirements

EMT-Basic (EMT-B) represents the entry-level. Hawaii EMT-B programs are at least 315 hours and include at least 180 didactic hours and 135 clinical experience hours.

Didactic training includes the following concepts, among others:

  • EMS standards and policies
  • Human systems
  • Respiratory emergencies
  • Cardiovascular emergencies
  • Pediatric emergencies
  • Trauma
  • Communications

Clinical experience includes two components: hospital-based clinical training and ambulance-based field training. The following are among the skills that an EMT is expected to master:

  • Applying bandages
  • Controlling hemorrhage
  • Performing CPR
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Immobilizing and extricating victims of automobile accidents
  • Performing 12-lead EKG

There is only one approved in-state program, but it is offered at multiple campuses.

A student who is completing his or her initial training in Hawaii will be expected to complete some prerequisite coursework. Currently, the required courses are composition and medical terminology.

EMT training can be completed in one semester.

Examination Requirements

Prospective EMTs must complete both parts of the National Registry examination process.

The cognitive examination is selected response. Candidates can register through the NREMT and pay their fees online. Eligibility must be confirmed. Once authorized, the candidate will schedule his or her examination through Pearson VUE.

Candidates can expect to receive information about practical examination from their programs.

Temporary Certificates for New Graduates

Temporary certificates can be granted to graduates who have not yet met examination requirements. Graduates who choose to work under temporary certification must take the first available exam; postponement is not allowed.

Testing at the Intermediate Level

An individual may be permitted to test at the intermediate level. He or she must submit an application before examination.

Out-of-State EMTs

Out-of-state providers must secure license verification from all states where they have held licensure, regardless of whether the credentials are active. Verification forms are found in the application packet.

An EMT who was trained outside of Hawaii will need to have his or her program director fill out an equivalency form. The director will list the number of didactic and clinical hours and confirm that the program otherwise met requirements.

If the program is not found to be equivalent, the applicant will be notified of deficiencies; he or she will have the opportunity to correct them.

There are several ways to meet didactic coursework deficiencies. The applicant may be given equivalency credit for the didactic portion of the program if he or she holds the following three certifications:

  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)
  • Hazardous Materials (HazMat)

Out-of-state EMTs who do not meet Hawaii’s didactic training requirements may wish contact Kaipiolani Community College; KCC is charged with running the Hawaii EMT program.

An out-of-state EMT will need fully 135 clinical training hours. Work experience is not credited as clinical training. However, the licensing agency may consider training hours that were provided by an employer.

An EMT who falls short of the required clinical hours may be issued a temporary permit. An EMT working under temporary certification will be the third person on the ambulance crew; he or she will work under paramedic supervision.

Professional and Vocational Licensing has provided a FAQ page that addresses the various ways to make up deficiencies (http://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/faqs/medical_faq/).

An out-of-state applicant will also need to demonstrate current NREMT certification; a verification form is included in the application packet.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the website of Hawaii Vocational and Professional Licensing (http://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/medical/application_publication).

An in-state candidate may apply before completing the examination process.

The applicant will need to demonstrate U.S. citizenship or other qualifying legal status; the Board can accept alien status if the individual has a work authorization. The Board can issue conditional approval of credentials before authorization is granted, but cautions that this alone is not enough to authorize approval.

Licensure fees will depend on the current stage of the renewal cycle. Candidates who have already met national certification requirements submit fees at the time of application. Those who have not yet met requirements submit a $20 application fee.

Applications are to be mailed or hand-delivered to the Hawaii Medical Board in Honolulu; the application includes a physical address as well as a post office box.

Applicants may call (808) 586-3000 to check status.

Renewal Requirements

Hawaii EMT licenses are renewed biennially.

EMTs can meet continuing competence requirements through continued national certification. Those who do not hold national certification will need a refresher course and additional continuing education.


EMT-B is part of a career ladder. Successful EMT-Bs can go on to become MICTs (paramedics).

Additional Information

The Hawaii Medical Board is under the banner of Professional and Vocational Licensing; licensing information can be found on the PVL website (http://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/medical/).

EMT laws are found in Chapter 453 of state code. Administrative rules are found in Chapter 85. The Board notes that applicants should also read the general PVL licensing rules. The Board can provide hard copies of state code to those who make written request.

The licensing agency can be reached at (808) 586-3000.