EMT Certification Requirements: How to Become an Emergency Medical Technician in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Emergency Medical Technicians are state-certified by the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS).

State certification (or licensure) is based primarily on national certification. This is a relatively recent requirement; some current Massachusetts licensees received their credentials without it.

Candidates achieve certification after completing approved training programs and passing both portions of the national examination process. OEMS notes the following general eligibility requirements: EMTs must be at least 18 and free of addictions or defects that would prevent them from carrying out their duties. They must be competent in the English language; this entails the ability to read English as well as understand it and communicate in it.

Massachusetts OEMS uses the term ‘EMT-Basic’ to refer to what is, under new national standards, known simply as EMT. Massachusetts also recognizes Advanced EMT, or AEMT; this designation corresponds to a similarly titled national certification. The state is phasing out the intermediate EMT classification. Not only are new credentials not issued at this level, but those who previously attained it are required to transition or downgrade. Transitions are taking place during the 2016 and 2017 renewal periods.

Select a Massachusetts EMT Topic:

Massachusetts EMT Educational Standards

Programs operating within Massachusetts must be accredited by the Office of Emergency Medical Services. They are sometimes referred to as Accredited Training Institutions. The Health and Human Services website includes a list of programs, arranged by geographical location within the state (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/oems/emt-training-inst/public-health-oems-training-institutions.html).

Massachusetts programs meet the EMS education standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Additionally, they meet requirements described in the Massachusetts Administrative Requirements Manual.

The EMT Examination Process

Initial EMT applicants must go through an examination process that also results in national certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, or NREMT.

The program graduate will need to pass two examinations. The cognitive exam is administered via computer in a standardized manner at sites throughout the country. The graduate will need an NREMT account. Directions are found on the NREMT website. However, the candidate can also expect to receive information from his or her program. The program can authorize the NREMT to issue an ATT. The ATT will allow the candidate to schedule at his or her choice of participating Pearson VUE testing centers. It is valid for 90 days.

The EMT Basic Practical Exam is administered by the state’s training programs. Prospective EMTs take the examination only after completing all portions of their course, including internship. Massachusetts programs have procedures in place for re-examination and for testing of candidates who completed other authorized training programs. Currently, Massachusetts allows three attempts at the psychomotor examination.

Candidates can attempt the examinations in either order. Both the psychomotor examination and the NREMT written examination must be passed within the same 12-month timeframe. The candidate must obtain certification within the two years following course completion. Massachusetts has an alternate skills verification process for candidates at the EMT-Basic level who passed the psychomotor examination but allowed their one-year eligibility to lapse (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/oems/psychomotor-skills-verification-for-nremt-certification.html).

Out-of-State Emergency Medical Technicians

Applicants who have held licensure in another state must provide verification. Out-of-state EMTs who do not hold NREMT credentials are directed to first obtain them. They may visit the NREMT website to set up their accounts (http://nremt.org/).

The Application Process

Applicants are asked to familiarize themselves with applicable laws and regulations.

Currently, Massachusetts can accept initial applications submitted online or through the mail. Online submission is noted as the preferred method. The OEMS website includes application forms and step-by-step instructions; the online application instructions document includes screen shots (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/oems/emt/certification/).

The licensing agency will require a copy of both the NREMT certification and the qualifying CPR certification.

Applicants who answer “yes” to criminal history questions will need to submit Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) packets.

Applications are to be accompanied by a $150 fee.

Applications sent by mail are to be addressed to the following address:
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Office of Emergency Medical Services
ATTN: Certification
99 Chauncy Street, 11th Floor
Boston, MA 02111

Applicants should be aware that the processing time is longer for applications submitted by mail.

EMT Certification for Healthcare Providers

Physicians, physician assistants, and registered nurses have alternative EMT requirements. They must apply to both the Massachusetts OEMS and the NREMT. OEMS will need to determine that the candidate is eligible for examination.

Renewal Requirements

The renewal process varies somewhat, depending on certification and affiliation status.

Affiliated EMTs who do not hold NREMT certification can expect their training officer to review their training profiles. Those who are not affiliated will go through their regional offices. OEMT maintains a separate website to assist with the continuing education process (http://massemt.org/Default-ma.asp).

The Office of Emergency Medical Services has published a number of documents to guide professionals through the recertification process (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/oems/emt/recertification).

Advanced EMT (AEMT) Requirements

Advanced EMT credentialing is dependent on completion of another approved program. AEMT examinations are administered by accredited training programs under standards set by the NREMT. For the most part, candidates all complete the same stations (among them, cardiac arrest management, IV and medication, and pediatric intraosseous infusion. One station, however, is randomly assigned.

The AEMT cognitive examination registration process is similarly to the EMT registration process. Re-examination policies for both the AEMT psychomotor and written examinations are set by the NREMT.

The state’s Advanced EMTs are required to maintain their NREMT certification.

The continuing education requirement is currently 50 hours.

Additional Information

Information is available from the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/oems/). OEMS can be reached by telephone at (617) 753-7300. Additional contact information is found in the online staff directory (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/oems/oems-staff-directory.html).

Requirements are described in the Administrative Requirements (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/oems/emt/regulations/). Documents undergo periodic revision.