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

New York Emergency Medical Technicians are under the jurisdiction of the New York Bureau of EMS (BEMS). New York has its own education and examination process, based largely on national standards. New York students take a different certification examination than students in most of the country.

Reciprocity can be granted in many instances.

New York recognizes Advanced EMT and EMT-Critical Care. The New York EMT-Critical Care designation is significantly different than the Critical Care designation used in many jurisdictions; it is not considered a paramedic designation.

Select a New York EMT Topic:

Basic Emergency Medical Technician Training

A New York Emergency Medical Technician program is based on National EMS Standards, but includes some state-specific content. The Bureau of EMS has made the New York version of EMS Standards available to instructors and students (http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/national_education_standards_transition/). The Bureau estimates the program at 150 to 190 hours.

A list of training locations can be found on the BEMS website (http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/education.htm). Prospective EMTs can contact their Regional Council to find out about local opportunities.

Before moving on to the examination stage, students must meet performance standards. This includes meeting CPR standards at the Professional Rescuer level.

The Examination Process

Prospective licensees must complete both a written certification examination and a Practical Skills Examination, or PSE. Students typically receive test dates for both the PSE and written examination from their training instructors.

Candidates at the EMT level complete six PSE stations. All candidates are evaluated on the following:

  • Trauma and medical assessment
  • Bag valve mask
  • Cardiac management/ AED

The other three skills will vary. A candidate may test on either supine or seated spinal immobilization and on long bone, joint, or traction splint immobilization. He or she may perform supplemental oxygen administration, bleeding control and shock management, or airway adjuncts and suction.

The Bureau of EMS has provided skill sheets that break each tested skill down into steps (http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/national_education_standards_transition/). Some steps are worth a set number of points; the number varies. Others are marked critical; this means the candidate must pass them in order to pass the station.

According to the PSE skill sheets document, a candidate who fails three or more stations must take a refresher course before retesting.

New York practical skills examiners are, as of early 2016, using psychomotor skill sheets that have were put into use in December of 2012. The Bureau notes that the document will be replaced at such time as there are revisions to the examination.

New York utilizes a state-specific written examination. Candidates do not take it until after they have passed the PSE.

The Bureau has provided a schedule of upcoming written examinations. In 2015 -2017, the examination is administered in Long Island City and Fresh Meadows. The application due date is nearly two months in advance of the test date; this means that a student should apply soon after beginning the course. Examinations typically begin at 7:00 PM.

A candidate may be allowed two attempts at the written examination before refresher is required.

Test scheduling request forms are found on the Bureau website.

In some cases, the examination may be offered on-site.

The Application Process

Regulation begins early. In-state students fill out applications well in advance of meeting requirements. They are asked to provide their test date for both the PSE and the written certification exam.

Forms can be downloaded from the EMS website (http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/emsforms.htm).

A $20 testing fee is due to Pro Exam.

Requirements for AEMTs

Prospective Advanced EMTs complete a second program, one that builds on prior EMT skills.

AEMT and EMT-Critical Care programs are listed in documents on the BEMS website. Again, the EMT’s Regional Council may be a better resource when it comes to locating a program.

The Bureau estimates that an AEMT program will be 160 to 200 hours.

Candidates must be certified at the basic EMT level before they can be certified at the AEMT level.

The Medical Director of the training program will sign a form, authorizing qualified AEMT students to take the Practical Skills Examination.

Policies for AEMT practical examination, including the number of stations that may be retaken, are somewhat different than for basic EMT examination. These are outlined in the transition documents. The document also includes basic information about EMT-Critical Care examination.

Students follow a similar process to register for the written certification examination at the AEMT level.


Certification is typically issued for three years.

Out-of-State EMTs

There are multiple options for out-of-state EMS professionals. The New York Bureau of EMS defines reciprocity as being eligible for licensure without having to take either an initial course or a refresher course.

An out-of-state EMT may be granted reciprocity on the basis of state licensure or (in some instances) requirements that were met while serving in the U.S. military or the National Park service. Reciprocity is extended to otherwise eligible EMTs and AEMTs from all U.S. states and from the District of Columbia.

In order to qualify, a state-licensed Emergency Medical Technician must have completed a training program based on the national guidelines. He or she must have taken both a practical examination and a written examination during the prior 18 months. The New York licensing agency can accept state-constructed examinations as well as examinations that are under the banner of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

A member of the U.S. military may need to demonstrate National Registry status (http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/certification/reciprocity.htm). A qualifying military member may have tested any time during the prior three years.

Out-of-state EMTs may be accepted to test at BEMS-approved schools.

There is a separate application for reciprocity applicants. Supplemental forms are also available for download, as is a document that explains reciprocity in detail (http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/emsforms.htm). Out-of-state EMTs should be aware that regulations and policy are subject to change.

The New York licensing agency will need some information from the other state. A verification form is used for this purpose.

Medical professionals may be eligible for advanced placement in New York EMS programs. This is not, however, considered reciprocity.

Additional Information

Information about EMT and Advanced EMT licensure is available from the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/). The Bureau can be reached at 518-402-0996.