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

Ohio Emergency Medical Technicians are under the jurisdiction of the Division of Emergency Medical Services. Licensure is based on education, examination, and background screening.

Ohio Emergency Medical Services is in a time of transition. In May of 2016, the Emergency Medical Technician title will change from EMT-Basic to EMT. Ohio Emergency Medical Technicians who have pursued additional training and acquired limited advanced skills will be designated Advanced EMT (AEMT) as opposed to EMT-Intermediate. These changes are intended to align Ohio titles with titles in use at the national level.

Select an Ohio EMT Topic:

Educational Standards

EMT programs are offered by state-approved sponsoring organizations. An Ohio EMT program will include the following components: didactic coursework, skills laboratory, hospital/ clinical work, and field experience. The student can expect some preparation for ambulance driving as well as for carrying out patient care and triage (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4765.16).The program will be a minimum 150 hours and will cover the curriculum outlined in the Ohio Approved EMS Curriculum Standards (http://www.ems.ohio.gov/ems_education.stm). As of 2016, it is the 2012 standards that are posted for reference. These draw from 2009 national standards – these are the ones that most U.S. programs are based on.

Ohio programs are offered by a variety of sponsors including community colleges and technology centers. The Department of Public Safety has provided a search tool that prospective students can use to locate approved programs (https://services.dps.ohio.gov/EMSSchools/TrainingFacility). A prospective EMT may begin training as young as 17 if he or she is enrolled in the final year of high school. A successful student will receive a certificate of completion at course conclusion.

Examination Requirements

Ohio Emergency Medical Services refers interested individuals to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians for information about examination (http://www.ems.ohio.gov/ems_testing.stm). The Division also notes that each authorized training agency has examination applications.

The cognitive examination is computer adaptive. It covers EMS operations as well as the range of trauma- and medical-based out-of-hospital care situations. A candidate must complete all parts of the course, including the clinical portion, before he or she can be authorized to sit for examination. An authorized candidate will contact Pearson VUE about scheduling.

According to Ohio Revised Code 4765.29, an applicant may make no more than three attempts at the examination without remediation (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4765).

A candidate can expect to pay the full fee each time he or she attempts the cognitive examination.

Background Screening

An individual can expect to go through a criminal background check process before being employed as an Emergency Medical Technician in Ohio.

The Application Process

The application for initial licensure is carried out online (https://www.dps.ohio.gov/certrenewal/main.aspx). Students can expect to receive login information from their program directors.

A 17-year-old applicant must have an affiliation and must provide a letter of support.


The EMT Basic license is issued for three years at a time. There are currently several renewal pathways. One option is continuing certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. An EMT who renews on the basis of National Registry certification will also need to have current trauma triage and transportation protocols.

Candidates can also renew on the basis of refresher courses or continuing education that includes coursework in specific mandated areas. Some EMTs renew on the basis of examination. An EMT who renews on the basis of examination will take essentially the same exam that is required for initial credentialing. However, the examination is referred to as an assessment examination when it is not taken for certification purposes. Information about this option is included in the “testing” section of the ODPS website (http://www.ems.ohio.gov/ems_testing.stm).

Advanced EMT Training

Advanced or intermediate training is an extension of basic EMT training.

The basic EMT credential is far more common than the intermediate credential; the Division reported that in March of 2016, there were nearly ten times as many active EMT-B certifications than EMT-I certifications. Far more EMTs go on to achieve paramedic credentials than intermediate level credentials. The Ohio Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services and the Division of Emergency Medical Services have provided a scope of practice for each level of EMS provider.

An Advanced EMT program, like a basic one, will be comprised of didactic instruction, lab work, clinicals, and fieldwork. It will be a minimum 200 hours.


The licensing agency will expect EMTs who completed their training in other states or through the U.S. military to hold National Registry certification. Reciprocity applications can be found on the ODPS website (http://ems.ohio.gov/ems_forms.stm).

An out-of-state EMT who does not hold National Registry certification is directed to first seek certification (or reinstatement). A reciprocity applicant will need to submit a verification form to each applicable state or military installation.

Scope of practice and skills training are not identical from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Reciprocity applicants will note on their applications whether particular skills were included in their training. In some cases, additional training will be required.

The reciprocity application fee is $75.

Application materials are to be mailed to the Emergency Medical Services division in Columbus.

Application materials can be held in active status for six months. An applicant who needs additional time will need to contact the licensing agency.

Additional Information

Information about Emergency Medical Technician requirements is available from the Division of Medical Services. The Division of Emergency Medical Services can be reached at (614) 466-9447 or (800) 233-0785. Questions may be addressed to ‘ASKEMS at dps.ohio.gov’. Additional email contact information is available online (http://www.ems.ohio.gov/contacts-agency.stm).

Chapter 4765 of state code covers basic EMS requirements (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4765). The Division has also published a list of frequently asked questions (http://www.ems.ohio.gov/ems_faqs.stm).