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

Rhode Island Emergency Medical Technicians are under the jurisdiction of the Division of Emergency Medical Services, a part of the Rhode Island Department of Health. In order to be eligible for licensure, prospective EMTs must be at least eighteen years of age and must have graduated from high school or earned equivalency. They must be judged to have good character. Education and examination requirements for the basic EMT credential are based on national standards. Certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians is accepted as the basis of licensure, though out-of-state applicants may face minor additional requirements.

Some Rhode Island EMTs have advanced or role-specific training and an expanded scope of practice.

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Educational Standards

Rhode Island programs are approved by the Department of Health; the individual will include the course approval number at the time of application.

Rhode Island programs are based on national curriculum standards. They must meet standards promulgated by the Department of Health. They are conducted by state-licensed instructor-coordinators. Students can expect to receive various documents at the onset of the course, among them, copies of Rhode Island protocols and of skill sheets that will be used to assess performance on the practical examination.

In most cases, no more than seven hours of instruction is allowed per day. Students must score at least 70% on written examinations.

Examination Requirements

Each student will take a psychomotor or practical examination at course conclusion. Programs use performance sheets developed by the National Registry. A candidate is allowed to retake up to two practical examination stations.

Rhode Island also uses a written examination developed by the National Registry. A student may create an online account through the NREMT website. The NREMT will require evidence that all components of the qualifying program have been completed.

The examination is computer adaptive so the number of questions that an applicant sees during a given session will vary. Examinations are available on an ongoing basis at Pearson VUE sites in Rhode Island and neighboring states. The examination fee is scheduled to increase from $70 to $80 in 2017.

Re-examination is allowed. The full fee is due each time. The NREMT imposes a brief wait period between attempts. A candidate who fails a third attempt must re-apply and take a refresher course. A candidate is allowed up to six total attempts. Any further attempt would require re-enrolling in an approved course and meeting all requirements.

Candidates are expected to complete all licensing requirements within a year of first examination.

The Application Process

License applications are available from the Rhode Island Department of Health (http://www.health.ri.gov/licensing/healthcare/#emt). The applicant will need to make sure that the form is current. The application is typically submitted before national examination.

The applicant will provide a signed copy of an acceptable CPR certification at the healthcare provider level; the licensing agency will need to see both sides of the card. The application includes a list of approved providers.

Applicants must provide a report from the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). In-state applicants are directed to contact the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. Background requirements are described in the Rhode Island Department of Health EMT-Licensure Criminal Convictions Guidelines.

The applicant will document high school graduation or GED at the time of first application.

The application fee is $120. Some applicants will be exempt based on the organization that they provide services for.

Applicants are invited to call the Division with their questions.

Applications are to be sent by mail to the Division of Emergency Medical Services in Providence.

Out-of-State EMTs

According to state administrative code, an EMT who is licensed in another jurisdiction may be licensed by reciprocity if he or she passes the required written examination. An individual with current National Registry status may be licensed without examination.

The Division of Emergency Medical Services will require license verification from each state where the applicant has held Emergency Medical Technician licensing. The out-of-state licensee can download the form by clicking on reciprocity application. He or she will also need the general application form; this includes instructions about general requirements such as criminal history screening.

Out-of-state applicants are directed to obtain a criminal record check from their own state of residence.

Out-of-state applicants are advised to include a copy of their out-of-state license as well as a copy of the qualifying National Registry certification (as applicable). They should also provide evidence of EOA-PASG (MAST) training.

Expanded Scope of Practice

Some EMTs have an expanded scope of practice. Additional training is required for Orotracheal / Endotracheal Intubation; there is a separate application that must be submitted to the Department.

Cardiac EMT Requirements

In order to be licensed as a Cardiac EMT, an Emergency Medical Technician must complete an approved program and pass an examination.

Healthcare professionals who hold qualifying certifications can receive EMT-Cardiac credentials upon completion of a written examination. The Division requires the professional to hold both a Category I and Category II certification. Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) is an example of a qualifying Category I certification.

Cardiac EMT applicants submit a $60 examination fee directly to the Department of Health. Application materials are due two weeks before examination.

Renewal Requirements

The renewal applicant will provide evidence of either current National Registry status or completion of an approved refresher program. If the refresher program was led by an instructor-coordinator licensed in a state other than Rhode Island, the applicant will need to provide evidence that the course was equivalent. CPR training is required in all instances.

Additional Information

Information about Emergency Medical Technician licensure is available from the Rhode Island Department of Health (http://www.health.ri.gov/licensing/healthcare/#emt). The Division of Emergency Medical Services can be reached at (401) 222-2401.