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

A Wisconsin Emergency Medical Technician is licensed by the Department of Health Services and credentialed by his or her EMS agency. Licensing is dependent on successfully completing an approved program and two examinations. Credentialing requires the approval of the agency’s medical director and service director. Licensing and credentialing are both tracked through the same online system.

Select a Wisconsin EMT Topic:

Educational Requirements

The prospective Emergency Medical Technician will need to enroll in a program through an approved EMS training center. The Wisconsin EMS Association reports that programs are approximately 180 hours (https://www.wisconsinems.com/ems-for-the-general-public/ems-education/). A list of approved training centers is available online (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/training/centers.htm). Programs are sponsored by various types of institution, including technical colleges. An in-state student will submit a training permit application before participating in the clinical portion of his or her training program.

Some programs are high school based. Such programs are typically taught in cooperation with local community technical colleges. A student may begin a program as young as age 16. The minimum age to participate in clinical training is 17. Any student who begins EMT training prior to age 18 is required to submit additional documents. The Department of Health Services has created an information packet for prospective high school enrollees and their parents. They can expect to receive this before enrollment. Information can also be downloaded from the Department of Health Services website. Licensure becomes an option at age 18.

Examination Requirements

Wisconsin graduates go through a two-part examination process that generally also results in national certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

The psychomotor examination includes stations where candidates must demonstrate actual EMT skills. The Wisconsin Technical College System coordinates psychomotor examinations at the basic EMT level. An EMT Candidate Manual can be found on the website of the Technical College System website (http://mywtcs.wtcsystem.edu/occupational-academic-excellence/law-public-safety-and-security/ems).

The candidate must pass all stations but may be allowed to retest on the same day if he or she misses no more than two stations on a first attempt. Candidates with questions about practical examination may call 608-266-0995 or 608-264-8524.

The cognitive examination is computer adaptive and is administered in a standardized manner at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the country. A candidate who has been issued an ATT may register at his or her preferred location, either in Wisconsin or another state.

Both the cognitive and practical examinations must be passed within the same twelve-month period. After three failed attempts at either examination, a candidate will need refresher training.

A 17-year-old may participate in both parts of the examination process. He or she will take the NREMT assessment examination as opposed to the certification examination. The assessment measures the same skills but does not confer national certification. The individual can request conversion after turning 18.

The Application Process

Applicants will need online accounts. Various forms can be accessed from within the system; the DOH has provided a description. The DOH has also provided a set of PDF instructions with screenshots of the account set-up and application procedures (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/licensing/index.htm).

In-state applicants apply for their training permits at some point after completing the first 46 hours of the course or earning certification at the first responder level.

A licensed EMT will submit a Local Credential Agreement (LCA) for each agency of affiliation.

Out-of-State Emergency Medical Technicians

Reciprocity can be granted on the basis of National Registry certification. The individual must verify the status of all licenses that he or she has held; the form can be accessed through the e-licensing system. An out-of-state EMT who does not hold National Registry certification will take practical and cognitive assessments. The non-certified EMT must document that he or she has met educational requirements. The licensing agency will authorize examination after reviewing documentation (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/licensing/reciprocity.htm). A reciprocity applicant pays $50 with his or her application.

EMT Intermediate Technician/ Advanced EMT Standards

In Wisconsin, the terms “EMT Intermediate Technician” and AEMT are sometimes used interchangeably; AEMT is the term currently in favor at the national level. AEMTs have limited advanced skills. The EMT will enroll in an AEMT training program and complete the National Registry examination process at the AEMT level (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/licensing/aemt-faq.htm). At the AEMT level, a student must demonstrate competencies in a wide range of domains (for example venous access and medication administration). The student will need to perform a variety of patient assessments and gain experience as a team leader out in the field. A portion of the requirements can be completed through simulation. However, many must be performed on actual patients.

Prospective licensees at this level register for practical examination through the National Registry. They are directed to register for the AEMT examination. Skill sheets (performance criteria) can be downloaded from the National Registry website (https://www.nremt.org). Upgrade applications can be accessed from within the e-licensing system. AEMT status can also be granted on the basis of reciprocity. The process is essentially the same as it is for EMT. Before the professional can go out on calls as an AEMT, he or she will need to complete a Local Credential Agreement (LCA).

Some Wisconsin emergency medical technicians hold an “EMT Intermediate” license. This has a slightly different scope of practice. Training requirements, according to the Wisconsin EMS Association, are actually higher (https://www.wisconsinems.com/ems-for-the-general-public/ems-education/).

License Maintenance

An EMT will maintain CPR certification at the healthcare level at all times. An EMS professional above the basic EMT level will need additional life support certifications. A number of providers have been approved (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/licensing/cpr.htm).

Licenses are renewed biennially. License renewal is granted on the basis of completion of a refresher course (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/licensing/renewal.htm).

Additional Information

The Emergency Medical Services Section of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ems/index.htm) can be reached by telephone at 608-266-1568. Licensing rules are found in Chapter DHS 10 (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/dhs/110/110).

Wisconsin’s professional association, the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services Association, is an additional professional resource (https://www.wisconsinems.com/).