The average time to become an EMT in Texas is approximately 15 weeks. At least that is an estimate based upon the length of traditional semester-based training courses, but like many answers to many questions, the real answer is “it depends.”
The length of time of an EMT training program is different from the time it takes to become fully licensed, and there are a few steps that take some time that are unrelated to your course.
For example, it takes approximately a month after you apply to receive your license from the Texas Department of State Health Services, and you cannot apply until you have been registered as an EMT with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. You must also be fingerprinted, which means if you have not already done so, you may have to wait on that process. All of this effort comes only after you have completed a state approved EMT course and registered with NREMT.
If your course doesn’t include a Texas EMS Jurisprudence certification, or if you are a registered EMT moving to Texas from another state, you will need to complete a Texas EMS Jurisprudence Course. Texas EMS Schools EMT course includes the Texas EMS Jurisprudence Certification.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Texas EMT Course?
You will often see the answer to this question expressed as a certain number of hours. For example, X number of hours of instruction, X number of hours in labs, and X number of hours in field or clinical experiences. The truth is these numbers vary greatly among approved Texas courses and you may wish to ask detailed questions when you are interviewing schools to attend.
The Texas EMS School EMT course for example is based upon a specific number of hours but is also competency based. That means that while there is a minimum number of hours you must spend with the curriculum, and there are maximum time-frames the amount of time you actually spend completing the course is more about you and your circumstances than it is a set number of weeks. There are no mandatory times that you must “attend.” Instead you are simply asked to demonstrate competency by interacting with the Axon Adaptive Learning System.
This is why individuals with previous medical experience like Physician’s Assistants, Doctors of Chiropractic, Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Medical Assistants, Phlebotomists, etc. often move through the course very quickly. They are already familiar with medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, HIPPA requirements etc. The adaptive software tests their knowledge, and once they demonstrate competency they are allowed to move on quickly. For students who are just entering the healthcare profession, homework may be assigned to ensure competency. In short, the Adaptive Learning System assigns homework and testing based upon a student’s demonstrated knowledge. It is highly personalized and different for every student.
At Texas EMS School our average completion time for the online portion of the EMT course is approximately 18 weeks, but many finish sooner, and some finish later. Every student is required to complete all course activity prior to the end of the 26th week.
There are highly intensive face-to-face courses in Texas that promote the ability to have you complete the course in only two weeks. For some students this could be an excellent choice, but students should be very aware of their own learning style to ensure the extremely quick pace is suitable for them. As with all schools prospective students should ask the school about their course pass rate, and their First Time Pass Rate with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) Cognitive Examination.
Traditional semester-based programs are customarily face-to-face, however the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 caused a number of programs to quickly put together online courses to mimic the face-to-face curriculum. These are most frequently offered by community colleges, and are an excellent choice for any student who feels they learn better through face-to-face lecture in a classroom. It remains to be seen if the rapid conversion of many of the courses to hybrid or fully online formats will continue for the long term, or whether they will prove to be effective. If this approach sounds like a good fit for you, you can evaluate the course by asking recruiters about the course’s student satisfaction rating, and their NREMT First Time Pass Rate.
Many firefighters are also able to obtain EMT training offered through their own department, but increasingly the application for firefighting positions frequently includes the requirement that the candidate be a certified EMT prior to application.
Course completion time may also be impacted by the availability of Clinical and Field Experience sites. Candidates should ask schools to help them understand where they will be able to complete their clinical experiences to avoid extra travel, and therefore additional course completion time.