EMS Education

Click on the level to view more information.

Emergency Responder (EMR)
50-100 hours

This is the first level of training that Pennsylvania offers for people who want to be able to help in a medical emergency. This course is designed for those people who may arrive at an emergency scene prior to the arrival of an ambulance. Examples would be industrial response teams, law enforcement personnel, fire fighters, park rangers, ski patrol  or any other rescue organizations.

The course provides knowledge and skills necessary for activating the EMS system and providing immediate care for life threatening illness and injury, controlling the scene and managing the patient until the arrival of an ambulance.

The course includes training in: the roles and responsibilities of the first responder; assessing the patient for injury or illness; cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); control of bleeding and prevention of shock; and airway control and maintenance.

The course includes a Pennsylvania practical skills evaluation and a written examination. Passing both will provide the student with a Pennsylvania State certification as an EMR. Students must complete Incident Command System classes 100 & 700 and Hazardous Materials Awareness to be eligible to take the certification examination

Although an EMR is not able to be the primary care giver on an ambulance, their help as a third caregiver is always greatly appreciated by the ambulance crew.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT):

150-200 hours

The EMT course requires approximately 150-200 hours of instruction that includes the knowledge and skills required to provide basic prehospital emergency care. This program serves as the foundation for emergency medical services.

The course teaches students the overall roles and responsibilities of the EMT; an overview of anatomy and physiology; assessment of injuries and illnesses; cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); control of bleeding and shock; care of muscular skeletal injuries, medical emergencies, childbirth, pediatric emergencies, environmental emergencies; lifting and moving of patients; automatic external defibrillation; and assisting patients with their own prescribed medications. Also included are skills needed to assess the scene, and properly move and transport patients to the emergency department.

The course includes a Pennsylvania State practical skills evaluation and written examination, which, if passed, will provide a PA state certification as an EMT. Students must complete Incident Command System classes 100 & 700, Hazardous Materials Awareness, and 10 patient contacts to be eligible to take the certification examination.

Advanced EMT (AEMT)

150 – 250 Hours

The AEMT is the newest level of prehospital practitioner. The primary focus of the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician is to provide basic and limited advanced emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient care and transportation. Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians perform interventions with the basic and advanced equipment typically found on an ambulance.The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician is a link from the scene to the emergency health care system.

The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician’s scope of practice includes basic, limited advanced and pharmacological interventions to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with acute out-of-hospital medical and traumatic emergencies. Emergency care is based on assessment findings. Additionally, Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians provide care to minimize secondary injury and provide comfort to the patient and family while transporting the patient to an emergency care facility.

The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician’s knowledge, skills, and abilities are acquired through formal education and training. The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician has the knowledge associated with, and is expected to be competent in, all of the skills of the EMR and EMT. The major difference between the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and the Emergency Medical Technician is the ability to perform limited advanced skills and provide pharmacological interventions to emergency patients.

Paramedic

Prerequisite: Pennsylvania State EMT Certification

The paramedic training program is an extensive and intensive course that significantly increases the knowledge and skills to an advanced level. It includes both clinical and field experiences as well as the classroom knowledge and skills. Based on the National Standard Curriculum from the US Department of Transportation, the knowledge and skills include: an in-depth review of anatomy and physiology; patient assessment; cardiovascular and respiratory emergencies; pediatric and geriatric emergencies; infectious diseases; fluid and shock therapies; electrocardiogram monitoring and interpretation of cardiac rhythms; Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) protocols; communications; manual defibrillation and external cardiac pacing; insertion of endotracheal and nasotracheal tubes; intravenous therapy; drug calculations and pharmacology; techniques for administration of emergency medications; performance of cricothyroidotomy and percutaneous transtracheal ventilation; decompression of a tension pneumothorax; and a review of the EMT knowledge and skills.

The course includes the National Registry practical and written examinations.

Prehospital RN (PHRN)                 

The PA Department of Health will recognize as a pre-hospital registered nurse, a registered nurse who meets the following requirements:

  • Verification of PA Licensed RN in good standing
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Successfully completes Pennsylvania Pre-hospital Registered Nurse Curriculum adopted by the PA Department of Health or a knowledge and skills assessment process adopted by the PA Department of Health
  • Successfully completes the National Registry written Paramedic Assessment Test

Pre-Hospital Physician (PHP)

The PA Department of Health will certify as a Health Professional Physician, a physician approved as having met the requirements of the EMS Act. The physician must be endorsed by the Regional Medical Director and provide the following:

  • Verification of a Pennsylvania Physician License
  • Copy of current ACLS certification
  • Copy of PALS certification

Pre-Hospital Physician Extender (PHPE)

The PA Department of Health will certify as a Health Professional Physician, a physician approved as having met the requirements of the EMS Act. The physician must be endorsed by the Regional Medical Director and provide the following:

  • Verification of a Pennsylvania Physician License
  • Copy of current ACLS certification
  • Copy of PALS certification

Regional EMS Educational Institutes

These organizations provide the initial education for EMS certification. Many classes will run a normal college semester or approximately 5 months. The sessions are usually 4 hours in duration, two nights a week (Monday – Wednesday or Tuesday- Thursday) and sometimes Saturday sessions will be included in the schedule.

You can contact any of the Institutes below for more information.

Butler County Community College
College Drive, Oak Hills
P.O. Box 1203
Butler, PA 16003-1203
888-826-2829 Ext. 8401

Community College of Allegheny County
Public Safety Institute
740 E. State St.
Sharon, PA 16146
724-983-7240 or
412-237-2500

IUP Emergency Services Training Center
2712 West Pike Rd.
Indiana PA 15701
724-357-4051

Rural Regional College of Northwestern PA
Aldo Jackson, Executive Director
300 Second Street
Warren PA 16365
814-651-0691

Clarion Hospital EMS
Heather Nulph
One Hospital Dr.
Clarion, PA 16214
814-226-2619

EmergyCare
Jim Kifer, Education Coordinator
1926 Peach Street
Erie, PA 16502
814-870-1940

Superior Ambulance Service Training Institute
Michelle Eaton
P.O. Box 247
921 East Main Street Ext
Grove City PA 16127
724-458-5350