EMS Certification Process
Emergency Medical Responder is a course that teaches lifesaving skills such as CPR, bleeding control and airway management. These courses are usually 56-70 hours in duration. You must be at least 16 years of age. You can then certify by successfully completing the National Registry of EMTs exam which includes both a skills and computer exam at a Pearson Vue testing center.
Emergency Medical Technician is a course that teaches lifesaving skills such as CPR, bleeding control, airway management, assisted medications, treatment for medical and trauma emergencies, and ambulance operations. These courses are usually 150-200 hours in duration as well as a field component to treat and assess patients. You must be at least 16 years of age. You can then certify by successfully completing the National Registry of EMTs exam which includes both a skills and computer exam at a Pearson Vue testing center.
Advanced Emergency Medical Technician is a course that teaches lifesaving skills such as CPR, bleeding control, advanced airway management, IV’s, medication delivery, treatment for medical and trauma emergencies, and ambulance operations. These courses are usually 300 hours in duration as well at field component to treat and assess patients. You must be at least 18 years of age. You can then certify by successfully completing the National Registry of EMTS exam which includes both a skills and computer exam at a Pearson Vue testing center.
Paramedic is a course that teaches lifesaving skills such as CPR, bleeding control, advanced airway management, IV’s, needle decompression, 12 lead EKG’s, medication delivery, treatment for medical and trauma emergencies, and ambulance operations. These courses are usually 700-1000 hours in duration as well at field and clinical components to treat and assess patients. You must be at least 18 years of age and must be a CURRENT EMT. You can then certify by successfully completing the National Registry of EMTS exam which includes both a skills and computer exam at a Pearson Vue testing center.
EMS West manages all psychomotor exams for EMR, EMT, AEMT and Paramedic level certifications. Students currently enrolled in a certification course must register for exams through their primary class instructor. Students that need to schedule an exam retest or if you are located outside of the EMS West region please complete the Exam Request form. Click Here to view our Exam Schedule.
Exam Scheduling Request
Certification from Another State
Individuals who hold a current EMS Certification from another stare or from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians are eligible to obtain a Pennsylvania EMS Certification through the process of Certification by Endorsement. This process includes the completion of an electronic application found on the PA EMS Registry System, submission of background checks that may include any or several of the following (Federal, State of Residence or State of Certification) and the verification of Photo ID. To obtain detail instructions or to schedule an appointment for ID verification, please complete the following form:
Certification from Another State
Certification from Military Service
US Military members who are either current active duty or have been discharged from military service within the previous 12 months and hold a current National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification are eligible to apply for Pennsylvania Certification. Applicants that meet the criteria detailed above shall only be required to submit a FBI background check.
Lapse in Certification
If you have an expired EMS certification, the Pennsylvania Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) makes the process of activating an expired certification easy. Providers will need to log into the PA EMS Registry and fill out a reinstatement application. The form includes updating your contact information, answering questions and submitting for review and approval.
Education Incentive Program
This program is designed and intended to financially support the educational efforts of persons seeking to become EMS providers, as well as currently certified providers who wish to continue their education by achieving a higher level of EMS certification. Additionally, this program encourages newly certified BLS providers to join the EMS work force by providing an opportunity to receive an additional monetary incentive to volunteer with, or become employed by, an EMS agency that provides 911 response and transportation of patients to a medical facility for a minimum specified period of time.
Funds will only be allocated and paid on a reimbursement basis, meaning that the student must successfully achieve specified benchmark and provide appropriate documentation of funds already paid by the student. No funding will be provided in anticipation of the student’s achievements, but only after completing certain requirements.
In order to be eligible for this program, the certification class must have begun after April 1, 2020, and the student’s certification date must be after July 1, 2020. Priority will be given to candidates who are affiliated, or intend to become affiliated with, basic life support EMS agencies that have been granted a staffing exception by the Department of Health under Act 17 of 2020.
Other eligibility requirements are specified below.
- Student attended an accredited EMS Education Institute in the EMS West Region
- Student self-paid entrance fee to the EMS Education Institute
- Student certified as an EMR, EMT or AEMT after July 1, 2020
- EMR Education Tuition Offset – $150
- EMT Education Tuition Offset – $350
- AEMT Education Tuition Offset – $600
- After the completion of a minimum of six months of continuous active participation (volunteer or employed) with a Pennsylvania licensed EMS Agency. Verified with a letter provided by the Chief/Director/President of the EMS Agency confirming active participation and the provider is not on a probationary or skills-restricted status.
- EMR EMS Agency Offset – $150
- EMT EMS Agency Offset – $350
- AEMT EMS Agency Offset – $350
Education Reimbursement Form
EMS Training Institutes that Offer Initial Certification Classes
Community College of Allegheny County
1000 McKee Rd N1180
Oakdale, PA 15071
BLS and ALS Courses
Fayette Campus of Penn State’s Commonwealth College
2201 University Dr
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456
BLS & ALS Courses
PHRN and EMT Prepare Courses
EMS West provides at no charge, classroom and hands on instruction program for PHRN and EMT student candidates that are preparing to participate in both the psychomotor and computer adaptive exams. Candidates that have participated in our prepare courses have been 85% more successful on first time exam pass when compared to other students. Fill out the form below to receive more information about PHRN or EMT Prepare.
PHRN and EMT Prepare Courses
All currently registered EMS Providers are required to request reregistration by completing the electronic application contained within the EMS Registry system website. This application must be completed at least 30 days, and no more than 90 days from your current expiration date. All continuing education requirements must be met before reregistration along with the provider having record of a valid CPR certification in their electronic record.
To complete the reregistration request, log into the EMS Registry System and select EMS Practitioner > My EMS Practitioner Record >Manage My Certifications (located at the bottom of the General Information tab) and then select Reregistration.
The Department of Health Bureau of EMS requires all lead instructors of certification programs to be credentialed as an “EMS Instructor”. Certification programs include all classes that prepare students to become EMR’s, EMT’s, AEMT’s or Paramedics. EMS Instructors must be at least 18 years of age and be currently certified at the EMT level or above and complete one of the following Instructor Programs.
EMS Education Institute
Education Methodology from the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy
Teacher’s certificate in Pennsylvania
Bachelors’ Degree in Education
Masters’ Degree or Doctorate in any discipline
Other Approved Program accepted in Pennsylvania (does not include CPR, ACLS, PALS, First Aid or EVOC)
Instructor candidates must complete an additional 20 hours of monitored teaching of EMS Certification Programs by a current Pennsylvania EMS Instructor.
This EMS Instructor credential is considered registered for a period of three years and requires 60 hours of documented teaching on a triannual basis for renewal. Use the EMS Registry to search for upcoming instructor programs.