EMS School Guide: How Long Is It and How Much Does It Cost?

Before you can become an EMT or paramedic, you must complete a course at EMS school. Completing an EMS course takes time, commitment, and ambition. So, being well-prepared and knowing what you want is always best before you apply. 

This article answers every question you may have about EMS school. Discover the different qualifications, what you need before you apply, how much it costs, and how long it takes to become a certified EMR, EMT, or paramedic.

Who Can Enroll in an EMS School?

While the prerequisites for becoming an EMS professional may change from time to time, they are generally clear-cut. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is the certifying organization by most states, including Illinois.

There are a few requirements for enrolling in an EMS school and getting certified. Some of the basic requirements you’ll need are:

  • Be 18 years old or above before enrolling in any EMS school.
  • Get a CPR certification from a certified body like Red Cross.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • You should have completed high school or have a GED Diploma before enrolling.
  • Speak, read, and write fluent English.
  • Proof of your legal presence in the United States.
  • You should be mentally sound.
  • You should be physically sound.
  • Passing the NREMT examination is a mandatory requirement.

What Are the Training Levels in an EMS School?

There are several career paths you can explore in the EMS field, depending on the level of training and certifications you complete. Here are the different training levels in an EMS school.

1. Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) Training

EMRs require the least amount of training. They provide CPR and other basic life-saving procedures. These techniques will stabilize a patient until more advanced medical professionals arrive.

How Long Does an EMR Course Take?

An EMR course can take 50-60 hours, depending on the school. However, according to Elite Academy, the emergency medical responder course is only 56 hours long (8 class days).

It typically features lectures, videos, simulated emergencies, discussions, and hands-on practice sessions.

How Much Does an EMR Course Cost?

It costs between $200-650 to take an EMR course in an EMS school. Most times, the enrollment fee includes course materials. Factors that determine the exact price include your location and the EMS school you choose to attend.

2. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Training

EMTs can treat patients on-site and during transportation to a nearby hospital. They administer primary medical care to stabilize patients.

There are different EMT training levels. They are:

Basic Emergency Technician (EMT-B) 

The entry-level education in EMS is the EMT-Basic license. EMT-Basics offer sick and injured individuals primary pre-hospital care. In Illinois, community colleges, hospitals, and other training facilities all provide the EMT-Basic course. It’s usually a one-semester course.

The typical requirements to enroll in an EMT program include:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Ability to read/comprehend at college level

You should expect to spend between one and two years in school to finish the 120-150-hour Emergency Medical Technician training program. There will be both lectures and practical sessions during the course. As an EMT-Basic, you’ll receive training to do the following things:

  • Check patients’ vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing)
  • Administer CPR 
  • Use an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Administer oxygen
  • Bandage wounds, 
  • Splint broken limbs, and 
  • Ask patients a series of questions to determine their medical condition. 
Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate (EMT-I) 

To become an EMT-I, you must already hold an EMT-Basic license. This takes between 100 and 200 hours of specialist training in addition to a certification in basic CPR. The training involves practical training sessions and classroom sessions. In addition to completing the training, you’ll also need to pass these two exams to get your license: 

  • A written cognitive exam; and
  • A psychomotor exam that assesses your technical abilities in the field.

How Long Does an EMT Course Take?

You should expect to spend 3 months in EMS school to finish the 120-hour Emergency Medical Technician training program.

How Much Does an EMT Course Cost?

The average price of enrolling in the EMT program is between $800-$1500. The cost varies depending on the institution you’ll be attending. And for each level, you’ll have to pay a specified fee.

3. Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) Training

 AEMTs provide the same care as EMTs. However, unlike EMTs, they are:

  • qualified to administer fluids 
  • trained to use the ambulance medical equipment, and 
  • licensed to give patients some medications

Becoming an AEMT requires an additional 350 hours of supervised training.

4. Paramedic Training

The most significant level of training is a paramedic license. It builds on the knowledge gained from EMT training and qualifies you to provide critical triage care, do the following, and more:

  • Intubate patients (which protects the patient’s airway for breathing) 
  • Defibrillate those who are experiencing cardiac arrest
  • Administer medications
  • Gain a more profound comprehension of anatomy and physiology

A paramedic student also goes through substantial clinical training in a hospital setting. You’ll also gain field experience by riding in ambulances.

General requirements for acceptance into many paramedic programs include:

  • Current Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) EMT-Basic licensure
  • Current Healthcare Provider level CPR certification
  • Letter from supervisor verifying your experience as an EMT-Basic 
  • Letters of recommendation outlining your strengths and character
  • Background check 
  • Immunization verification
  • Personal health insurance

How Long Does a Paramedic Course Take?

A paramedic course takes between 1200-1800 hours to complete. These EMS professionals require 1-2 years to complete their course.

How Much Does a Paramedic Course Cost?

A paramedic course can cost anywhere from $1000 to $15,000, depending on your chosen EMS school.

Enroll in an EMS School in Chicago 

If you’re in Chicago and looking to become an EMS professional, start your journey at Elite Ambulance’s EMS school. We offer one of Chicago’s best EMR, EMT, and Paramedic training programs.

With our hands-on approach to training, you’ll be prepared for the field upon graduation. You also don’t have to worry about searching for a job after completing your course. You’ll have a paid job waiting for you with Elite Ambulance right out of our EMS school.

Sign up with Elite Ambulance’s EMS school today!

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