Many potential EMTs worry about how long it takes to get certified. After all, no one wants to be stuck in school longer than they need to. Whether you’re planning your career path or worried about time, we’re here to answer your questions on how long becoming an EMT takes.
A Career in EMS: Certification Levels
IEMT and paramedic students in Illinois receive licenses from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The license allows them to eventually work in the EMS field.
There are two EMS certification levels in Illinois:
- Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT)
- Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (Paramedic)
And the roles of paramedics and EMTs are not the same at all. The time it takes to get an EMT or paramedic certification isn’t the only difference between the two.
If you have an EMT-B certification, you can handle basic procedures, such as administering CPR, oxygen, or glucose.
If you have an EMT-PA certification, you can perform more complex tasks, such as installing pacemakers, inserting IV lines, and administering drugs.
How Long Does It Take to Get EMT Certified?
The typical duration of an EMT-B training program in Illinois is 120 hours. It can take approximately six months to get licensed as an EMT-B in Chicago.
The EMT-B license represents entry-level training within the EMS field. The EMT-B course is usually a single-semester course. Several different training institutions across the state offer an EMT-B course. Some hospitals and community colleges offer the course as well.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Paramedic?
Before you start your paramedic training, you need to achieve an EMT-B certification.
Paramedics’ training gives them a better understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Paramedic students also gain experience in a clinical setting. Many students work in a hospital or in the field working on an ambulance.
A typical paramedic program can take up to two years to complete. One program offered by Southwestern Illinois College offers a 14-month paramedic licensing course.
How Do I Become an EMT in Chicago?
The typical requirements for enrollment in a Chicago EMT-B program include the following:
- You must be at least 18 years or older
- You must possess either a high school diploma or Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED)
How Do I Become a Paramedic?
There are several requirements for a candidate’s acceptance into a licensed EMT-Paramedic program.
Before you apply, make sure you have:
- A current IDPH Emergency Medical Technician-Basic license.
- An up-to-date healthcare-provider-level CPR certification.
- A letter from either an employer or a supervisor that verifies your experience working as an EMT. Generally, 6 months of experience is recommended, but this requirement may vary based on the program provider.
- Letters of recommendation outlining their character and their strengths.
- Immunization verification.
Once you’re in the program, you may also need:
- Blood tier results
- Personal health insurance policy
- Some program providers will also conduct a background check
Depending on the institution that provides the training, there may be other requirements.
Not Sure About the EMT Course Time? Become an EMR
If both the EMT and paramedic course length concerns you, you’re not alone. Luckily, you can always opt for an EMR course instead.
Emergency medical responders provide first aid in emergencies, but they’re not allowed to transport patients. Which means EMRs can still save lives, even if there are a lot of differences between an EMR and EMT certification.
Best of all, EMR training only takes 56 hours. Which is less than half of an EMT course.
You must be 18 years old and you need a high school diploma or GED before you begin your EMR course.
Special Circumstances Before Certification
Please note that the EMT-B license is not required for employment as a Chicago Fire Department EMT. If hired, the candidate receives EMT-Basic training at the Chicago Fire Academy.
If you served in the US Armed Forces, you may be pre-qualified for a license. The IDHP’s reciprocity program offers licenses if you hold an equivalent license from your work with the Armed Forces.
Become an EMT or Paramedic With Elite
No matter how long it takes to get certified as an EMT, it’s definitely worth it. If you’re based around Chicago, and you dream of becoming an EMT or paramedic, Elite Ambulance’s courses are the best to get certified.
Join our extensive, hands-on, and fast-paced course to learn everything you need to know about emergency medical transportation and providing life-saving care. We run courses in multiple locations around Illinois and Indiana, with new courses starting regularly.
Best of all, you can enjoy immediate job placement with Elite once you get certified.
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