The Basic training program for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) has an overall objective to improve the quality of pre-hospital emergency care rendered to victims of accidents and sudden illness. As such, the course develops skills in symptom recognition and in all emergency care procedures and techniques currently considered to be within the responsibilities of an EMT providing emergency medical care with an ambulance service.

The course consists of 33 lessons involving 100 hours of classroom and field training, plus 10 hours of in-hospital observation and training for a total program of 110 hours. These specified training times are minimal; actual training time (including clinical experiences) is expected to range from the minimum of 110 hours to 150 hours or more depending on individual sponsor requirements and student needs. The curriculum follows the Federal Department of Transportation guidelines and is taught by a state approved EMT Instructor/Coordinator.

This course has been developed for all individuals desiring to perform emergency medical care with an ambulance service. No prior experience or training is required of the course applicant. The applicant, in order to be eligible for the state EMT certification examination must:

  • be able to read, understand and communicate in English;
  • be 18 years of age;
  • be free from addiction to alcohol or any drug;
  • be able to lift and carry 125 pounds; and
  • be free from any physical or mental defect or disease which might impair his/her ability to provide emergency care within the scope of the EMTs training and responsibilities, or which might jeopardize the health of another member of the class.

The student must also successfully complete the Basic EMT course including 100% attendance.

Once an individual passes the certification examination and becomes an EMT, a program of continuing education must be undertaken in order to be eligible for recertification at the end of the initial certification period. EMT recertification periods are two years in length, after the initial certification period.

You must complete 28 hours of approved continuing education along with a 24 hour DOT 1994 curriculum refresher in order to recertify.

If you are planning to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician in Massachusetts, you must be sure that the training you attend is accredited by the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services. Each individual course must be approved, in writing, even if the institution has provided Basic EMT courses in the past.

Candidates are advised to explore the potential for employment (review help wanted ads, contact ambulance services about openings, etc.) before they enroll in an EMT training course. There are currently over 18,000 certified EMTs in Massachusetts.

If you are interested in obtaining some emergency medical care (first aid) training, but do not intend to become involved as a professional EMT, it may be more appropriate for you to investigate the emergency first aid courses being offered by the American Red Cross or the National Safety Council. Call your local chapter for information on first aid courses in your area.

Any questions, problems, comments or areas of concern regarding your EMT course, the training you receive, your EMT Instructor/Coordinator, or any aspect of Emergency Medical Services should be directed to:

Training Coordinator
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Office of Emergency Medical Services
99 Chauncy Street
Boston, MA 02111
Tel. 617-753-7300
Fax 617-753-7320


This information is provided by the Office of Emergency Medical Services within the Department of Public Health.