An EMT’s Guide to Transfers
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are in high demand. In 2018, there were approximately 262,100 EMTs in the United States, and emergency responder employment is projected to grow by 7% through the year 2028.
With so many opportunities, it’s not uncommon for EMTs to transfer between departments—for example, making a transition from a fire department to an ambulance—or even between states. But these transfers require specific considerations, as requirements and eligibility for EMT employment can vary from state to state.
Here is a brief guide for what you’ll need to know to successfully transfer to a new department as an EMT.
Required EMT Certifications
While specific requirements can vary based on your location, typically the following is required to work as an EMT:
- High school diploma or GED equivalent
- CPR certification
- Completion of a state-approved and accredited emergency medical responder/emergency medical technology education program
- Passing score on the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) cognitive exam
- Passing score on your state’s psychomotor exam
The NREMT cognitive exam is typically between 60 and 110 questions and tests knowledge of equipment and situations that EMTs are likely to use in the field, such as cardiology and resuscitation, trauma, obstetrics, airways, ventilation, and basic EMS operations.
The state psychomotor exam gives you a chance to show your skills in action. This exam will require you to demonstrate proper procedures for patient care like responding to cardiac incidents, immobilization of broken or dislocated bones and joints, ventilation, and controlling bleeding. View national and state certification requirements.
Considerations When Transferring to a New State
When you decide to seek employment in a different part of the country, there are special considerations to research before you move. Since each state has its own requirements for practicing EMTs, you’ll need to ensure that your EMT certification transfers. In some states, you may be required to complete additional education before you are allowed on the job.
The first step is to ensure that your current state-issued certification is up to date. Your new state will require proof of this certification. If your certifications have expired, you’ll need to recertify in your current state before applying for a transfer. If you don’t, you’ll most likely be required to complete your new state’s entire certification process, which means re-taking your exams.
Next, visit the website for the department of health and human services in your new state. Here, you’ll find the necessary information and paperwork for completing the transfer process. Many states offer reciprocity applications that easily transfer your national certification with a small fee.
Some states will still require candidates to take a refresher course, which emphasizes the state’s particular practices and guidelines, and complete a state exam before EMTs can receive a new license.
If you need continuing education hours or a comprehensive EMS refresher that fulfills NREMT requirements, check out CareerCert’s convenient and industry-leading online training.
Other Resources Available to Transferring EMTs
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians offers an easy website database to check transfer requirements in your new state. You can also talk to your local EMS offices for guidance.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, EMTs and Paramedics. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 10 Apr 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/emts-and-paramedics.htm
- McWhirter K. Steps to becoming an EMT. Fire Science Online. Accessed on 7 May 2020. https://www.firescience.org/how-to-become-an-emt/
- Hardy C. How to transfer EMT certification. Career Trend. 3 Sept 2019. https://careertrend.com/how-6499912-transfer-emt-certification.html
- State EMS agency map. National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Accessed on 7 May 2020. https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/states/state-ems-agencies