Becoming an EMT - Prospective pre-med

I am a rising high school senior. Can I take the EMT course in my senior year of high school or do I need to be over 18? And does the training differ from state to state just in case if I go to an out of state college? Thank you for all the info!

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Paramedic here.

I have certainly heard of EMT programs offered through high schools or local community colleges available to high school students like yourself. With that being said, most EMT positions have an age requirement to operate the ambulance.

In terms of training, you just need to attend a program that will get you the National Registry (NREMT) certification as opposed to a state certification. With the national certification, you will go through a process called “reciprocity” in whichever state you wish to work. It’s usually a relatively easy paperwork process and can be found on said states health department website.

Thank you so much! Another question, is EMT training too time consuming? In other words, would it be more strategic to spend that time doing other health related activities for med school or does the training worth the experience since it will involve many of the things med schools are looking for?

I believe a normal EMT Basic course is one semester. You may be able to find some condensed courses in your area as short as a few weeks though. You could easily complete one over a summer.

In terms of experience, I think the EMT route is a fairly common way for pre-meds to gain clinical experience. However, the training would only be worth it if you were to work as an EMT. The training by itself would offer little to no value for medical school.

With that being said, you also need to ask yourself what kind of clinical experience you’re looking to obtain. EMS (depending on the location) can be very fast paced. Your clinical exposure would also likely be limited to emergency medicine (which is great if that’s what interests you!). Medical schools want to see patient contact, which you will get plenty of working as an EMT in both a hospital (ED Techs etc.) setting or on an ambulance. However, there are plenty of other clinical opportunities (Medical assistant, CNA etc.) that would more than suffice for that exposure, with similar length courses. So really it’s up to your preference.

I hope this helps!

Thank you so much! This helps a lot!