The nationwide demand for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) is expected to rise by 15% through the next 10 years according to the most up-to-date numbers provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you believe you may be interested in a career as an EMT, this means that right now is the perfect time.

Anytime an emergency occurs and people’s lives are in jeopardy, you can be certain that Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics will be among the very first personnel summoned to the location. These professionals are required to think and perform swiftly under extreme pressure, making them truly irreplaceable members of the medical industry. This collection of features makes the EMT and Paramedic occupations especially appealing to individuals who wish to answer the call of duty to their community.

What do EMTs do in Virginia?

Whereas the broad function of Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics is to treat the sick and seriously injured, there is much more to their roles. Here are several of their specific job duties.

How to become an Emergency Medical Technician in Virginia

If you would like to become an EMT or Paramedic in Virginia, you’re going to be required to graduate from a formal training program. It’s a legal criteria that any Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic employed in the state have a professional certificate. Although each state could have different requirements for EMT certification, the five steps listed below are relatively standard.

Step 1: Graduate from high school or get your G.E.D.

Receiving your high school diploma is one of the critical foundations to becoming employed in any specialized job. This is true when it comes to working in medical care. Although it is sometimes possible to find some starting jobs without a diploma or G.E.D., you’ll at some point discover that chances for growth are limited.

If looking for an EMT certification course, you may find that all educators require trainees to have a diploma or G.E.D. before enrollment. Therefore, if you are interested in working in medical care, it’s a wise decision to finish this worthwhile first step.

Step 2: Register for, and finish, an accredited EMT school in Virginia

Before testing for certification as an EMT, you’re going to be expected to graduate from an accredited training course. You must have graduated from an accredited class in the preceding two years and be placed on the National Registry (see below) in advance of sitting for the certification exam.

EMT training is most often offered at community colleges, trade schools, hospitals, and universities. Many courses are also offered at fireman and police training academies.

You can find a current list of approved schools in your area by clicking here.

Taking an EMT online course

General courses can be finished online, but the majority of your training takes place in a hands-on environment. Talk with your prospective institution about any distance learning schedules.

How long does EMT training in VA take?

Dependent on the specific training program, EMT training may usually be completed in between 2 and 6 months.

The list below details the traditional amount of training hours for various types of EMT programs.

  • Emergency Medical Responder – 40 hours
  • EMT – 110 hours
  • Advanced EMT – 200 to 400 hours
  • Paramedic – 1,000+ hours

Step 3: Become CPR-BLS certified

Besides finishing your EMT training course, you must also be CPR-BLS certified ahead of taking your certification examination. The American Heart Association sets the guidelines for all Basic Life Support (BLS) and CPR classes. On the list of biggest, and most-prominent providers of certification training is the American Red Cross.

Step 4: Challenge the National Registry’s EMT Cognitive and Psychomotor assessments

The Emergency Medical Technicians certification exam consists of a general knowledge segment (the Cognitive Exam) and a skill demonstration portion (the Psychomotor Exam). While the Psychomotor Exam calls for students to demonstrate their skills in-person, the multiple-choice Cognitive Exam is administered in an online format. Below you’ll find a more detailed review of the two portions of the exam.

Cognitive Exam

Administered as a CAT (computer adaptive test), multiple-choice test, the Cognitive Exam is a web-based assessment that tests your basic knowledge. The two-hour, timed assessment is made up of between 70 and 120 multiple-choice questions. Below you will find a detailed summary of the information covered on the exam.

Airway, Respiration & Ventilation (18-22% of exam – 85% Adult/15% Pediatric)
Cardiology & Resuscitation (20-24% of exam – 85% Adult/15% Pediatric)
Trauma (14-18% of exam – 85% Adult/15% Pediatric)
Medical (27-31% of exam – 85% Adult/15% Pediatric)
EMS Operations (10-14% of exam – NA Adult/N/A Pediatric)

Psychomotor Exam

The Psychomotor Exam calls for you to show the skills you will have learned. You will be tested in all areas for the role. Each area of skills covered on the assessment is noted below.

  • Patient Assessment and Management – Trauma
  • Patient Assessment and Management – Medical
  • BVM Ventilation of an Apneic Adult Patient
  • Oxygen Administration by Non-Rebreather Mask
  • Spinal Immobilization (Seated Patient)
  • Spinal Immobilization (Supine Patient)
  • Bleeding Control and Shock Management
  • Cardiac Arrest Management / AED
  • Joint Immobilization
  • Long Bone Immobilization

Step 5: Get registered on the National EMT Registry

Inside of 30 days of completing your Emergency Medical Technician training, you will have to have your name placed on the National Emergency Medical Technician Registry. In order to get listed, you will be asked to pay an $80 fee. Upon getting included on the registry, you’re officially recognized as an Emergency Medical Technician.

EMT pay in Virginia

Nationally, Emergency Medical Technicians were paid an average salary of $33,380 in 2017 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary, in addition to additional local statistics for Virginia, is highlighted in the following table.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.52$16.05$27.40
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan DivisionHourly$13.15$23.71$37.80
Charlottesville, VA MSAHourly$12.24$17.92$24.18
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA Metro AreaHourly$13.21$16.89$21.18
Roanoke, VA MSAHourly$12.09$16.51$19.92
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSAHourly$12.36$16.48$24.63
Richmond, VA MSAHourly$10.14$16.27$22.86
Northeastern Peninsulas BOSHourly$11.71$15.93$19.31
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA MSAHourly$11.02$15.84$22.79
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA MSAHourly$8.24$14.89$22.24
Northwestern Virginia BOSHourly$12.35$14.86$26.56
Lynchburg, VA MSAHourly$8.93$14.76$23.32
Southside Virginia BOSHourly$10.12$14.36$21.57
Harrisonburg, VA MSAHourly$10.12$12.75$17.42
Southwestern Virginia BOSHourly$8.36$11.84$21.40

What is the job outlook for Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics in Virginia?

As is the case across the United States, the medical field in Virginia is going through record growth thanks to the region’s older populace and increasing quantity of insured patients. The growth rate for EMTs and Paramedics in Virginia is expected to be strong as well, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 28% rise in new positions throughout the state through 2026.