The need for additional EMTs is at historic levels, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting a 15% surge in additional jobs by 2026. Thanks to this demand, now is the perfect opportunity for anybody who is thinking about becoming an EMT.

Part of the group of specialists jointly called “first responders”, Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics supply emergency first aid and transportation to the sick and seriously injured. Their quick thinking and skills are essential as they’re counted on to help save lives in many of the most extreme-pressure scenarios imaginable. Their priceless contributions to the people they work with make Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics popular career choices for any person who wants a profession that will make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.

What do Washington EMTs do?

As mentioned previously, EMTs and Paramedics attend to the sick or badly injured in crisis situations. Here are some of their specific EMT job duties here.

How to become an Emergency Medical Technician in Washington

Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician in Washington calls for the completion of a professional training program. Washington requires that all Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics in the state be professionally certified. While each state might have varying criteria for EMT certification, the five steps listed below are relatively common.

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

Regardless of the career you choose to pursue, earning a high school diploma should always be regarded as the initial step. With occupations in the medical field, this is especially true. Even in cases when it is possible to find a position without finishing high school, the jobs normally do not offer much in terms of salary or opportunities for advancement.

On top of that, all Emergency Medical Technician courses require applicants to be high school graduates or hold a G.E.D. as part of their admissions prerequisites. Put in the time to complete this first step, and you can eliminate a huge number of barriers over your career.

Step 2: Complete an accredited EMT course in WA

To be able to test for certification, you must initially finish a state-accredited EMT class. Before sitting for the exam, you have to present verification of having graduated from a class in the last two years, and should also be included on the National Registry (see below).

Community colleges, trade schools, hospitals and universities all provide Emergency Medical Technician training classes. It’s many times also possible to find training at schools for firefighters and police officers.

To find a list of accredited courses close to you, click here.

Completing an EMT program online

It’s possible to pursue your EMT certification online, but you will nonetheless need to receive most of your hands-on instruction at a traditional location. If you’re still considering taking some of your EMT training online, you will want to contact your chosen program and ask for more info on their class.

How long does Washington EMT training take?

According to the specific training course, EMT programs can often be finished in between 2 and six months.

The list shown below reflects the typical number of training hours for different types of EMT courses.

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

Step 3: Become CPR-BLS certified

Students must have a CPR-BLS credential for “Healthcare Providers” for EMT candidacy. All Basic Life Support and CPR certification programs have to satisfy standards established by the American Heart Association. Training is available through an assortment of providers, including the American Red Cross.

Step 4: Pass the National Registry EMT Exam

The Emergency Medical Technicians certification examination is administered in two sections: the National Registry Cognitive (knowledge) and Psychomotor (skills) exams. The Cognitive Exam is given in an online, multiple-choice style, and the Psychomotor Exam is offered at a physical venue under the eye of an evaluator. Both segments of the National Registry EMT Exam are discussed in more detail directly below.

Cognitive Exam

Offered as a CAT (computer adaptive test), multiple-choice test, the Cognitive Exam is an online examination that assesses your basic knowledge. There are 70 to 120 different items on the exam, and you have two hours to finish it. The exam usually includes the topics below.

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 skills demonstration component of the exam is also known as the Psychomotor Exam. Each kind of skill you should have acquired is included on the examination. The topics that will be evaluated are detailed 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: Become registered on the National EMT Registry

The last step in becoming an EMT is getting your name posted to the National Emergency Medical Technician Registry inside of 30 days of completing your training. A fee of $80 needs to be paid so that you can have your name included on the registry. Having your name included on this list is the final step needed to become eligible for employment as an EMT.

EMT salary in Washington

According to the recent Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for EMTs in the U.S. was $33,380 in 2017. The table below shows all the salary and hourly wage details for EMTs in Washington.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.52$16.05$27.40
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$15.72$40.55$49.30
Olympia, WA MSAHourly$12.09$39.64$49.84
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA MSAHourly$20.53$38.89$47.91
Tacoma, WA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$15.81$36.89$53.57
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA MSAHourly$11.59$32.28$48.01
Southwestern Washington BOSHourly$16.76$31.92$40.22
Lewiston, ID-WA MSAHourly$11.96$28.32$46.88
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSAHourly$13.73$23.65$41.42
Spokane, WA MSAHourly$11.29$19.42$23.55
Central Washington BOSHourly$13.11$18.60$49.41
Eastern Washington BOSHourly$11.46$16.94$45.23
Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, WA MSAHourly$11.40$15.63$24.19
Northwestern Washington BOSHourly$11.26$12.29$45.98

What is the job outlook for EMTs and Paramedics in Washington?

With the population growing and the Baby Boomer Generation hitting retirement age in such large numbers, the medical field industry as a whole is experiencing historic growth in Washington. This phenomenon applies to EMTs and Paramedics as well, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting a 24% surge in the number of new opportunities for these positions throughout the state through 2026.