To participate the EMT program, you must meet these prerequisites:
- Have medical insurance for yourself for the duration of the program.
- Obtain medical clearance from a physician, as described below.
- Have a current CPR certification for healthcare providers: Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers from either the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. We offer the AHA certification if you need this. Please visit our BLS page for details.
Age Requirement: You must be at least 18 years old to be certified as an EMT in California. If you are not yet 18 years old, you may enroll in the course six months prior to your 18th birthday with the understanding that your certificate of course completion will be withheld until you reach 18. If you are under the age of 17½ you may still take this course, however, you will not be eligible for certification as an EMT in California.
The EMT program can be challenging, especially if you have limited experience with science or human anatomy and physiology. We recommend all EMT students take our EMT Preparation course, which will familiarize you with basic medical terminology and body systems.
You must provide copies of the following on the first day of the course. When enrolling, please download our Medical Requirements Document (pdf) for forms you can print for your physician’s certification.
- Physical exam: A recent (within the last 6 months) physical examination, signed by a physician, stating you have no physical limitations for participating in the classroom and clinical components of the course.
- Clearance for Mask Fit Testing: Your physician must also certify that you are able to participate in mask fit (respirator) testing. Mask fit testing is performed in the course. The mask and testing materials are included in your course fee.
- Important Note: The mask fit testing done in class requires men to shave their facial hair, e.g., beard or stubble, if it interferes with the seal of the mask. If you choose NOT to shave, you must provide your own optional air-purifying respirator (PAPR) in order to meet this mandatory course requirement. The cost for a PAPR unit is not included in the course fee. If you choose not to shave and to get a PAPR unit instead, it will cost you $650 or more.
Proof of the following immunizations:
- Hepatitis B vaccine/immunity: A Hepatitis-B vaccine [start of 3 shot series or signed refusal form] Proof of Hepatitis-B vaccine, 3 shot series, positive Hep-B titer, OR signed refusal form.
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR): Proof of MMR vaccine or a positive MMR titer.
- Tuberculosis: A negative TB skin test within three months of the beginning of the course. If you had a positive reaction to a previous skin test, please submit documentation of a negative chest x-ray.
- Varicella: A varicella vaccination (or proof of immunization or a positive varicella titer).
- Copy of health insurance card: You must maintain private health insurance or worker's compensation insurance for the clinical/ride-along portion of the program, and furnish proof of insurance. You are responsible for all payment for medical care related to exposure/injuries/illnesses.
While it is not required for completing the EMT course or passing the NREMT-B exam, the local certifying agency for EMTs and most employers hiring EMTs will require a background investigation to determine if an applicant has a criminal history. In addition to background checks, employers generally seek applicants that successfully complete a DOT physical to be an ambulance driver, have a clean drug test before being hired, and have a good driving record.