Becoming An EMT In Las Vegas – Here Is What You Need To Know
By: Samuel Scheller, MBA, NRP, WEMT
Not a week goes by in which someone asks me, “How do I become an EMT/Paramedic?” or “Where can I attend EMT school?” In this article I am going to address the process to becoming an EMT and what schools you can choose from in the Las Vegas area to become an EMT.
How Do I Become An EMT?
Becoming an EMT is fairly simple process. Register for a class. Show up. Take the final exam. Get your EMT card. However, the process is much more complicated when you actually get into the program. It will require hours of study. Time spent practicing and reviewing skills. And even more time spent doing clinical rotations in an emergency room or riding in an ambulance. The EMT program itself is around 150-190 hours and depending on where you attend class may take as little as two months or as long as six to eight months to complete.
The course itself will be difficult. For starters you have to attend almost every class in order to pass. Too many absences will result in getting kicked out of the program. You will have to maintain a minimum grade of 80% on all coursework, which will mean that you have to study when not in class. The tests will be hard. I promise that most tests you take you will finish and think, “I failed” when in reality you passed. And most of the programs have strict uniform requirements.
EMT vs. AEMT
After becoming an EMT you can progress to the level of an Advanced EMT or AEMT. AEMTs have a little more skills than EMTs including the ability to start intravenous lines, administer intravenous/intramuscular/introsseous/intranasal medications, establish advanced airways, and receive more training in patient assessment. An AEMT course will be about 150-250 hours to complete. This will include classroom and field time.
Becoming A Paramedic
Once you obtain your EMT or AEMT you can then apply for Paramedic School. The best way to sum up Paramedic school is that it is like medical school condensed into less than a year. It will be the roughest year of your life. Relationships will suffer, your sanity will be lost, and in the end you will be proud of what you accomplished. The entire program is around 1,800 hours long and takes about a year to complete. The training will include classroom, lab, and clinical time.
Paramedic is the highest level of prehospital emergency care one can achieve. These individuals have advanced training in patient assessment, read electrocardiograms, carry a bunch of emergency medications, and stick tubes into people.
In the Las Vegas there are five EMT schools and they all differ from each other. I am going to discuss each school in no particular order. Anyone of them I would personally recommend to anyone, however, it is important to know the differences and find a school that fits your learning style, schedule, needs, and goals as an EMS professional.
Guardian Elite Medical Services
Guardian Elite Medical Services is an ambulance service that now offers Emergency Medical Technician certification courses! The EMT course is 177 hours in length and is spread out over 15 weeks. The course is a hybrid class, meaning that students complete the required lectures online and then come in for high energy, high-engaging skills sessions once a week. Students are also required to complete at least one emergency room rotation and can choose to do a ride along. At the end of the program students are able to take the NREMT written and practical exams to become certified EMTs.
The benefits of attending Guardian Elite Medical Services’s EMT course include:
- Possibility of employment as an EMT at the end of the program.
- Ability to do more ride alongs and volunteer at special events during school.
- Less time required in the classroom, with more self study. This is an advantage to busy individuals.
Guardian Elite Medical Services’s first EMT course starts on April 1, 2018!
Fore more information check out https://training.lasvegasambulance.com/emergency-medical-technician/ or call 702-GEMS-911 (702-436-7911)
Dislcaimer: I own Guardian Elite Medical Services, so I believe we have the best EMT programs! However, be sure to do your research and find a program that works best for you.
EMS Training Center of Southern Nevada
The EMS Training Center of Southern Nevada is a privately owned school that provides training in EMT and AEMT on the east side of the Las Vegas valley. Think of this school as the mom-pop store of EMS Training. The owner will interact with you on a regular basis. Because of the mom-pop feeling the school offers, there are often times many options for taking classes. For example, some classes are offered on the weekends, whereas others are offered at night. They offer condensed courses (like a two month EMT program) or extended courses (six month EMT program). The school tries to cater to what people want. In addition, all of the lab classes are built into the lectures, unlike some of the other programs. This gives the instructors more flexibility when it comes to catering to the students’ needs.
For more information check out http://www.emstrainingcenter.com.
College of Southern Nevada
The College of Southern Nevada is the area’s community college and has been offering EMS training the longest in the area. The program offers all levels of EMS training including EMT, AEMT, and Paramedic. By attending school at the College of Southern Nevada you get the benefits of attending a college, which includes:
- The ability to take all the classes for college credit and earn an associate of applied science degree. Some of the courses can be transferred to other universities where a higher-level degree, such as a bachelor degree, can be earned. (Side note: I used the college credit earned at CSN to transfer to the University of New Mexico to earn by Bachelor or Science in Emergency Medial Services and then transferred to American Public University to earn my MBA.)
- The College of Southern Nevada is a popular choice amongst military veterans because they can use their GI Bill for paying for tuition.
- Having access to a college library.
- Instructors who have advanced degrees.
- A college level hierarchy, including department heads, deans, etc.
- Counseling and tutoring services.
- Grant funding, which often means better training equipment. The College of Southern Nevada recently received some large grants and invested in simulator manikins, ambulance trainers, gurneys, and a lot of other high end equipment to enhance the students’ mastery of the skills.
- More clinical time. EMT students usually have to complete two shifts in an emergency room, two shifts on an ambulance, one shift in labor and delivery, one shift in a mental health rotation, and one shift of community service. These requirements do change on a regular basis.
- So to sum up the College of Southern Nevada, it is just like attending college because college requirements have to be met and they have a very high standard for their students. All students have to wear a uniform while attending class and failure to do so can result in expulsion from the program.
One of the things that people do not like about attending the College of Southern Nevada is how the program is structured. For example, you attend a lecture class twice a week and a lab class once a week. Often times the lecture class will get behind in material, however the lab class continues ahead and this creates a disconnect between the lectures and the lab. This means that often times you are introduced to material in lab before it has even been discussed in lecture. Many students find this very difficult to learn the material. The advantage to this is that you get the ability to interact with many other instructors.
The College of Southern Nevada currently offers EMT training at their Charleston and Green Valley campuses and AEMT and Paramedic training at the Charleston campus. For more information check out http://sites.csn.edu/health/ems.html.
Disclaimer: I taught at the College of Southern Nevada for three years. Hence why there is a lot written about this training center because that is where I spent most of my time teaching.
JTM has been serving the Las Vegas area since 2006 with their online EMT and AEMT courses. Yes, you heard me right: an online EMT course. Basically you progress through the material at your own pace and have one year to complete the online portion. After you complete the online portion you then go to JTM’s training center for one week and complete the skills session. Through their online program the training is very conducive to those who want to become an EMT but are unable to sit through a traditional class. In addition to their EMT training classes, JTM offers many other programs that focus around tactical medicine.
For more information http://jtmtraining.com.
Las Vegas Academy for Prehospital Emergency Care (LVAPEC)
The Las Vegas Academy for Prehospital Emergency Care, also referred to as LVAPEC, is the training center of AMR and MedicWest. It is located on the west side of the Las Vegas valley on Sahara. They offer EMT and AEMT courses. In addition they are also one of the two Paramedic training centers in Las Vegas. As a sister company to AMR and MedicWest, this means that students are often provided additional time on the ambulances compared to some of the other training centers. Also, for those looking to fast track their way to Paramedic, LVAPEC can offer this. Meaning that a student can go through EMT school and upon graduating apply for Paramedic school.
For more information http://lvapec.com.
What Do You Recommend?
I do not recommend any EMT school, as each training center is equally capable of training you as an EMT. I have seen all of the training centers make good EMTs and I have seen all of the training centers make bad EMTs. It actually depends on the student and finding a training center that fits your need. Are you a busy professional that is self-motivated and does not/cannot sit through a class? JTM is the way to go. Are you looking for the college experience or to earn college credit? CSN may be the program for you. Are you big on relationships? Do you support and believe in small businesses? Check out the EMS Training Center of Southern Nevada. Are you looking to become a Paramedic very quickly? LVAPEC is calling your name.
Each training center has its good, bad, and ugly; but at the end of the day you will get your EMT. Before making a decision, call each training center and schedule a time to view what each training center has to offer. Study, put the work in, show up, participate, and I will promise you that no matter which training center you go to you will obtain a quality education.
Expect to spend upwards of $2,000 to get your EMT and another $2,000 for your AEMT. This includes the final testing, uniforms, books, tuition, shots, and other fees that are part of the program. Cost will vary by program.
http://www.ems.gov/educationstandards.htm – provides the education standards for EMS.
https://www.nremt.org – the nationwide certifying body for EMTs and Paramedics.