Emergency Medical Technician – Basic (EMT-1/EMT-B/EMTS)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) provide emergency medical care to the sick or injured at the scene and en route to the hospital. They assess many varying emergency situations and determine what care is needed and provide that care.
  • They maintain contact with the hospital emergency room physicians who prescribe drugs and/or medical procedures that EMTs administer to patients while en route to the nearest ER.
  • When arriving they transport patients to the emergency department, and report their observations and actions to hospital staff. Afterward, they restock supplies, check equipment, and decontaminate the vehicle if disease was present.
  • Some must be able to safely drive ambulances through traffic to get people to hospitals as quickly as possible.
  • Beyond general duties, there are four levels of qualifications for further duties: First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate/Intermediate Technician, and EMT-Paramedic. Some states, however, do their own Certification and use different rating scales to determine proficiency.
  • Medical First Responder – Entry level, very basic emergency medical care. Many firefighters, police officer, and business/industry utilize this level therefore we will not deal here with this basic training.
  • EMT-Basic – Trained to care for patients on accident scenes and on transport by ambulance to the hospital. They have skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage breathing, heart, and trauma emergencies. Potential occupations include EMT-Basic, Ambulance Attendant and Firefighter.
  • EMT-Intermediate Technician – Will be able to initiate intravenous (IV) therapy, administer select medications approved by DHFS and local medical directors via intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, sublingual and inhalation routes. (See Intermediate Technician/EMT-Intermediate)
  • EMT-Intermediate – Has more advanced training that allows dealing with cardiac problems using advanced invasive skills including advanced airways, cardiac rhythm interpretation, and medication intervention. (See Intermediate Technician/EMT-Intermediate)
  • EMT-Paramedic – They provide the most extensive pre-hospital care and techniques for advanced level private and municipal ambulance services.
  • All levels work in hospitals, police, fire and public services departments, or are employed by rescue squads or private ambulance services. (See Paramedic)

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • EMTs like helping people during emergencies. They take pride in efficiently handling serious medical situations.
  • They must be able to work as a member of a team. Must be able to work without direct supervision.
  • Their work can be stressful. Not for people who lose control during a crisis. Courage, dedication and assertiveness are assets.
  • Many work rotating shifts, weekends, and holidays.
  • EMTs work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather, under adverse conditions.
  • 80% of EMTs in Wisconsin are paid on a per call basis. Some EMTs are volunteers.

Getting Started

  • High School Courses
    • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
    • Helpful high school courses would include anatomy and physiology, mathematics, English, chemistry, biology, Driver’s Education, and Medical Terminology.
    • Job shadowing is recommended.
  • Education and Training
    • EMT-Basic Program is a prerequisite to take any of the next level courses. The career progression includes: EMT-Basic; Intermediate Technician; Intermediate; and Paramedic.
    • At Northcentral Technical College (NTC) EMT-Basic is a 4-credit Vocational Diploma program—about 144 hours of classroom plus 9 hours of a practical skills lab at the conclusion of the program. Coursework focuses on how to assess many varying emergency situations to determine what patient care is needed and to provide the necessary care. Training modules include: Preparatory, Airway, Patient Assessment, Medical, Trauma, Infants and Children, Operations, Evaluation, Clinical, Advanced Airways, and Obstetrics. Prerequisites: Proof of CPR Professional Rescuer OR CPR Healthcare Provider.
    • As discussed earlier, after graduating from an accredited program, in order to practice as an EMT in Wisconsin you MUST be Certified AND Licensed.

    Educational Institutions

    Blackhawk Technical College
    Chippewa Valley Technical College
    Fox Valley Technical College
    Gateway Technical College
    Lakeshore Technical College
    Madison Area Technical College
    Mid-State Technical College
    Milwaukee Area Technical College
    Moraine Park Technical College – Beaver Dam
    Moraine Park Technical College – Fond du Lac
    Moraine Park Technical College – West Bend
    Nicolet Area Technical College
    Northcentral Technical College
    Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
    Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
    Waukesha County Technical College 
    Western Technical College
    Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Ashland
    Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – New Richmond
    Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Rice Lake
    Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Superior


  • Method of Entry
    • A high school diploma/GED and being 18 years of age is required for acceptance into the EMT-Basic Program.
    • Northcentral Technical College (NTC) requires a reading level of at least 9th grade. NTC also requires passing an admission test OR high school/college transcripts of a 2.0 GPA.
    • Another prerequisite requires passage of a criminal background test and immunizations before Clinicals can be taken.
    • After graduating from an accredited program, in order to practice as an EMT in Wisconsin you MUST be Certified AND Licensed.
    • CERTIFICATION means you have met the standards of the certifying body credentialing. Certification is recognized by employers, state licensing agencies and the public as being tied to competency.
    • STATE LICENSURE gives you the right to work in a particular capacity. National certified EMTs who are NOT State licensed CANNOT practice. After you obtain National Certification, you must obtain a license to work.
    • EMT Certification is through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Proof of accredited training, passing both a Cognitive Exam and Psychomotor Exam are among the requirements for Certification.
    • Obtaining Registration/Certification through the National Registry of EMTs is NOT to be confused with a Wisconsin license AND DOES NOT AUTHORIZE an individual to practice in the State of Wisconsin.
    • EMT (EMT-Basic, Intermediate Technician, Intermediate, and Paramedic) Licensure is through the State of Wisconsin. Proof of Certification and successful completion of Exam are among requirements for licensure.
    • Wisconsin E-licensing was implemented in August 2009. This system allows the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Section to issue one (1) EMS certificate/license to a First Responder or EMT at his/her highest eligible level. EMS personnel will no longer need to hold multiple licenses when affiliated with more than one EMS service.
    • Once licensed by the State of Wisconsin, individual EMS certificate/license holders will apply for local credentialing with any EMS providers with which they are associated.
  • Professional Organizations

    Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
    1361 Park St.
    Clearwater, FL, 33756

    Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions
    8301 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 111 – 312
    Rowlett, TX, 75088

    Fire Science

    National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
    PO Box 1400
    Clinton, MS, 39060-1400
    601/924-7744 or 800/34-NAEMT

    National Association of EMS Physicians
    PO Box 19570
    Lenexa, KS, 66285
    913/895-4611 or 800/228-3677

    National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
    6610 Busch Blvd.
    PO Box 29233
    Columbus, OH, 43229

    Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin
    922 South Park St.
    Madison, WI, 53715

    Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services
    1 West Wilson Street
    Madison, WI, 53703
    608-266-1865 or 608-261-6870

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 5,450
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 241,200
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 299,600
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 24%
Expected Annual Openings: 9,800
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $27,076

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • EMTs work 40 to 60 hours a week. They work rotating shifts and may work nights, evenings and holidays.

Basic EMTs advance by additional training to become Intermediate EMTs or Paramedics/ ER Technicians.