EMS Tips

EMT Recertification Tips

An Everyday EMS Tips reader asked, “I need to get a recertification for my EMT done on the cheap. It’s due in March.”

Buy Cheap, Get Cheap

Unfortunately many of us have low expectations for EMT recertification training and thus look for the fastest and easiest path to recertification. We also get stuck in needing to schedule class time around busy work and family schedules and may or may not have employer support to pay for the course. If cheap is what you are after; cheap is what you will find. Personally I seek out the very best training I can afford.

Understand the Recertification Requirements

Recertification requirements vary significantly around the United States. In Wisconsin I re-certify every two years and NREMT is only for initial licensing. Maintaining NREMT is optional in Wisconsin. Visit your state’s EMS website to review recertification requirements. Visit the NREMT website for NREMT requirements.

Change the Premise

Instead of searching for “cheap” recertification training, look for the absolute best EMT recertification training that will fit both your schedule and pocket-book. To find the very best EMT recertification training:

1. Understand your own needs. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and through optional hours make sure to take courses that fill in any knowledge or skill deficits you might have.

2. Ask for recommendations. Ask your mentors, in and out of your service, for instructor recommendations. Ask about instructors that challenge students to excel, instructors that don’t accept mediocrity, and instructors that push students to expand their knowledge instead of just refreshing knowledge.

3. Change the viewpoint. Instead of saying “I need to get” try this on “I want to get re-certified.” Shift the locus of control from an agency telling you to re-certify to owning the desire to re-certify. Learning is an amazing opportunity.

Seek out Hybrid Training

Hybrid education – a combination online didactic training and classroom skills and simulation assessments – provides the best learning outcomes. Look for a program that offers a series of self-paced online lessons or a menu of lessons for you to choose from. Then follow the online lessons with an intense classroom experience that focuses on skill competency assessment (and remediation if needed) and scenario based simulations.

Cost of Training

Recertification training, if not provided by your employer, can get expensive quickly. If resources are limited …

1. Save throughout your license cycle for your next recertification training. I cash flow everything. If I have a major expense coming – vacation, new bike, training course, or a new car – I set a savings goal and an amount to know each month. My next refresher is due March 31, 2012. If that refresher is going to cost me $600 I have about 12 months to save $60/month.

2. Share the costs. Maybe you can share books, lab materials, and travel costs with other students.

3. Ask for a payment plan. Ask the instructor for a payment plan. Maybe you could pay 50% upfront and the other 50% at the end of the class.

4. Offer the instructor a barter. Could you clean manikins, inventory and re-stock equipment, or assist in other classes for a reduced fee?

5. Apply for scholarships. Lots of EMS conferences and schools have scholarship programs. If you don’t see something obviously posted about a scholarship then ask.

6. Costs might be tax deductible. If you itemize your income taxes the costs of education and professional development might be tax deductible. Ask a tax professional for specific advice about tax deduction.

7. Ask your employer. If your employer doesn’t support recertification training in part or full ask them to support recertification training. If your employer offers no training for employees to maintain certifications and licenses I recommend looking for a new job (admittedly a longer term solution).

What are your EMT Recertification Tips?

Am I on target? Where am I being unrealistic?

We talked about recertification training that honors your time, knowledge, and dollars on episode 86 of the EMSEduCast.

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By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.