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EMS Training and Certification

Illustration, image of a caduceus, medical symbol

The EMS Program of the Department of Health is charged with oversight and regulation of EMS education in the District of Columbia. This includes the certification of EMS Educational Institutions, as well as the approval of EMS course curricula and the courses themselves. We are also charged with oversight of the EMS provider certification process.

The Department of Health does not provide EMT training. We certify the educational institutions that provide EMT training in the district. If you are interested in obtaining training as an EMS provider, send us an email at [email protected] for more information. 

In the District of Columbia we are following the national model as set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).

An EMS Education is the provider’s foundation and entry into a career in EMS. The role that an EMS education plays in the quality of care that is delivered cannot be understated. In the US Department of Transportation’s document EMS Agenda for the Future education takes a central role in the overall EMS system. They describe the vision of EMS Education as:

  • Educational outcomes for EMS providers are congruent with the expectations of the health and public safety services that provide them. EMS education emphasizes the integration of EMS within the overall health care system. In addition to acute emergency care, all EMS educational programs teach illness and injury prevention, risk modification, the treatment of chronic conditions, as well as community and public health.
  • EMS education is of high quality and represents the intersection of the EMS professional and the formal educational system. The content of the education is based on National EMS Education Standards. There is significant flexibility to adapt to local needs and develop creative instructional programs. Programs are encouraged to excel beyond minimum educational quality standards. EMS education is based on sound educational principles and is broadly recognized as an achievement worthy of formal academic credit.
  • Basic level EMS education is available in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings. Advanced level EMS education is sponsored by institutions of higher education, and most are available for college credit. Multiple entry options exist for advanced level education, including bridging from other occupations and from basic EMS levels for individuals with no previous medical or EMS experience. All levels of EMS education are available through a variety of distance learning and creative, alternative delivery formats.
  • Educational quality is ensured through a system of accreditation. This system evaluates programs relative to standards and guidelines developed by the national communities of interest. Entry level competence is ensured by a combination of curricula standards, national accreditation, and national standard testing.”

The EMS Program continues to work to make this vision a reality in the District of Columbia.

Service Contact: 
Emergency Medical Services Division of the Department of Health - HEPRA
Contact Phone: 
(202) 671-4222
Contact Fax: 
(202) 671-0707
Contact TTY: