EMT Certification, RI

February 4, 2022

One of the most rewarding medical career options in Rhode Island (RI) is becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). EMTs respond to emergency calls and provide the first line of life-saving medical or emergency care for sick and injured people.

With an EMT certification in RI, not only do you help save lives, but you also earn good pay. 

EMTs in Rhode Island have a mean annual salary of $43,790, while the top 10 percent of professionals in the field earn about $63,000 per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics will grow at a faster-than-average rate of 6 percent, adding about 17,000 new jobs in the next coming ten years.

Getting your emergency medical technician certification in the state of Rhode Island is a prerequisite if you want to pursue a career in emergency medical services in RI. Now, let’s take a closer look at the Rhode Island EMT certification program.

How to Get an EMT Certification in Rhode Island

emt certification in ri

The first step to getting your EMT certification from the Rhode Island Department of Health is completing a state-approved EMT training program. You can apply for these programs at any of the accredited training colleges or institutes.

After completing your education, you must apply for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. The test comprises a difficulty-adjusted computerized exam, and you have two hours to answer about 70-120 questions.

Topics in the NREMT examination include:

  • Ventilation
  • Airway Management
  • EMS operations
  • General Trauma
  • Cardiology
  • Health Emergencies
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

After completing the written exam, you must pass a practical examination that will test your ability to handle emergencies such as trauma, fractures, cardiac arrest, strokes, diabetic emergencies, etc.

Once you clear the written and practical exams, you will receive your NREMT card. If you fail the test, you can apply for a re-test after 15 days. You get six attempts to pass the examination for your NREMT certification.

An EMT certification in Rhode Island is valid for two years. After the date of expiration, your certificate becomes automatically inactive. If you do not recertify within 180 days, you’ll have to complete the certification cycle again.


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What are the Levels of EMT?

It is a common misconception that every person who works inside an ambulance is a paramedic. However, there are four emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, and each is responsible for a different scope of services.

The amount of training that you need to undergo also differs according to the services you choose. These levels of EMT’s are:

  • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT)
  • Paramedic

Here’s a brief description of the unique responsibilities assigned to each position:

unique responsibilities assigned to each position

Prerequisites for an EMT Certificate in Rhode Island

emergency medical technicians in action

Some of the prerequisites that candidates must fulfill are:

  • An EMT candidate must be 18 years of age or above.
  • They should have finished a state-approved EMT training program.
  • They must hold a valid CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certificate.
  • The candidate must clear the NREMT examination.
  • The candidate should be mentally & physically fit.
  • The candidate must clear a criminal background check.
  • Furbish any other information that the Rhode Island Department of Health may require.
  • Pay an application fee as agreed by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
  • If you’re applying for AEMT or EMT-Paramedic certification, you must possess a current RI EMT license.

What Is the Process of EMT Certification?

Step 1: Apply for an EMT Training Program

Every candidate must complete their training from an accredited community college or institute. State-approved EMT programs generally require about 3-11 weeks or 120 hours of instruction in emergency medical interventions.

Step 2: Register for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) Certification

A candidate must mandatorily pass the NREMT practical and written exams and obtain their national-level certification to apply for their EMT licensure. Once you have received a Rhode Island license, you do not have to submit your NREMT certification for EMT recertification.

Step 3: Clear the Background Check

Every candidate must undergo a criminal background check. You can contact your course coordinator for this process.

Step 4:  Submit Your Licensure Application

After completing a clean background record, you can apply for the Rhode Island EMT licensure. Along with your completed application form, you must also attach a copy of the following documents:

  • NREMT Card
  • CPR Certification
  • High school diploma or GED Certificate
  • Application fee

Once all the required documents are in order, you can send the application to the following address:

Rhode Island Department of Health, Division of Health Services Regulation, Emergency Medical Services, Address: 3 Capitol Hill, Room 103, Providence, Rhode Island- 02908-5097

The Application Process

  • Every aspirant can begin by creating an account on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) website by clicking on the ‘Create New Account’ option.
  • After creating your account, you must fill the application form through the ‘Create Initial Entry Application’ option.
  • Next, you must pay the prescribed application fee through the payment portal.
  • You can log in to the website to check the progress of your application. Click on the ‘Check Initial Entry Application Status’ to search for the ‘Authorization to Test (ATT)’ letter. 
  • Once the program director verifies your credentials, education details, and payment, you can see a ‘Submitted’ option besides ‘Course Completion Verification’ and ‘Application Payment’ tabs.  If any of these steps are incomplete or incorrect, a ‘Not Submitted’ remark will appear on these tabs.
  • Post verification, the link “Print ATT Letter” will appear in your application status.
  • You must take a printout of the ATT letter and select a suitable date for your NREMT examination.
  • The ATT letter will direct you to a different webpage where you schedule your test.

What Should Out-of-State EMTs Know Before Applying for EMT Licensure in RI?

If you have obtained your EMT license in any other state, you can still apply for a license in the state of  Rhode Island.

While submitting your Application for License as an Emergency Medical Services Practitioner, you have to attach the following additional documents:

  • Copy of EMS Practitioner license from a state other than Rhode Island, if applicable.
  • Copy of current registration with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians if applying for EMR, EMT, AEMT, EMT-Cardiac, or Paramedic.
  • Interstate Verification Form completed by each state (other than the state of Rhode Island) in which you have licensure.

Career Info and Job Outlook

job of an EMT

The compensation, perks, and benefits of an EMT depend upon their qualification, work experience, skills, job location, and the level at which they’re working. For example, while the median annual pay in the United States for EMTs was $36,650, EMTs in Rhode Island earned a mean salary of $43,790.

The top five states offering the highest mean annual wages in the United States are:

top five states offering the highest mean annual wages in US

These are the top five states with the maximum number of jobs in the United States are:

top five states with the maximum number of jobs US

According to BLS, the employment of EMTs and paramedics will continue to grow with the increase in middle-aged and old-age population and increase in the number of emergency medical facilities.

List of Rhode Island Department of Health-Licensed EMT Training Programs

We’ve compiled the list of all the licensed institutes in Rhode Island that offer EMT training programs.

list of all the licensed institutes in Rhode Island


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How do I get my EMT license in RI?

To get your EMT license in Rhode Island, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Have a high school graduate or equivalent.
  • Have current NREMT certification.
  • Provide a background check.
  • Pay an application fee.
  • Provide any other information the Rhode Island Department of Health may additionally need.

How can I become an EMT in RI?

You can become an EMT in RI by completing an emergency medical training program, passing the national registry of emergency medical technicians (NREMT) exams, and applying for state licensure. Your application for licensure must include your high school diploma/GED, NREMT card, CPR training certificate, and the required application fee. Once the Rhode Island Department of Health approves your application, you will receive your licensure.

How much do basic EMTs make in RI?

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics in Rhode Island earn mean annual wages of $43,790 or about $21.05 per hour

Which is better- EMT or Paramedic?

EMT is the minimum licensure level for emergency medical services in Rhode Island, while paramedics operate in advanced settings. EMT training programs are shorter in duration (about 11 weeks or 120 instruction hours) than paramedic education (about two years or 1200-1800 hours). However, paramedics have better earning opportunities than EMTs.

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