While becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT) isn’t necessary an easy task, the process can be simplified if you know what you’re doing. You never want to go into an education blind. An education requires time and money so spending your money in the right places is extremely important when choosing a career path. I decided to become an EMT almost 10 years ago and fortunately I had a lot of people that had gone through the process to coach me along the way. My dad is an Emergency Room doctor so he worked with several firefighter EMTs that were able to give me good advice when I was thinking about following in their footsteps. 1) Find Someone Who Has Already Become an EMT This is one of the smartest things you can do when deciding on an education and probably my single best piece of advice. I can give you all the tips in the world but there are certain nuggets of knowledge about schools and other jobs in your area that are known to the EMTs in your area. Most EMTs I have known are extremely friendly and supportive of anyone that wants to follow in their footsteps. Many of them made mistakes along the way when going through their scholastic and practical training. Because of this they can help you avoid certain pitfalls or mistakes that they or their friends made in the past. 2) Shadow an EMT in Your Area Before you go through the long and tedious effort to become educated and licensed as an EMT you should first know if it is even something that you would enjoy doing. Managing patient’s in a live situation verses watching a television series based on emergency scenarios in a hospital are very different. Also, when applying for EMT schools they will notice if you have any past experience shadowing. Many schools even require you to shadow an EMT a few times before they will accept you. 3) Build a List of Schools and Requirements You need to educate yourself regarding the different EMT schools in your area. Also, once you have these schools listed it is even more important that you list their requirements for entry into their programs. Sometimes different schools have different requirements. If three out of four schools have similar requirements regarding classes than you know where you can most efficiently use your time when completing pre-requisites. You may want to disregard a school that has several required courses that are not required by other schools. 4) Contact the Schools Contacting the schools before you begin the pre-requisites is also extremely important. You will want to know what the average GPA was for the previously accepted class. You will also want to find out what they view as most important in a candidate. Just by making a couple phone calls you can greatly improve your understanding of what you need to do to become an EMT. 5) Earn your ACLS, PALS, and BLS certification before entering into any program. ACLS online renewal is one of the easiest ways to complete this. Generally you can take your ACLS online renewal course in under an hour. PALS certification and BLS certification can also usually be earned in under an hour online. If you do these courses in a live classroom they will take several days to complete. While the online courses don’t have a hands on skills test I honestly don’t believe that the skills of resuscitation are learned in a 5 minute demo. It takes real life experience over and over again while being surrounded with other professionals to become proficient in CPR.