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An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is an educated, skilled, and licensed health care worker trained in non-invasive life support techniques.

EMTs are usually dispatched by 911 operators to medical emergencies such as car crashes, childbirth, violent traumas, heart attacks and accidents. After arriving on scene, EMTs work with other first responders, such as fire fighters and police, to stabilize and transport patients to hospitals best equipped to treat them.

EMTs may work for private ambulance services, fire departments, hospitals or other rescue services. Career opportunities may also exist in areas like wilderness EMS, special operations, special events, hazardous materials, industrial safety, quality management and other fields. An EMT must pass a certification examination have a license.

A paramedic (NRP) is a more extensively educated, skilled, and licensed health care professional. Paramedics, knowledgeable in topics such as anatomy and physiology, cardiology, pharmacology, and medical procedures, provide advanced emergency care. Paramedics administer medications, start intravenous lines, provide advanced airway management, and resuscitate and support patients with significant problems such as heart attack and trauma.

The majority of paramedics are employed by a municipal emergency medical service such as an ambulance service or fire department.

A paramedic must possess a certificate or associate degree from an accredited educational program, pass certification examinations, and have a license.

Current information about employment prospects and earnings for EMTs and paramedics can be found in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. For additional information about the profession, visit the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.


All EMS providers are licensed. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) grants licensure to EMS providers with National Registry Certification.

The CA EMS Program has adopted a list of “Essential Eligibility Criteria” which delineates the physical, behavioral, and cognitive abilities deemed necessary to complete the EMT, AEMT, and/or paramedic curriculum and to competently perform as an emergency services provider upon graduation set by The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)

When choosing a profession, an individual must be willing to assume professional behavior inherent to that profession. The Coastal Alabama EMS program demands academic integrity and moral, ethical, and professional behavior in the classroom and the clinical setting. Professional conduct includes:

  • Behavior and language that demonstrates respect for all persons
  • Treating all persons equally without regard to religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, beliefs, disability, or cultural differences
  • Keeping all patient, clinical facility, and student information confidential
  • Dressing appropriately
  • Refraining from disorderly conduct, horseplay, and/or sexual harassment. Not engaging in illegal or unethical acts
  • Abiding by the Coastal Alabama tobacco-free policy while in uniform
  • Being prompt and prepared for all learning experiences

Classes for an EMT certificate are offered every semester. Students must first apply to Coastal Alabama Community College and be unconditionally accepted. It is recommended all students meet with an advisor before registering for classes.

Students who successfully complete the EMT program are eligible to sit for the National Registry of EMT’s (NREMT) examination. This exam is required for any person seeking state licensure as an EMT. The examination fee is paid to the NREMT. An orientation to the application process and testing mechanisms are provided as part of the EMT course.

During clinical courses, the student works at agencies with EMS personnel such as an ambulance service, a fire department, or emergency department. The student is assigned to licensed personnel for the opportunity to observe and put into practice the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and laboratory setting. Clinicals may take place during the day or evening, during the week or on weekends and holidays. Faculty try to arrange experiences at times convenient to the student. Generally, assignments are in the student’s home community.

Prior to attending a clinical facility a student must undergo a medical examination and demonstrate immunity to specified communicable diseases, submit to a background check and drug screening, purchase medical malpractice insurance, and have completed a healthcare provider CPR course.

EMT students are assigned to 48 hours of clinicals. AEMT Students are assigned 96 hours. Paramedic students complete approximately 500 hours and additional as needed to accrue required competencies.


The program is 3 consecutive semesters in length for Paramedic. Some general education courses are sequenced in the curriculum plan if working on an AAS degree. Students may elect to take the general education classes in any order or complete some or all prior to enrollment in the program. Students must have completed their EMT, and AEMT prior to starting Paramedic.

Students who successfully complete the paramedic program are eligible to sit for the National Registry of Paramedics (NREMT) examination. This exam is required for any person seeking state licensure. The examination fee is paid to the NREMT. An orientation to the application process and testing mechanisms are provided as part of the paramedic program.

At least one month prior to starting the paramedic program, you should apply for general admission to Coastal Alabama and if not currently an AEMT student with Coastal Alabama. Official transcripts from all other colleges attended must be sent to the Coastal Alabama registrar’s office. Admissions and Records will evaluate your previous college work to determine which courses fulfill the paramedic degree requirements or that will transfer into Coastal Alabama. This may take several weeks so it is important to have official transcripts from other colleges forwarded promptly.

The only way to know if classes taken at another institution will transfer and apply to the EMS program is to have your transcripts evaluated by the Coastal Alabama Office of Admissions and Records. A minimum of four (4) weeks should be allowed for the evaluation of transfer credit.

No. None of the above are required to apply to the EMS program. However, all are needed once you are enrolled to comply with the requirements of our clinical facilities. Detailed information regarding background checks and the drug and alcohol screen will be provided at program orientation. If a background check or a confirmed positive drug screen renders a student ineligible to participate in clinical experiences, they will be dismissed from the EMS program.

No, the drug screening & background check must be performed by approved EMS program vendors.

A physician or nurse practitioner (of your choice) must certify that you meet the EMS Program Essential Eligibility Criteria. Proof must be submitted that you have been immunized or are immune to measles, mumps, and chicken pox and free from tuberculosis. Students will be required to have an influenza vaccine during certain months. Students are encouraged to be immunized against Hepatitis B and must have a current tetanus vaccine.

EMS programs requires commitment. Successful students report studying approximately two hours for each contact hour of lecture classes per week. Sound study skills and time management are critical to achievement in EMS programs. Attendance is required for classes and clinical experiences. However, many of the current students work full-time EMS jobs and attend class.

All paramedic classes are scheduled during daytime hours, Mondays through Thursdays on the Fairhope campus. There are no distance learning / online paramedic classes.

The Coastal Alabama Paramedic Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs 25400 US Highway 19 North Suite 158 Clearwater, FL 33763 727-210-2350 727-210-2354 (fax)

Committee on Accreditation of Education Programs for the EMS Professions 9355 - 113th St. N, #7709 Seminole, FL 33775,  214-703-8445 214-703-8992 (fax)

If you have a question not answered, contact a Nursing and Allied Health Advisor: 251-580-2257. Visit We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have!