License Renewal Process for EMT Basic
The National Registry of EMTs is the organization responsible for National EMS certification. Certification is a method by which an individual obtains and maintains competency as an EMT.

There are three elements involved in credentialing EMTs.  In order to participate in this process EMTs must:

Obtain/Maintain EMT Certification
Applicants must complete NREMT entry requirements involving completing an approved EMT education course, pass criminal background checks, possess CPR certification and pass practical and computer based testing. Once these initial requirements are met applicants obtain National EMS Certification through NREMT.

Fulfill State Licensure Requirements
The majority of states utilize national certification as part of their individual licensing process. However possession of National EMS certification doesn’t mean that licensure is automatically granted. Certification doesn’t give an individual a right to practice.

Some states have additional requirements for EMTs beyond those imposed by NREMT for licensure purposes. Some states restrict individuals with criminal records from becoming EMTs. Some states also require that an EMT must be affiliated with a licensed agency in order to obtain licensure. Since states are the final authority for public protection, states have the right to revoke licensure. States generally revoke licensure when an EMT acts inappropriately.

Participate in Credentialing
The third element involved is accomplished locally. Most EMT personnel must pass local requirements in order to maintain employment or obtain protocols to practice in local EMS systems. Additionally, employers often require employees to participate in an orientation period prior to permitting new employees to provide care independently from other staff. Orientation programs are similar to the local credentialing process.

Certification is never granted as a life-long credential due to the fact that knowledge, skills, and abilities must be regularly updated as patient care develops and changes. NREMT requires EMTs to be recertified. NREMT requires EMTs to be recertified every 2 years. EMT personnel are required to perform actions that carry significant risk for patients. Because of this, EMTs must be highly proficient.

The EMT-Basic level requires a minimal amount of initial education. Standards and recommendations are always changing and under review. Periodically the Scope of Practice changes necessitating additions to knowledge, skills and abilities of EMTs.

Expiration Date
The initial expiration dates for EMTs are determined by the date the EMT successfully completed the certification process. For EMTs who successfully complete the certification process between January 1st and June 30th, the expiration date will be 2 years later on March 31st.

EMT-Basic Recertification
EMTs applying for recertification must comply with recertification requirements and rules of NREMT. Applicants wishing to recertify must bear the burden for demonstrating and maintaining their compliance.

EMTs applying for recertification must:

  • Currently be actively employed by EMS, rescue service, or a healthcare facility using EMT skills.
  • Successfully complete educational requirements prior to certification expiration.
  • Complete a recertification report prior to March 31.
  • Demonstrate competency in knowledge and skills through continuing education or examination.

Continuing Education Option

  • EMTs must complete 72 hours of education including:
  • 24 hours DOT National Standard EMT Basic/Refresher Course
  • 48 hours of additional continuing education related to the EMT field
  • Pay $15.00 recertification fee at the time of submission.

EMT Exam Option

One attempt at taking an examination can be completed by EMTs to meet recertification requirements instead of documenting continuing education within 6 months of their certification expiration date. The Exam fee is $70.00.

Inactive Status
EMTs can apply to receive an inactive status.  Reasons that an EMT might need to apply for inactive status are:

Educational pursuits
Family responsibilities

Instructors, administrators and regulators who aren’t actively involved in patient care should also consider applying for inactive status.
To be eligible for inactive status, EMTs must meet all recertification requirements with the exception of affiliation with an EMS provider. Requests for inactive status can only be completed if EMTs have been employed as EMTs for a minimum of 6 months. Inactive status must be reapplied for twice yearly in order to maintain national certification.

Returning to active status requires EMTs to demonstrate skills competency and verified employment with an EMS agency.

Lapsed Certification
EMTs who have lapsed EMT-Basic certifications within the first two years of certification, National Certification can be obtained by completing another refresher course and submitting to NREMT testing requirements. If expiration has been lapsed for a period more than 2 years an entire state-approved EMT-Basic course must be completed prior to testing.


NREMT – EMT-Basic / EMT. (n.d.). NREMT – National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from

NREMT – EMT-Basic / EMT. (n.d.). NREMT – National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from

NREMT – EMT/Candidate – Recertification Rationale. (n.d.). NREMT – National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from

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