What is an EMT Refresher?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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An EMT refresher is a course aimed at qualified EMTs or people with recently lapsed EMT qualifications which is designed to provide students with a refresher on basic medical topics relevant to practice as an emergency medical technician, paramedic, or first responder. The course may also provide new information about updated standards and protocols so that EMTs can provide care which meets the latest standards of the medical community. EMT refreshers are offered in a number of venues, at varying costs, and in some cases, an EMT's employer will pay for the course and materials needed.

In many regions of the world, EMTs are required to engage in continuing education if they wish to maintain their certifications. Most regions require a set number of hours of training each year which are designed to keep EMT skills fresh and sharp. An EMT refresher course meets the hours requirement, and had a syllabus which also satisfies the government's mandates about the types of topics the course needs to cover.


The coursework in an EMT refresher assumes that students are familiar with the knowledge required from all EMTs, and does not provide remedial training. Courses usually include classroom work along with opportunities to practice basic protocols. The course generally includes an exam at the end which tests skills and knowledge to confirm that students got as much as possible out of the course. A failing test score may mean that a student needs to repeat the EMT refresher.

Students can also opt to take additional continuing education and refresher training, beyond the number of hours mandated by the government. For example, a trained EMT might want to take an advanced extrication course to learn about how to remove victims from car accidents and how to evacuate people from various dangerous situations. While extrication skills may not be required, they can help an EMT do her or his job more effectively, and may increase employability, especially in rural areas where a limited number of EMTs can be hired and additional skills are viewed as a major advantage.

When selecting an EMT refresher course, students should make sure that the course will meet government standards for continuing education. If they aren't sure, they can call the agency which regulates EMT training and certification to check on the specific course they are interested in. EMTs may also want to find out if they can get credit for professional advancement such as attending EMT conferences, presenting papers at conferences or in journals, and so forth.


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