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Written By

Kenya McCullum

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Expert Contributor


Canon Welch

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Canon Welch began her career as an EMT-Basic/Firefighter before attending the Foothill College Paramedic program. She holds the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians-Paramedic certification and works as an instructor for the American Heart Association teaching future generations of paramedics and proctoring the NREMT exam.

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Best Schools for Online EMT Classes

Being an EMT is both satisfying and demanding, making it imperative to get the specialized training you need to rise to the challenges that come with the job. But in order to get this training, hopeful EMTs have to find the right program first. Not all EMT training programs are created equally, so EduMed has established the Best in Class initiative that highlights comprehensive, affordable, and accredited programs across the country to help you kick-start your career. Below are profiles of schools that stand out for 2022. (Read how we chose our schools >>)


To be considered for our college spotlight list, schools were required to have:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
  • EMT program(s) offered at least partially online

School Metrics Explained

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Financial Aid: Percentage of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant or scholarship aid.

About Our Data

EduMed’s college lists use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: May 2019

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs Financial Aid More Details School Information
1 Beaufort County Community College Public $ 1 39%

Since 1967, Beaufort County Community College has been providing technical education to help people train for careers in different fields, including the health care profession. Those who aspire to helping people by providing urgent care can enroll in the school’s EMT program, which trains students on how to deliver prehospital emergency care to patients. In this program, students complete 225 hours of online classes and on-campus sessions that take place on weeknights and Saturdays.

In-state tuition for Beaufort County Community College is $76 per credit and out-of-state students are charged $268. Scholarships are available for students who qualify.

2 Catawba Valley Community College Public $ 1 45%

Through a combination of didactic and psychomotor training, Catawba Valley Community College’s emergency medical technician program prepares students to work in emergency rooms, ambulances, and urgent care centers. The program requires that students complete 228 hours of instruction.

In order to be admitted, students must be at least 17 years old with a high school diploma or its equivalent. In addition, applicants are required to pass a reading exam in order to demonstrate that they have competency of at least the 11th grade level. As of June 2019, the tuition rate for in-state students was $76 per credit, while students from other states paid $268 per credit.

The school also offers an emergency medical science associate degree for those who are interested in getting more advanced training. In this program, which takes about two years to complete, students study a variety of topics such as cardiology, trauma, pediatrics, pharmacology, and gynecology. When they complete this program, people have the skills needed to administer drugs, deliver babies, and work with patients receiving mental health care. Students are advised to contact the school for the most current tuition costs.

3 Central Piedmont Community College Public $ 1 54%

Central Piedmont Community College offers an emergency medical science associate degree that is designed to prepare students for the rigors of providing prehospital care, as well as EMS leadership.  The program, which trains students to pass the State of North Carolina or National Registry Certification exams, combines online classes and laboratory work that is completed on campus for eight hours a week.

During the didactic phase of the program, students take coursework that teaches them skills such as how to perform a patient assessment in an emergency setting, give patients a physical examination, and address any problems with patients’ airway and circulatory systems. After completing this phase of the program, students move on to the clinical phase where they get hands-on training in how to perform an examination based on the patient’s chief complaint, develop a diagnosis and provide appropriate care, and monitor changes in the patient’s progress.

In June 2019, the tuition for Central Piedmont Community College was $76 per credit hour. In addition, students are charged various fees, including $48 per semester for technology fees, $27 per hour for laboratory work, and $26 for activity fees.

4 Harrisburg Area Community College Public $$$$ 2 46%

The Harrisburg Area Community College emergency medical technician program, which is delivered in traditional and hybrid formats, is designed to prepare students to provide emergency care based on National EMS Education Standards. Students who enroll in the hybrid program have the opportunity to do their classwork at their own pace online, while getting hands-on training during required on-campus labs. During their studies, students take coursework that familiarizes them with anatomy and physiology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, injury assessment, environmental emergencies, and the transportation of patients.

As of June 2019, the cost for this program is $825. Students must be at least 17 years old to enroll.

Harrisburg Area Community College also offers an advanced EMT program partially online, which prepares students to deliver a higher level of care. In this program, students study rescue and special operations, pharmacology, patient assessment, and trauma emergencies.  Students are charged $975 for their studies.

5 Iowa Western Community College Public $$ 1 46%

Iowa Western Community College offers an emergency medical technician program that takes 16 weeks to complete. To be eligible for admission, students must be at least 17 years of age, have a fitness level that allows them to perform the duties of an EMT job, and demonstrate proficiency in speaking, writing, and reading in English. In addition, applicants are required to undergo a criminal background check and drug screening to enroll in the program. Students can choose between a traditional or hybrid format. Those in the tradition program complete coursework on campus during weekdays, nights, and Saturdays, while hybrid students are able to complete their work at their own pace online and go to campus for skills labs on Saturdays.

During their studies, students learn how to deliver patient care in emergency settings, use the equipment associated with providing this care, perform patient assessments, and work effectively as a member of a health care team. In addition, students sharpen their critical thinking skills so they are able to make the right decisions in a fast-paced and sometimes chaotic emergency setting.

In June 2019, the cost of Iowa Western Community College’s EMT program was $895, which includes the cost of tuition, the NREMT psychomotor testing fee, and malpractice insurance.

6 Lenoir Community College Public $ 4 79%

The EMT basic program at Lenoir Community College is a 10-week program that prepares students to earn the certification needed to gain employment. Students are able to enroll on a hybrid basis, so they can take courses online for the first nine weeks and then come to campus for one week to complete the on-site lab requirement. Lenoir also offers an 8-week fast-track option for those who have previous experience in the medical field as well as a 16-week program  for applicants without a healthcare background. All variants prepare students for the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services (NC OEMS) state test and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam.

In order to be admitted, Lenoir requires that students have a high school diploma, or its equivalent, and a valid driver’s license. Students are charged $339.35, which includes tuition, as well as the textbook, a skills book, and CPR card fees.

In addition, Lenoir offers an advanced emergency medical technician program in a hybrid format for EMTs who want to advance to the next level of care. This 16-week program costs $565.35 for tuition and fees. Admission requirements include having a basic EMT certification, high school diploma or GED, and a driver’s license. Also, applicants must demonstrate that they have up-to-date immunizations for mumps, measles, Hepatitis B, and rubella.

7 Midlands Technical College Public $$ 1 78%

Midlands Technical College’s hybrid EMT certificate program is a 200-hour intensive program where students learn the basic competencies needed to enter this rewarding career. In six months of training, students are prepared to pass the national certification exam so they can gain employment at hospitals, fire departments, and private ambulance companies. In order to be admitted, students must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and score at least a 3 on the WIN applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information assessment tests.

As of June 2019, Midlands Technical College charges $5,708 for tuition and $129 for fees. Eligible students may be able to receive scholarships through the school.

8 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Public $$$ 1 64%

Minnesota West’s Emergency Medical Technician Certificate is a hybrid online program that’s designed to prepare students for the National Registry Exam. It also meets the educational standards set by the Minnesota EMS Regulatory Board to seek EMT employment in the state. The 7-credit program is split up between two courses and takes an estimated 160 hours total hours to complete

Minnesota West also offers a more extensive Emergency Medical Services certificate program designed to be completed in four months. This program includes the two courses from the EMT certificate and builds upon them with four additional courses. These additional courses are not offered online, however. This EMS certificate costs a total of $3,673 for in-state students and $6,424 for out-of-state students assuming they complete the programs in the normal set amount of time.

9 Passaic County Community College Public $$$ 1 55%

Students who enroll in Passaic County Community College’s EMT Basic program, which is accredited by the New Jersey State Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services, receive about 200 hours of training in order to prepare to work as an EMT on a professional or volunteer basis. This is a hybrid program that allows students to do their assignments online and attend on-campus sessions every Saturday.

Offered through the Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, the cost for Passaic County Community College’s EMT program is $1,200 as of June 2019.

10 Rowan College at Burlington County Public $$ 1 35%

Rowan College at Burlington County offers an emergency medical technician program that teaches students the vital skills they will need to provide emergency services. Coursework covers areas such as trauma, wound care, emergency childbirth, and fracture splinting. In addition, students learn how to help patients who are having diabetic, cardiac, and respiratory emergencies. In order to cultivate these skills, students work in the school’s state-of-the-art simulation lab where they get a feel for what it’s like to apply classroom concepts in a real-world setting. After completing this training, students are able to sit for the NREMT-Certification Examination.

Students at Rowan College at Burlington County were charged $126 per credit as of summer 2019. In addition, students were charged $50.50 in administrative fees. In order to enroll, students must be at least 16 years of age, have a CPR certification, and be able to demonstrate meeting the physical conditions needed to do an EMT’s demanding job. Also, applicants are required to pass a background check.

11 Southwestern Community College Public $$ 1 40%

In order to enroll in Southwestern Community College’s hybrid EMT program, prospective students must have an American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare CPR certification, a high school diploma or its equivalent, and proof of immunizations. In addition, applicants should demonstrate that they scored at least an 11th grade level on a basic reading comprehensive examination.

Once admitted, students complete 200 hours of work via the Internet and hands-on training on campus in order to learn how to provide critical and emergency care to patients. To help students integrate how what they learned can be applied to the real world, they are required to participate in a 24-hour internship.

In June 2019, the tuition for Southwestern Community College was $180. Students were also required to complete a criminal background check and pay various fees, including $75 for uniforms, $35.50 for malpractice insurance, $130 textbooks, and $5 for protective equipment.

Southwestern Community College also offers a campus-based, advanced EMT program where students get 211 hours of classroom instruction and 48 hours of clinical experience at a hospital. The registration fee for the AEMT program is $180, in addition to fees for textbooks, uniforms, malpractice insurance, and protective equipment, totaling $256.50. Students must also complete a criminal background check.

Can You Take EMT Courses Online?

In order to give students the training they need to be an effective EMT, schools combine theoretical and practical instruction, so students can learn the principles of the emergency field medicine and how they are applied in practice. Although some students may prefer to enroll in a traditional program that is conducted entirely on campus, some schools give those who need flexibility the option to complete portions of the program online. Below are examples of how these online programs work.

Mostly online

Programs that are conducted mostly online allow students to complete class lectures and assignments online through the school’s course management system. Students may be required to attend lectures at a scheduled time or watch them at their own convenience, depending on the program. In addition, people in these programs watch instructional videos, take tests, hand in homework, and communicate with professors via the Internet. In order to provide practical experience, mostly online programs require that students complete laboratory work or participate in ambulance ride-alongs for a certain number of hours.

Partially online

Partially online EMT programs allow students to complete some of their classwork through the school’s course management system, but the majority of the work is completed on campus. Students who enroll in these programs enjoy the benefits of frequent face-to-face interactions with their instructors, as well as their peers, while still getting the flexibility that comes with online learning.


Whether students enroll in partially or mostly online EMT programs, they reap many benefits from distance education. One important benefit is that students can often easily schedule their studies around their full-time jobs and family responsibilities. When people enroll in asynchronous programs, for example, it allows them to watch lectures in their own time and in some cases, they may be able to complete tests and hand in assignments at their own pace. Another benefit is the ability to jumpstart a new career relatively quickly because oftentimes students are able to complete their programs within months of enrollment. Also, online students benefit from the affordability of these programs, so they are able to get the training they need without being charged large tuition bills

Online EMT Training Program Options

When students decide to enroll in an EMT training program, there are a few levels for them to choose from — and as they progress from one level to the next, the coursework becomes more comprehensive and challenging. In addition, with this progression students are required to invest more time in their studies. The following are the different EMT training program levels and what students can expect when they pursue these programs.


EMT certificate programs are designed for people who want to learn the fundamentals of administering emergency medical services so they can land jobs as ambulance attendants, firefighters, park rangers, and life guards. Generally, this program takes about 130 hours to complete classroom instruction and clinical training. During their studies, students learn basic EMT functions, such as how to treat airway problems, perform triage after an accident, and complete an assessment during an emergency.


Like certificate programs, EMT diploma programs are designed to prepare students to obtain the state certification they need to land entry-level emergency medicine positions. These programs, however, take longer to complete, and students are generally required to get 180 hours of training to graduate. People in diploma programs get the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the material as they work closely with their instructors and peers during simulated exercises, as well as emergency ride-alongs. Through these practical exercises, students learn how to use the tools of the trade, such as oxygen delivery systems, stretchers, suction devices, and backboards.

Associate degree

Students who enroll in an EMT associate degree program, which takes two years to complete, get more in-depth training for their careers than those who earn certificates or diplomas. In addition to taking EMT preparatory courses that train them on the basics of the field, they may also be required to take health care ethics, medical terminology, and anatomy and physiology. Also, students in these programs are expected to complete general education classes designed to give them a more well-rounded educational experience. These courses may include mathematics, public speaking, and general psychology.

What to Expect: Online Classes & In-Person Training

EMTs work in a high-stress environment that requires them to think fast on their feet in order to help save people’s lives. To do this job effectively, these professionals must obtain specialized training to hone their skills and meet the national and state standards expected of them. The skills that students gain during their training can be developed during both online and on-campus classes. The following are examples of the courses students may complete in EMT programs and the information they learn.

  • EMT classes available online

    EMT Fundamentals: This course is designed to familiarize students with what it’s like to be an EMT and give them an understanding of the basic principles they need to know. Specific areas covered may include anatomy and physiology, patient assessments, and the documentation EMTs regularly use.

    EKG Interpretation: Students in this course learn about the anatomy and physiology of the heart to gain an understanding of how the organ is supposed to work in the body. Then students are taught how to interpret EKG strips to determine what heart problems a patient may have.

    Pharmacology: This class is designed to train EMTs on the methods and ethics associated with disseminating medications to patients. The calculations, side effects, and therapeutic uses of medications are among the areas that may be covered in the course.

  • EMT classes mostly on campus

    CPR: Students in this class are given instruction on how to perform CPR based on American Red Cross and American Heart Association standards. Topics covered may include patient assessment, rescue breathing, and airway management. In addition, this class teaches students how to perform CPR on patients of different age groups, from infants to the elderly.

    Intravenous Therapy: Students learn the techniques to properly provide IV treatments to patients in this course. The curriculum may cover treating patients in shock and balancing fluids and electrolytes.

    Trauma Treatments: This course is designed to provide the skills EMTs need to care for and transport patients who have suffered a traumatic injury. Instructors may teach students how to identify injury patterns, manage a patient’s trauma, and assess someone’s condition.

How Much Do EMT Courses Cost?

The amount that students can expect to pay for their EMT training program varies depending on the school they attend and the program level they want to complete. In some cases, students are charged by the credit hour, while other schools charge by the semester or require one lump sum payment for the entire course. Generally, the range for these programs is between $1,000 and $3,000, with the price increasing with the length of the program.

EMT students who need assistance paying for their tuition may be eligible to receive financial aid, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Learn how to finance your EMT training with our complete guide to financial aid for healthcare education.

Timeline: How Long Does It Take to Become an EMT?

The length of time it takes to become an EMT depends on the type of training program that students pursue. Generally, students can complete a certificate program in about six to nine months, a diploma in around a year, and an associate degree in two years. Prospective students can find out how long they can expect to devote to a specific program by reviewing the information in our rankings above.

Completing an EMT program is an important step in the process of entering this career, but it is only one step. The following is a basic timeline that people must follow in order to pursue this career path:

  • Complete a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Earn a CPR certification
  • Complete an accredited EMT program
  • Pass the cognitive and psychomotor portions of the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) examination
  • Complete relevant state-specific requirements

Understanding EMT Certification Online

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians provides certifications in order to ensure that EMTs meet the high standard of patient care expected of their position. The following are the different levels of certification that professionals can obtain depending on their career goals.


The EMT-Basic certification (EMT-B) is the first level of certification that professionals can earn in order to enter the field. People who receive an EMT-B are trained to provide basic life support functions, but there are limits on what they may be allowed to do on the job. Each state has its own criteria for the care that professionals at this level are allowed to deliver, which may include administering medications, clearing a patient’s airway, splinting bones, performing an assessment, and inserting and monitoring IVs. When training to earn this level of certification, prospective EMTs are required to complete 110 hours of study.


The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) certification is for those who have received about 200 to 600 hours of EMT training to provide more advanced care than those with an EMT-B credential. Among the skills that people who receive this certification should master are oxygenation, trauma triage, defibrillation, and cardiac arrest skills.


The National Paramedic Certification (NRP) is the highest credential that EMTs receive. To qualify for this designation, people get up to two years of training so they can provide more advanced care than their counterparts with EMT-B and AEMT certifications. Some of the skills those with this certification may be required to know are pharmacology, advanced airway management, and team leadership.

Career Outlook & Salaries for EMTs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job opportunities for EMTs will grow in the coming years. In fact, between 2016 and 2026, the occupation is going to increase by 15 percent—which amounts to an additional 37,400 jobs. Other medical support professions are also expected to grow during this time: Medical assistants will experience 29 percent job growth, physician assistants will see 37 percent more jobs, and job growth for nurses will be 15 percent.

People who begin their emergency medical careers with a basic EMT certification can obtain additional training to become a paramedic. For more information on how to train to provide this higher level of care, and increase job prospects, log on to our online paramedic programs page.