Inside Top EMT Courses &
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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 in 2023

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 2023.

About the ranking


Base Methodology for EduMed’s 2023 Online College Rankings

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.


  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2022

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Lenoir Community CollegeKinston, NC Public $ 1

Lenoir Community College in North Carolina offers a fully online bridge program to help certified paramedics earn an associate’s degree. Applicants must have a current paramedic certification and will be awarded 45 transfer hours to put toward the degree. Students therefore need to take between 23-29 credits to earn their associate’s degree with a total of 68-74 credits. 15-18 of the credits are composed of general education courses. 8-11 hours are composed of major hours. Lenoir Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Highlights:

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Emergency Medical Science

  • Credits: 23-29 (68-74 total credits)
  • Cost: $126.65 / credit (in-state); $318.65 / credit (out-of-state)
  • Length: 2 years
  • Mode: Online
Faculty Ratio
2 Rowan-Cabarrus Community CollegeSalisbury, NC Public $ 1

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in North Carolina offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Science bridge degree program. The program is intended for currently certified paramedics who are allowed 48-51 hours of transfer credit for their current certification. Students will complete 27 additional hours over the course of two years to earn the A.A.S. in Emergency Medical Science. Students will further their knowledge of emergency medical science and gain complex understandings in the field. Specialized training in EMS management provides opportunities for advancement in their careers. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Highlights:

Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Science

  • Credits: 27 (78 total)
  • Cost: $76 / credit (in-state); $268 / credit (out-of-state)
  • Length: 2 years
  • Mode: Online
Faculty Ratio

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.