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Becoming Involved in EMS

Sylvia Fisher


Sylvia Fisher
EMS Manager
Phone: (828) 465-8234
Email Sylvia Fisher

Map of Bases

map 25 Government Drive
Newton, NC 28658

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

What is EMS?

From Wikipedia: Emergency medical services (abbreviated to the initialism "EMS" in some countries) are a branch of emergency services dedicated to providing out-of-hospital acute medical care and/or transport to definitive care, to patients with illnesses and injuries which the patient, or the medical practitioner, believes constitutes a medical emergency.

The goal of most emergency medical services is to either provide treatment to those in need of urgent medical care, with the goal of satisfactorily treating the malady, or arranging for timely removal of the patient to the next point of definitive care.

How to Become Certified

There are 3 certification levels in EMS

  • Emergency Medical Techinician (EMT)
  • Emergency Medical Technician - Intermediate (EMT-I)
  • Emergency Medical Technician – Paramedic (EMT-P)
EMT patchEMT- I patch EMT-P patch

There are also several ways to obtain certification at these levels:

  • Certificate Programs – 6 - 18 months to complete each level, usually offered evenings and/or weekends through Continuing Education Departments at local Community Colleges.  Can test at each level after completion of that level’s course and clinical requirements.
  • Associate’s Degree – 2 years to complete.  Day program offered at some Community Colleges (such as CVCC).  At completion of program, student meets all requirements to test as an EMT-P.
  • Bachelor’s Degree – 4 years to complete.  Full-time program offered at some 4-year colleges (such as Western Carolina).  Program offers students the ability to concentrate in one of three areas: health services management, wilderness medicine, or science (pre med).  Students are eligible to test as an EMT-P at completion.

After Completing Classes

  • Must pass a state test at appropriate certification level.
  • After passing the test, the state checks your criminal background before issuing certification.
  • When attempting to acquire a job, most agencies require that you pass an agency specific competency test.
  • Often other certifications are required or preferred for employment. 
    Ex:  ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), ITLS (International Trauma Life Support)
  • Must continue taking classes to recertify.
ITLS logo

Agencies may have other or additional employment requirements specific to their organization.  Contact any agency you are interested in for more information.

For more information related to employment with Catawba County EMS, contact Melanie Sigmon, QA Officer at (828) 464-1575 or