Emergency Medical Services, more commonly known as EMS, is a system that provides emergency medical care. It is activated by a call for help (e.g. 911), usually after an incident of serious illness or injury and focuses primarily on the emergency medical care of the patient(s). Prehospital EMS is most easily recognized when emergency vehicles such as ambulances or helicopters are seen responding to emergency incidents or transporting patients to or between medical facilities. EMS personnel such as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics are specially educated and licensed to provide prehospital emergency medical care. Sometimes, EMTs and Paramedics work in other settings such as private industry, clinics, hospital emergency departments, community health centers or other medical facilities.
EMS personnel must be licensed by the State in which they work. Each State has the statutory authority and responsibility to regulate EMS within its borders, and to determine the scope of practice of State-licensed EMS personnel.
Many active duty military personnel who are trained in emergency medical specialties also attain a national EMS certification from the National Registry of EMT's (NREMT's). A national EMS certification can help facilitate the granting of individual State EMS licensure to uniformed military personnel entering the civilian EMS workforce.
What is my military experience?
If you have experience in any of the following Military Occupational Specialty areas, you have experience that can be used in the civilian workforce.
Aerospace Medical Service
Health Care Specialist
Where can I find more information about Emergency Medical Services?
The DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains EMS.gov, an online portal for EMS professionals across the country. The website makes it easy for the EMS community to access the latest professional news, training content, events, projects, and other essential information.
I have questions about getting a state EMS license, where can I find information about a particular state’s requirements?
Each State, territory and the District of Columbia has the statutory authority and responsibility to regulate EMS within its borders, and to determine the scope of practice of State-licensed EMS personnel. EMS personnel must be licensed by the State in which they work. Licensure requirements vary by State.
What are veterans resources for training and certifications?
You may be able to use veteran’s benefits to cover the cost of training or testing for specific certifications/licenses. For more information about benefits to help support your costs visit:
Where can I find job openings in EMS?
There are many online search engines which can be helpful in finding job opening in EMS. Suggested key words when searching for jobs include "Emergency Medical Technician" and "Paramedic."
- Hero to Hired Program
- USAJobs.gov for Veterans
- My Next Move for Veterans
- Learn more about the above job sites
I have questions about EMS and would like to talk to someone at DOT, where can I find contact information?
The DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) works closely with partners around the country to provide critical tools for improving EMS systems that include educational materials and resources for state and local EMS personnel and technical support for universal 9-1-1 systems. Staff within NHTSA’s Office of EMS are available to answer questions veterans may have about EMS.