Established in 2009, the National EMS Education Standards have been the guide for the initial training of EMS clinicians for more than ten years. This guide was created to establish a proficiency baseline across a broad range of topics for students who are training for careers in EMS as paramedics, EMTs, advanced EMTs, and emergency medical responders. Now, more than ten years later, those standards are receiving an overhaul. 

Update of Education Standards for EMTs

The EMS arms of several major public agencies, such as the NHTSA and the HRSA, brought experts together in 2018 to work on updates to the standards. The revision process is being led by Bryan Ericson, president of the board of directors for the National Association of EMS Educators. 

According to Ericson, updates to the education standards are necessary because things change in the industry and society at a rapid pace. For example, naloxone quickly evolved from being something only administered by paramedics to a drug now given by all EMS clinicians, members of law enforcement, and even people with little to no training. As research, healthcare, and technology evolve, the education systems and requirements for EMS clinicians should adapt as well. 

What Changes Are on the Table for EMTs?

Nothing is set in stone as far as updates to the standards for EMS clinicians. In a webinar hosted last summer through NHTSA’s EMS.gov, the leaders of the revisions process outlined some of the issues that are on the table for revision and also specified what will not be a focus. 

Some of the items that will be subject to EMS education standards revisions include:

  • Assessment
  • AEMT program accreditation
  • Airway management, respiration, and artificial ventilation
  • Pharmacology education standards
  • Preparatory
  • Clinical behavior/judgment

Some of the items that will not be a focus of the upcoming revisions include:

  • Degree requirements
  • CE requirements
  • Specialty certifications
  • Nomenclature

Timeline for the EMS Education Standards Overhaul

This revision process began in 2018 when the initial revision teams were formed. The first draft of the new Education Standards was released in August 2019 for community review. The second Development Team meeting took place in October 2019, and the team engaged with the community and EMS associations for additional input through the end of the year. 

In January 2020, the second draft of the new standards is scheduled to be released for community review. The third Development Team meeting will take place in March, and the final document is scheduled to be published on EMS.gov in April 2020. You can follow the progress of the revisions on the EMS.gov project page

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