EMT and paramedic training, licensing and certification in the state of South Carolina are governed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control – Emergency Medical Services. This state bureau must approve all the applicants, and their certifications before the individual can be employed in the state as an EMT.
The state of South Carolina and the Dept. of Health and Environmental Control also requires the individual who has completed EMT training to pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam and recognizes the exam certification if taken in other states. In addition, passing of a state approved exam is also required before certification is awarded in SC.
South Carolina Training Levels and Programs
EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic.
The state also has an EMS level of First Responder, though it is not a certified level.
EMT and paramedic training programs in South Carolina must meet minimum standards for coursework and clinical experience to be accredited. These programs vary in length and credit hours due to the variables and requirements of each program. In addition to the program course hours, clinical experience is required for each SC state EMT training course and paramedic training level.
For the state of South Carolina an individual:
- must be at least 18 years of age
- must enroll in EMT-basic training and pass EMT certification
- must pass a criminal background check
- must possess current CPR certification
- must have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent
- must pass a drug screening
- must have a valid SC driver’s license
- must pass a physical
Information and Requirements
It is important to know South Carolina does not recognize EMT course certification by way of “on-line” courses such as e-ACLS, etc. Certification course information can be found on the S.C. Emergency Medical Services website. Forms and applications are also available, including a downloadable form for a criminal background check application and a checklist for steps to take the NREMT exam.
Recertification/Continuing Education (CE)
The state of SC requires all EMS personnel to re-certify every four years. This can be done by taking a refresher course or completing a state approved course for continuing education. EMS workers are also required to re-certify through the Red Cross or the American Heart Association in order to keep CPR certifications current.
Like most states, South Carolina requires an individual to have passed the NREMT exam and/or be certified from another state to become certified or licensed as an EMT or EMT paramedic. In addition, you will need:
- to pass a transition course
- hold a valid credential certification as an EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic with at least one year of valid certification remaining in any US state or US territory
- must hold a current CPR credential
- must hold a current ACLS credential (for paramedics)
Individuals who are certified as an EMT in other states, hold an NREMT card, or are certified through the National Academy of Emergency Dispatchers may seek issue of a South Carolina certification through a Reciprocity/“Legal Recognition” process. To begin this procedure one must first be a resident of South Carolina. Next one must attend an EMS educational program in South Carolina, or work for a licensed SC EMS provider.
South Carolina has a Credentialing Information System (CIS), which is used for Reciprocity/Legal recognition. Forms are found online through the SC Office of Emergency Medical Services.
To begin the reciprocity process you must first create a CIS profile. After you have created your profile, log into CIS, select “Profile” from the drop down menu on the left and choose “Request Legal Recognition.” After you have applied for legal recognition (reciprocity) online, you will receive an information packet in the mail. Once you complete the reciprocity process and return the required information you should receive your certification by mail within 10-12 business days.
Most SC EMT courses are through local community colleges and technical schools. Trident Technical College in Summerville, SC and Greenville Technical College in Greenville, SC are just two South Carolina paramedic schools offering certification courses.
According to the United States Department of Labor:
Employment of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Full-time paid EMTs and paramedics will be needed to replace unpaid volunteers. It is becoming increasingly difficult for emergency medical services to recruit and retain unpaid volunteers because of the amount of training and the large time commitment these positions require. Not to mention liability. As a result, more paid EMTs and paramedics are needed. Furthermore, as a large segment of the population—aging members of the baby boom generation—becomes more likely to have medical emergencies, demand will increase for EMTs and paramedics. There will still be demand for part-time, volunteer personnel in rural areas and smaller metropolitan areas.
Job prospects should be very favorable and job opportunities should be best in private ambulance services. Competition will be greater for jobs in local government, including fire, police, and independent third-service rescue squad departments which tend to have better salaries and benefits. EMTs and paramedics who have advanced training and education should enjoy the most favorable job prospects as employees and patients demand higher levels of care before arriving at the hospital.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 898-DHEC (3432)
Questions: contact DHEC-EMS Director Jennifer Paddock or call (803) 545-4204.