LP Research Resources January 22, 2018

EMT Paramedic Training in South Carolina

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

The three certification levels are EMT-Paramedic, EMT-Intermediate, EMT-Basic.  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.

Certification prerequisites

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. High School Students entering training Selected High School students who meet the necessary requirements may be allowed to enter an EMT-B course in any SC approved training institution. These requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • The student must have a class status as a “second semester” Senior.
  • The student must obtain a letter from the principal of the High School (on school letterhead) giving support for the student to enter the course. (A copy of the letter letter copy of the letter must be attached to the EMT course “Statement of Understanding” Enclosure 4 and a copy attached to the white “Course Application” card.  See contact information below for forms.
  • The student must satisfy pre-screening  requirements in reading comprehension and math using a standardized test from either an agency that does pre-screening, or by the authorized SC EMT training institution using the prescreening examination of their choice (i.e. HOBET, ACET, COMPASS, etc.) with a previously established passing score.
  • The student must be physically fit and able to perform all the tasks required of an EMT.

NOTE: Once the course is completed, students will not be permitted to take the National Registry examination until they have reached the age of 18 and have submitted, to the DHEC, a copy of their High School Diploma.

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. An EMS Refresher Course for EMT-Basic consist of 24 hours of course work. An EMS Refresher Course for Paramedic is 48 hours of course work. These hours, for each level, are a Suggested “minimum” hour course.


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.

Additional information

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. There are additional requirements for pursuing EMT and paramedic training in each region, and details of these are fairly common state to state. Read the articles EMT Training and EMT Paramedic Training for details and a list of these requirements. According to the United States Department of Labor: Employment of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and EMT paramedics is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations. 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.

Contact Information

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control EMS Dept.
2600 Bull Street Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 898-DHEC (3432)
Questions: contact Don Whiteley (803) 545-4269 or his email: whiteldl@dhec.sc.gov