EMT and paramedic training, licensing and certification in the state of Arkansas are governed by the Arkansas Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems – which is a division of Arkansas Health and Human Services. They are responsible for licenses, reviewing course and curriculum materials, complaint investigations as well as technical assistance to hospitals, EMT candidates and others interested in the emergency care system in Arkansas.
In the state of Arkansas, those who have completed EMT and paramedic training in AR find employment primarily with ambulance services or fire departments, and they work in both clinical and emergency environments.
The state of Arkansas and the Arkansas Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems also requires the individual who has completed EMS 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 state licensing is issued.
Arkansas has three levels of training certification:
EMT- A (Basic), EMT Advanced (Intermediate) and EMT Paramedic. In Arkansas the EMT-A level of certification teaches instructional courses based on the NREMT curriculum used for the standard EMT-Basic. Furthermore, in the state of Arkansas EMT training programs must meet minimum standards for coursework and clinical experience to be accredited.
AR EMS educational programs vary in length and credit hours due to the variables in each program. In addition to the program course hours, clinical experience is required for each EMT and paramedic training course level. All candidates are also required to pass a practical skills examination and evaluation that is specific to Arkansas.
Requirements for training in the state of Arkansas and to become certified – 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
Most EMT training programs in Arkansas are through local community colleges and technical schools. There are approximately 24 schools in the state of AR offering EMS training for certification and licensing. The University of Arkansas at Monticello Paramedic Program and Northwest Arkansas Community College EMT Training Program are just two of paramedic schools in the state offering EMT training and EMT paramedic training certification courses.
Arkansas requires EMT training programs and paramedic programs to be certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), which only grants accreditation to schools who follow the National Standard Curriculum established by the U.S. Department of Public Transportation. This ensures qualified EMS personnel to be working in the state, as well as access to employment due to the high standards of requirements in regards to certification. Arkansas does recognize certification from other states; however an EMT or EMT paramedic must complete the reciprocity process before certification in Arkansas is awarded. A reciprocity manual is provided online and can be downloaded for submission. One of the requirements include the candidate possess a National Registry card and to successfully complete the Arkansas Practical Skills Exam.
Arkansas EMTs must also renew their AR EMT and AR EMT paramedic certification every two years. This recertification requires completing continuing education (CE) courses during each certification period. An individual may also verify their certification status by conducting an EMS License verification through the State of Alabama EMS website. The website has several application forms; from ambulance service applications to refresher course application forms.
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. Full-time paid EMTs and paramedics will be needed to replace unpaid volunteers. It is becoming increasing difficult for emergency medical services to recruit and retain unpaid volunteers because of the amount of EMT training and EMT paramedic training, and the large time commitment these positions require. Not to mention liability. As a result, more paid EMTs and paramedics are needed.
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.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the Arkansas Emergency Medical Services:
5800 West 10th Street, Suite 800, Little Rock, AR 72204