EMTs and Paramedics must be certified in the state of Washington in order to become employed and work in any of the EMS fields. EMS services, EMT Training and Paramedic Training, are governed by the Washington State Department of Health and Washington State EMS Trauma Systems. Certification to work and receive licensure applications are through this agency.
The DOH provides applications for all 8 levels of EMS service: First Responder, EMT-Basic, IV Technician, Airway Technician, IV/AW Technician, ILS Technician, ILS/Airway Technician and Paramedic.
Washington levels of certification:
Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
For each of these levels, to begin the certification process you must:
#1. Complete a Washington State approved EMS training course and meet the requirements provided in the application packet.
#2. Complete the Initial Certification Application (a PDF file found online)
This form MUST be printed out to complete and to obtain the necessary signatures.
#3: Provide the information to the address provided above.
Training programs in Washington must meet minimum standards for coursework and clinical experience to be accredited. These Washington EMT training 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 WA EMT training program and EMT paramedic training level.
EMTs and First Responders must pass the NREMT examinations in order to receive certification in Washington. The written part of the certification process used by the state of Washington for certifying EMS personnel is the National Registry EMT exam (NREMT). Once you have passed the exam and received certification recognition for that step, you must next complete the application process for the state of Washington. You will need proof of your course completion and certification from the approved EMT training program and the National Registry examination results to proceed and apply for state certification.
Recertification is granted to a currently certified EMS worker and it must be done within six months of the certification expiration date. This can be done when requesting certification at the same level, for a second or subsequent time. Washington State applicants can complete this paper application or complete their recertification through the online process provided through the Washington state EMS website. See information below. To remain certified in Washington, you don’t need to maintain the NREMT certification; you only need to complete the state of Washington requirements for re-certification. The state has an OTEP process, Ongoing Training and Evaluation Program. The large majority of EMTs and First Responders recertify through this program.
EMT certification requirements for Washington include:
• High School Diploma, High School Transcripts or GED certificate
• Must be at least 17 years old• Current driver’s license
• Current Healthcare Provider CPR Card
• Washington State Patrol Background Check
• Proof of Medical Insurance
• Proof of Immunity
The WA EMT training courses take about 150 to 190 hours, depending upon the program and the level of certification. You will also need to complete 10 hours of required patient care observation with a minimum of 5 patient inter-actions in a clinical setting. You can be in an Emergency department, ICU, coronary care unit, OB-GYN, recovery room, ambulance runs with patients, and other approved and sponsored departments. These clinical hours must be completed before the end of any Washington EMS course evaluation.
Paramedic certification requirements for WA include:
• 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
Employment and Reciprocity
EMS professionals in the state of Washington can earn as much as $49,840 – $65,880 in metropolitan areas like Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
EMTs and paramedics may apply for reciprocity, if you are certified from another state or registered through the NREMT by having work or supervision through an approved EMS agency. Another requirement for Washington state reciprocity is the need for Infectious Disease Prevention training. Even if you’ve already received training elsewhere, the state of Washington requires this training through the state. An individual cannot work for the state of Washington until they have completed EMT training in Washington State and/or are issued a state certificate.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the Office of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System at P.O. Box 47853, Olympia, Washington, 98504-7853
or by calling 360-236-4700 Toll free: 1-800-458-5281 ext. 1.
Application must be mailed to:
Department of Health
Customer Service Office
P.O. Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877