Become an EMT Specialization
EMT Medical and Trauma Emergency Care. Gain the skills needed to provide first responder emergency medical care
About this Specialization
Applied Learning Project
On each courses, learners will learn and work through multiple patient scenarios that challenge them to apply the concepts and skills they have learned to patient scenarios. On the capstone projects, learners will apply and summarize everything that they have learnt from course 1 to 5 on three patient scenarios that are similar to what they will experience when taking the national registry exam.
No prior experience required.
No prior experience required.
University of Colorado System
The University of Colorado is a recognized leader in higher education on the national and global stage. We collaborate to meet the diverse needs of our students and communities. We promote innovation, encourage discovery and support the extension of knowledge in ways unique to the state of Colorado and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the refund policy?
If you subscribed, you get a 7-day free trial during which you can cancel at no penalty. After that, we don’t give refunds, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. See our full refund policy.
Can I just enroll in a single course?
Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the "Enroll" button on the left. You'll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. You'll need to complete this step for each course in the Specialization, including the Capstone Project. Learn more.
Can I take the course for free?
When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free. If you cannot afford the fee, you can apply for financial aid.
Is this course really 100% online? Do I need to attend any classes in person?
This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.
Will I earn university credit for completing the Specialization?
This Specialization doesn't carry university credit, but some universities may choose to accept Specialization Certificates for credit. Check with your institution to learn more.
What do I have to do to become an EMT?
Healthcare is one of the fastest growing career fields throughout the world, and offers tremendous job opportunities for personal growth and economic advancement. As technologies advance and as the elderly increasingly make up a greater percentage of the global population, the need for a talented and educated healthcare workforce is projected to exist well into the foreseeable future.
One of the most successful strategies for entering this field has been through training as a pre-hospital caretaker, i.e. in emergency medical services. Its accessible curriculum allows a basic understanding of human physiology and hands-on skills to approach basic emergencies in a very short period of study. Specifically, successful completion of this course will impart the knowledge and skills to approach and assist the sick or injured patient, and a basic understanding of human pathophysiology and introductory concepts to resuscitation. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) have gone on to work as paramedics, nurses, doctors, in hospital leadership and as healthcare company CEOs, as well as firefighters and other emergency responding personnel. We are thrilled to bring this educational opportunity to you through a Coursera specialization. The faculty of the highly regarded Denver Health Paramedic Division will cover most of what you need to know to be a Emergency Medical Technician. In just 26 weeks you will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and critical insights to propel you toward a career in healthcare!
What can I learn from this become an EMT specialization?
This course brings to you expert instruction and up to date curriculum from practicing front line paramedics and emergency physicians. We deliver this content in an engaging, flexible and efficient manner. However, becoming an EMT still requires some hands-on skills with in-person instructor evaluation, this course alone does not qualify you to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and this course alone DOES NOT qualify you to take care of patients.
Why should I take this specialization (or any of these courses)?
1) If you are looking for an introductory curriculum to becoming a healthcare provider or are interested in learning more about health care delivery this is a great course for you! This course provides an excellent overview (or review for those with previous healthcare experience) of a practical approach to a sick or injured patient. It also provides an excellent foundation for further study in health professions and potentially supports further application to a health professional schools (Nursing, PA, Medical).
2) If you want to become a certified EMT in the United States this course is designed for you. See the answer to “How do I become an EMT” for more information. This specialization is the first step in that process.
3) If you are already enrolled in an EMT course and are looking for supplemental education or a way to review for the test, this specialization is divided into courses that allow you to focus on areas where you might need extra review or just a new way to think about challenging concepts.
4) If you are planning to re-certify as an EMT by taking the cognitive exam, this is a complete review of the content you will be tested on.
I do not live in the United States. Why should I take this specialization?
For those outside of the United States, this curriculum focuses on core principles that are relevant in any setting and in any healthcare system, specifically in emergency care. The curriculum follows internationally accepted guidelines on the approach to a sick or injured patient, and is relevant for anyone looking to learn the first steps to becoming a healthcare provider or advancing their education in healthcare.
Some of the resources that are discussed and some of the legal issues that are covered are unique to the United States; however, the principles of care, disease processes and health care basics that are taught are universal and can be used in environments/communities with fewer resources.
Does this course qualify me to take care of patients?
No. As mentioned above and outlined in subsequent answers, this course only provides the lecture portion, or didactic portions, of the EMT curriculum. This content is applicable to many aspects of patient care- not just for those on the path to become an EMT- but completion of the course and content itself does does not qualify you in any way to provide direct patient care as an EMT. Certification to practice as an EMT is only through the National registry of EMTs (NREMT) and requires an additional hands-on skills portion of course work.
** Caveat: Some of the skills you will learn in this course could help you save the life of another individual. There are two skills in particular that we would want you to perform in the appropriate situation. Once you have learned how to do them- CPR and bleeding control are time sensitive, life saving interventions that are taught to the general public (found in Medical Emergencies: CPR, Environmental and Toxicology and Trauma Emergencies). Pay really close attention to these portions of the course! Performing CPR, stopping bleeding with pressure or a tourniquet, and of course knowing how and when to activate the emergency response system can save someone’s life.
Do I need to have taken special classes or have specific experience/ability to take this course?
No. This course is designed for anybody! To become an EMT in the United states you must be 18 years old so the majority of the course work is based roughly on a high school level education. For some of you, classes you have taken - such as biology or anatomy - or knowledge you have from other life experiences will help you with some of the lessons in this specialization.
Two things to consider:
1) If your plan is to become an EMT you will need to take Basic Life Support for healthcare providers from the AHA prior to coming to the Skills course. (https://cpr.heart.org/AHAECC/CPRAndECC/Training/HealthcareProfessional/BasicLifeSupportBLS/UCM_473189_Basic-Life-Support-BLS.jsp). This is not required to take this specialization.
2) A lot of patient care is very physical. It involves lifting patients, moving patients, driving an ambulance, administering medications. If you have any physical limitations that would prevent you from being able to complete tasks like these please take that into consideration before deciding to pursue the EMT certification. These physical abilities are not a requirement for you to participate in any of these online courses or specialization and we encourage anybody who is interested in the subject matter to participate fully!!
Do I need any special equipment or textbook?
No. If your plan is to go on to become an EMT (see ‘How can I become an EMT’ for more information on this) we do recommend that you get a stethoscope (the medical equipment to listen to the heart, lungs and take a blood pressure) at some point before your separate skills workshop. It might be helpful for your learning if you have it while going through this specialization.
We do not require a specific textbook either. Depending on your learning and studying style, you might find it helpful to have a secondary source of information or another way to review. Below are the titles of a couple of supplemental EMT textbooks we are familiar with. Again, these are not required and this list is not complete. This is only provided if you think it might be helpful to you.
1) EMT-P, Daniel J. Limmer, Michael F. O’Keefe, Harvey Grant, Bob Murray, J. David Bergeron, and Edward T. Dickinson Medical Editor. Emergency Care. 13 edition. Boston: Pearson, 2015.
2) Mistovich, Joseph J., and Keith J. Karren. Prehospital Emergency Care. 11 edition. NY, NY: Pearson, 2017.
3) Pons, Peter T., and Vincent J. Markovchick. Prehospital Care Pearls and Pitfalls. PMPH-USA, 2012.
How much time is this going to take? Are there time limits to the courses?
The specialization is broken up into 6 courses. Each course is designed to take you roughly 4-5 weeks to complete if you invest 2-3 hours of time each week to actual coursework and videos. In addition to the 2-3 hours of structured time each week you should plan on a few of hours additional studying to master the information. This study time will be variable from week to week and will depend a lot on what knowledge you have prior to taking Become an EMT. If you worked through according to the intended timeline, it will take you approximately 26 weeks of 2-5 hours of work/studying each week.
One of the greatest things about learning content like this online with Coursera is that it is self paced and you can move things around to fit your life rather than have life fit your studying! However, over time people forget things. In order to make the skills workshop most beneficial and to maximize your ability to pass the national registry exams, we will require those students planning to become EMT’s to complete the entire specialization in one year from start date to date of completion. We also require that you participate in a skills workshop within 6 months of the completion of the specialization.
Do I need to take all the courses in this Specialization? Do I need to take them in a certain order?
If your goals are to become an EMT or you are taking this specialization to learn these skills and concepts for the first time, we strongly recommend that you take the courses in Become an EMT in order. Learning how to work through an entire patient encounter requires a step by step approach. You need to know the parts of the body before you can talk about what can go wrong with them. You need to know how to assess a patient before you can identify abnormalities on your assessment. We were very intentional about the information that is provided in each course and think you will be most successful to progress through it in the way it was designed. To become an EMT you will need to successfully complete all of the courses.
If your goal is to use this curriculum as a refresher, to help you with a separate course, or just to explore new and interesting topics, then taking individual courses or going in a different order might be a reasonable option.
So how do I actually become an EMT?
Take a certified EMT class. There are many throughout the United States, including at the Denver Health Paramedic School and offered at various community colleges or universities.
Pass both portions of the National Registry of EMT exam. These are the psychomotor (skills) and the cognitive (standardized multiple choice test). For more information about the whole process check out: https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/emt
Finish the Specialization- Become an EMT! with a certificate of completion from Coursera.
Complete a hands-on workshop. At this time, the only course is available through the Denver Health Paramedic Division Department of EMS Education and it is about one week long and occurs in Denver Colorado. Please follow this link for complete information regarding this course. (https://denverhealthparamedics.org/coursera-emt-boot-camp)
Pass the psychomotor and cognitive portions of the National Registry Exam
Once you have passed the NREMT exam, you may register with your state’s health department to obtain your license to provide medical care in your state as a certified EMT!
If I take both the Coursera specialization AND the skills workshop offered through the Denver Health EMS Education, will I be an EMT?
If you successfully finish both Coursera specialization, skills workshop AND pass the in-person hands-on course, you will be eligible to sit for the NREMT exam once you have passed the NREMT exams, you may apply with your state’s health department for a license to practice as a certified EMT!
IMPORTANT Please remember that the in-person, hands-on workshop will require you to demonstrate certain competencies (along with your completed Coursera specialization) to pass the course, and thus be eligible to sit for the NREMT exam. For more information on the hands-on in-person course and its curriculum, please go here: https://denverhealthparamedics.org/coursera-emt-boot-camp
Do I have to come to Denver to take skills workshop after I complete the specialization? Will you offer it in other cities or Internationally?
Currently we are only offering the skills workshop in Denver (https://denverhealthparamedics.org/coursera-emt-boot-camp) . For those seeking to become certified as an EMT, we still believe the convenience of the Coursera Specialization in time efficiency and cost will more than make up for the inconvenience of travel to Denver. Additionally, if we do come to a point where we are able to offer courses in other locations, information about those course offerings will be found at the above site.
Why shouldn’t I just take a regular EMT course locally?
There are a lot of great things about a local EMT course. For many people learning in the classroom with instructors is their preferred way to learn; however, we recognize people’s lives are busy, time is precious and flexibility is sometimes required to make your dream of being an EMT a reality. The advantages of coursera are the following:
1) You can take your course work on your own time
2) You are not limited by geography. If there is not an EMT training center in your town, county or region- no worries.
3) The cost for the curriculum is less than a traditional EMT course (around $2000) even when you add in the cost of the required skills portion of the course. (https://denverhealthparamedics.org/coursera-emt-boot-camp)
4) You can explore this material for your general knowledge or as a possible new career without the investment in a full course.
I have so many questions about becoming and being an EMT where can I get more information?
One of the objectives of this specialization is that we answer many of these questions- particularly in the first course- EMT foundations. If you are not ready commit and want to surf the web first, the website for the National Registry of EMTs is a great place to start with lots of information about the requirements, national guidelines, and actual steps to obtain your certification and ultimately your licence to practice. Click here to visit their website : https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/emt
More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.