EMS Certification Levels

There are several levels of EMS Certification in the Commonwealth of PA.

Certification Levels:

EMS Vehicle Operator (EMSVO)

  1. Roles and responsibilities. An EMSVO operates ground EMS vehicles for an EMS agency, as authorized by an EMS agency

  2. Certification. The Department will certify as an EMSVO an individual who meets the following qualifications:

    1. Completes an application for EMSVO certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

    2. Is 18 years of age or older

    3. Has a current driver's license.

    4. Is not addicted to alcohol or drugs.

    5. Is free from physical or mental defect or disease that may impair the person's ability to drive a ground EMS vehicle.

    6. Has successfully completed an emergency vehicle operator's course of instruction approved by the Department.

    7. Has not:

      1. Been convicted within the last 4 years prior to the date of application of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

      2. Within the last 2 years prior to the date of application been convicted of reckless driving or had a driver's license suspended due to use of drugs or alcohol or a moving traffic violation.

      3. Has successfully completed an EVOC following a disqualification from certification under paragraph (7), regardless of whether the person successfully completed the course previously.

 

Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)

  1. Roles and responsibilities. An EMR performs for an EMS agency BLS skills involving basic interventions with minimum EMS equipment as follows:

    1. As a member of a QRS to stabilize and improve a patient’s condition until a higher level EMS provider arrives at the scene. The EMR may then assist the higher level EMS provider if requested to do so.

    2. As a member of the crew of an ambulance or squad vehicle.

    3. As a member of a special operations EMS service.

  2. Certification.

    1. The Department will certify as an EMR an individual who meets the following qualifications:

      1. Completes an application for EMR certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

      2. Is 16 years of age or older.

      3. Has successfully completed an EMS provider educational course for EMRs or by October 12, 2013, a first responder educational course previously approved by the Department as an educational course leading to first responder certification.

      4. Has a current certificate evidencing successful completion of a CPR course acceptable to the Department.

      5. Has passed a written examination for EMR certification prescribed by the Department or passed an examination which the Department has determined to be equivalent in both content and manner of administration to the written examination for EMR certification

      6. Has passed a practical test of EMR skills for EMR certification prescribed by the Department or passed an examination which the Department has determined to be equivalent in both content and manner of administration to the practical test of EMR skills for EMR certification.

 

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

  1. Roles and responsibilities. An EMT performs basic EMS skills involving basic interventions and equipment found on an EMS vehicle or within an EMT’s scope of practice as follows:

    1. For an EMS agency as a member of the crew of an ambulance or squad vehicle.

    2. For an EMS agency as a member of a QRS to stabilize and improve a patient’s condition in an out-of-hospital setting until an ambulance arrives. The EMT may then assist the ambulance crew.

    3. As a member of a special operations EMS service.

    4. As a first aid or safety officer, or in a similar capacity, for or independent of an EMS agency. When serving in this capacity independent of an EMS agency, the EMT does not function under the direction of an EMS agency medical director or a medical command physician. The EMT shall perform skills as prescribed by applicable Statewide and regional EMS protocols and may not perform any skill for which the EMT is required to secure medical command direction under those protocols.

  2. Certification.

    1. The Department will certify as an EMT an individual who meets the following qualifications:

      1. Completes an application for EMT certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

      2. Is 16 years of age or older.

      3. Has successfully completed an EMS provider educational course for EMTs.

      4. Has a current certificate evidencing successful completion of a CPR course acceptable to the Department.

      5. Has passed a written examination for EMT certification prescribed by the Department.

      6. Has passed a practical test of EMT skills for EMT certification prescribed by the Department.

 

Advanced Emergency Medical Technician

  1. Roles and responsibilities. An AEMT performs basic and advanced EMS skills which include interventions and administration of medications and vaccines with basic and advanced equipment found on an EMS vehicle or within an AEMT’s scope of practice, as follows:

    1. For an EMS agency as a member of the crew of an ambulance or squad vehicle.

    2. For an EMS agency as a member of a QRS to stabilize and improve a patient’s condition in an out-of-hospital setting until an ambulance arrives. The AEMT may then assist the ambulance crew.

    3. As a member of a special operations EMS service.

    4. As a first aid or safety officer, or in a similar capacity, for or independent of an EMS agency. When serving in this capacity independent of an EMS agency, an AEMT does not function under the direction of an EMS agency medical director or a medical command physician. The AEMT shall perform skills as prescribed by applicable Statewide and regional EMS protocols and may not perform the following:

      1. Skills other than those permitted at the EMT level of care.

      2. A skill for which the EMT is required to secure medical command direction under those protocols.

  2. Certification. The Department will certify as an AEMT an individual who meets the following qualifications:

    1. Completes an application for AEMT certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

    2. Is 18 years of age or older.

    3. Has successfully completed one of the following:

      1. An EMS provider educational course for AEMTs.

      2. An EMS provider educational course for EMTs and education, through continuing education courses, in skills required in the scope of practice of an AEMT for which the applicant did not receive education in the EMT course.

      3. Has a current certificate evidencing successful completion of a CPR course acceptable to the Department.

      4. Has passed a written examination for AEMT certification prescribed by the Department.

      5. Has passed a practical test of AEMT skills for AEMT certification prescribed by the Department.

 

Paramedic

  1. Roles and responsibilities. A paramedic performs basic and advanced EMS skills which include interventions and administration of medications and vaccines with basic and advanced equipment found on an EMS vehicle found or within a paramedic’s scope of practice, as follows:

    1. For an EMS agency as a member of the crew of an ambulance or squad vehicle.

    2. For an EMS agency as a member of a QRS to stabilize and improve a patient’s condition in an out-of-hospital emergency until an ambulance arrives at the scene. The paramedic may then assist the ambulance crew.

    3. As a member of a special operations EMS service.

    4. As a first aid or safety officer, or in a similar capacity, for or independent of an EMS agency. When serving in this capacity independent of an EMS agency, a paramedic does not function under the direction of an EMS agency medical director or a medical command physician. The paramedic shall perform skills as prescribed by applicable Statewide and regional EMS protocols, and may not perform the following:

      1. Skills other than those permitted at the EMT level of care.

      2. A skill for which the EMT is required to secure medical command direction under those protocols.

  2. Certification. The Department will certify as a paramedic an individual who meets the following qualifications:

    1. Completes an application for paramedic certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

    2. Is certified as an EMT or an AEMT by the Department or possesses an equivalent certification issued by another state.

    3. Is 18 years of age or older.

    4. Has a high school diploma or its equivalent.

    5. Has successfully completed an EMS provider educational course for paramedics.

    6. Has a current certificate evidencing successful completion of a CPR course acceptable to the Department.

    7. Has passed a practical test of paramedic skills for paramedic certification approved by the Department.

    8. Has passed a written examination for paramedic certification approved by the Department.

 

Prehospital Registered Nurse (PHRN)

  1. Roles and responsibilities. A PHRN performs for an EMS agency basic and advanced EMS skills and additional skills within the scope of practice of a registered nurse under The Professional Nursing Law (63 P. S.§§ 211—225.5) as follows:

    1. As a member of the crew of an ambulance or squad vehicle.

    2. As a member of a QRS to stabilize and improve a patient’s condition in an out-of-hospital emergency until an ambulance arrives at the scene. The PHRN may then assist the ambulance crew.

    3. As a member of a special operations EMS service.

    4. As a first aid or safety officer, or in a similar capacity.

  2. Certification. The Department will certify as a PHRN an individual who meets the following qualifications:

    1. Completes an application for PHRN certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

    2. Has a current license as a registered nurse with the State Board of Nursing.

    3. Is 18 years of age or older.

    4. Has a current certificate evidencing successful completion of a CPR course acceptable to the Department.

    5. Has passed a practical test of PHRN skills for PHRN certification approved by the Department.

    6. Has passed a written test of PHRN skills for PHRN certification approved by the Department.

 

Prehospital Physician Extender (PHPE)

  1. Roles and responsibilities. A PHPE performs for an EMS agency basic and advanced EMS skills, and additional skills within the scope of practice of a physician assistant under the Medical Practice Act of 1985 (63 P. S.§§ 422.1—422.51a) or the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act (63 P. S. §§ 271.1—271.18), or a successor act, as follows:

    1. As a member of the crew of an ambulance or squad vehicle.

    2. As a member of a QRS to stabilize and improve a patient’s condition in an out-of-hospital emergency until an ambulance arrives at the scene. The PHPE may then assist the ambulance crew.

    3. As a member of a special operations EMS service.

    4. As a first aid or safety officer, or in a similar capacity.

  2. Certification. The Department will certify as a PHPE an individual who meets the following qualifications:

    1. Completes an application for PHPE certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

    2. Has a currently registered license as a physician assistant with the State Board of Medicine or the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

    3. Is 18 years of age or older.

    4. Has a current certificate evidencing successful completion of a CPR course acceptable to the Department.

    5. Has passed a practical test of PHPE skills for PHPE certification approved by the Department.

    6. Has passed a written test of PHPE skills for PHPE certification approved by the Department.

       

Prehospital EMS Physician (PHP)

  1. Roles and responsibilities. A PHP performs for an EMS agency basic and advanced EMS skills within the scope of practice of a physician under the Medical Practice Act of 1985 (63 P. S. §§ 422.1—422.51a) or the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act (63 P. S. §§ 271.1—271.18) as follows:

    1. As a member of the crew of an ambulance or squad vehicle.

    2. As a member of a QRS to stabilize and improve a patient’s condition in an out-of-hospital setting.

    3. As a member of a special operations EMS service.

    4. As a first aid or safety officer, or in a similar capacity.

  2. Certification. The Department will certify as a PHP a physician who meets the following qualifications:

    1. Completes an application for PHP certification on a form or through an electronic process, as prescribed by the Department.

    2. Has successfully completed one of the following:

      1. A residency program in emergency medicine accredited by a residency program accrediting body recognized by the State Board of Medicine or the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

        1. The first year of a residency program that satisfies the requirements in subparagraph (i) and the ACLS course, the ATLS course, the APLS or PALS course or, for each of these courses, a course that the Department determines meets or exceeds the requirements of the course.

      2. A residency program in anesthesia, general surgery, internal medicine or family medicine, by a residency program accrediting body recognized by the State Board of Medicine or the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, and the ACLS course, the ATLS course, the APLS or PALS course or, for each of these courses, a course that the Department determines meets or exceeds the requirements of the course.

    3. Has a current certificate evidencing successful completion of a CPR course acceptable to the Department.

    4. Has passed a practical test of EMS skills prescribed by the Department for a PHP or served as a prehospital health professional physician prior to October 12, 2013.

 

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