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Three medical professionals standing behind an ambulance with its doors open


A Life Saving Job

Welcome to the Southwestern College Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Program. We developed this site to help answer some frequently asked questions and provide resources for students, staff and the EMS community. Use the navigation links below,or the plus (+) sign above, to find the information you need.

The goal of the Southwestern College EMT Program is “To prepare competent entry-level EMTs in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains with or without exit points at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Technician, and/or Emergency Medical Responder levels.”

Upon satisfactory completion of the courses, the student is eligible for a Southwestern College Certificate of Completion and examination for California Certification.


EMTs and paramedics typically do the following:

  • Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical assistance, such as
    cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or bandaging a wound
  • Assess a patient’s condition and determine a course of treatment
    Follow guidelines that they learned in training and that they receive from
    physicians who oversee their work
  • Use backboards and restraints to keep patients still and safe in an ambulance
    for transport
  • Help transfer patients to the emergency department of a healthcare facility
    and report their observations and treatment to the staff
  • Create a patient care report; documenting the medical care they gave the
  • Replace used supplies and check or clean equipment after use

EMTs also take patients from one medical facility to another. Some patients may need to be transferred to a hospital that specializes in treating their injury or illness or to a facility that provides long-term care, such as a nursing home.

If a patient has a contagious disease, EMTs decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and may need to report these cases to the proper authorities.

The specific responsibilities EMTs depend on their level of training and the state they work in. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) provides national certification of EMTs and paramedics at four levels: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate (which has two levels, respectively called 1985 and 1999), and Paramedic.

Paramedics provide more extensive pre-hospital care than do EMTs. In addition to carrying out the procedures that EMTs use, paramedics can give medications orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs)—used to monitor heart function—and use other monitors and complex equipment.

Becoming an EMT

There are three basic steps to becoming an Emergency Medical Technician:

  1. First Semester:EMT 101 and 109
    • First Responder/Emergency Medical Responder (4 units)
  2. Second Semester:EMT 113 and 113L 
    • EMT Basic (8 units)
  3. National Registry of EMTs practical skills and written exams 

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EMS Links

EMS/Governing Agencies

  • California EMS Authority
  • National Registry for EMTs
  • National Association of EMTs
  • CoSD LEMSIS Licensing Portal

EMS Resources

  • AMR Employee Homepage
  • Rural Metro

Medical Reference

  • PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
  • Emergency Medicine BBS

College Resources

  • CPR/ACLS Training at SWC CPR classes (619) 429-1669

Degrees/Certificates Available