How to become an Emergency Medical Services provider in Virginia

This page is designed to provide information to those seeking to become an emergency medical services provider in Virginia.

If you encounter any difficulties viewing information on this page, or have any questions, comments or suggestions related to information on this page, please send an email to Warren Short. We appreciate your feedback.


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Those who currently do not hold an EMS certification nationally or in another state.

Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs provide basic emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possess the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient care and transportation. Emergency Medical Technicians function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Emergency Medical Technicians perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance. The Emergency Medical Technician is a link from the scene to the emergency health care system. The process of becoming an EMT in Virginia requires the following:

  • Be proficient in reading, writing and speaking the English language.
  • Be a minimum of 16 years of age at the beginning date of the EMT course. If you are less than 18 years of age, you must provide your instructor with a completed parental permission form with the signature of a parent or guardian verifying approval for enrollment in the course.
  • Have no physical or mental impairment that would render you unable to perform all practical skills required at the EMT level.
  • Hold current certification in an Office of Emergency Medical Services approved cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course at the beginning date of the EMT course. This certification must also be current at the time of state testing.
  • Not have been convicted of or found guilty of any crime, offense or regulatory violation, or participated in any other prohibited conduct identified in state EMS regulation 12VAC5-31-910.
  • Be clean and neat in appearance.
  • May not be under the influence of any drugs or intoxicating substances that impairs your ability to provide patient care or operate a motor vehicle while in class or performing clinicals, while on duty or when responding or assisting in the care of a patient.

Next step, Find a Course.


Those who hold a current National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) Credential.

The Office of Emergency Medical Services recognizes all current National Registry certifications for reciprocity.

Anyone who is coming into Virginia’s EMS system with a current National Registry certification will be required to complete an Application for Reciprocity and mail copies of EMS credentials to the Division of Educational Development of the Office of EMS.

For a reciprocity application package, please click here.

For questions about reciprocity email Ms. Twyman.


Those who hold a current EMS credential from another state.

The Virginia Office of EMS will accept and consider application from providers with current EMS certifications from ANY state or U.S. territory for certification in Virginia at the EMT level only through Legal Recognition. Once granted, certification through Legal Recognition will be valid for a maximum of one calendar year OR the time left on the present certification, whichever is shortest.

Candidates for Legal Recognition must complete an application and mail copies of EMS credentials to the Division of Educational Development of the Office of EMS.

No initial test is required for Legal Recognition. In order to recertify, providers must complete the required Virginia EMS continuing education criteria prior to their certification expiration date and successfully pass the Virginia practical and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians cognitive examination.

For a Legal Recognition application package, please click here.

For questions about legal recognition email Ms. Twyman.


For those who are LPNs, RNs, Physician’s Assistants (PAs) and Military Corpsmen.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), Physician’s Assistants (PAs) and Military Corpsmen can request to challenge the EMT certification exam. Candidates must complete the 40-hour EMT recertification requirements and pass the National Registry cognitive examination and Virginia practical examination.

Candidates for challenge must complete an application and mail copies of their professional credential mentioned above to the Division of Educational Development of the Office of EMS. Upon approval for challenge eligibility, the Office of EMS will assign the applicant an alpha-numeric Virginia EMS number. Acquiring the required 40 hours can then begin using the assigned number to submit the training hours to our office.

For a challenge application package, please click here.

For questions about challenges email Ms. Twyman.


At any point in Becoming an EMT should you require assistance or have any questions you can contact the Division of Educational Development at 804-888-9120 or 800-523-6019 (VA only).