Information on VEMSES Knowledge Competency Exam Requirement


This page has been posted to provide Virginia Instructors and ALS Coordinators with information about the timeline that the Office of EMS will use in regard to the implementation of the Virginia EMS Educational Standards (VEMSES), EMS Certification testing and the required VEMSES Knowledge Competency Exam.

The Division of Educational Development (DED) has been presenting information regarding the new Education Standards in EMS Instructor Updates and ALS-Coordinators meeting since the first draft came out over two years ago.

At its November 10, 2010 quarterly meeting the, Governor’s EMS Advisory Board approved the Education and Certification Examination Content Timeline.  The timeline details when Virginia will begin testing the VEMSES as well as phase out the old National Standard Curriculum (NSC) based exams.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Initial programs and certification level nomenclature will change to the following with the approval of the proposed regulations:
  • First Responder will become Emergency Medical Responder
  • EMT- Basic will become Emergency Medical Technician
  • EMT-Enhanced will become Advanced Emergency Medical Technician
  • EMT-Intermediate will becomeIntermediate
  • EMT-Paramedic will become Paramedic
  • Students in initial courses with an end date PRIOR TO and current providers who begin the recertification testing process BEFORE July 1, 2012 will be tested on the National Standard Curricula.
  • Students in initial courses with an end date AFTER and current providers who begin the recertification testing process AFTER June 30, 2012 or will be tested on the new Education Standards.
  • Students/providers who fail at any point during the testing process will continue to test under the same testing method/series they began until they either successfully certify or exhaust all testing opportunities.



The VEMSES Knowledge Competency process for current EMT Instructors and ALS-Coordinators has been put into place to ensure the continued competence of the Educators in Virginia in initial and continuing education training programs.

The process is as follows:

  • All certified EMT-Instructors must take the VEMSES Knowledge Competency Exam in order to announce, coordinate and teach BLS initial programs that end after July 1, 2012.

(Instructor/Coordinators who have passed the EMT-Instructor pretest since February 15, 2010 have already met this requirement and will not need to retake the exam)

  • Providers who possess only the ALS-Coordinator endorsement (i.e. do not also possess certification as an EMT-Instructor)have the option to take the exam, however, in order to announce and coordinate any ALS initial training programs that end after July 1, 2012, they will be required to pass the VEMSES Knowledge Competency Exam. If an ALS Coordinator chooses not to take the exam, they may continue to announce and coordinate ALS CE programs and “merit-badge” courses only.
  • EMT Instructors/ALS Coordinators will have 4 attempts to pass the exam.

The VEMSES Knowledge Competency Exam is based on content found in the following documents:

When reviewing these documents, be sure to view the information under EMR as well, since frequently the NEMSES states “EMR Material PLUS:” To review more information in the content areas in the NEMSES, you can review three other documents:

These documents list all areas that were utilized for question development. In order to be successful on the exam, the candidate should be familiar with the depth and breadth of the topics listed in the VEMSES.

The exam consists of 155 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer/discussion questions.  All questions are at the EMT level and reflect the content found in the above documents.  Of the 155 multiple choice questions, approximately 125 of the questions were taken from the Virginia written EMT certification examinations utilized between 1990 and 1994.  The short answer/discussion questions reflect primarily on the material that was not in the 1994 National Standard Curriculum.

Instructors/Coordinators may schedule to take the VEMSES Exam at any Regional Consolidated Test Site (CTS), or at special sites that have been established by the Office of EMS. Consult the EMS Instructor Update Schedule for information on the special dates.

In order to be admitted to the Test Site, Instructors/Coordinators must e-mail and request a Letter of Eligibility (LOE) from Greg Neiman, BLS Training Specialist.

Further questions or concerns should be directed to Greg Neiman, BLS Training Specialist. Greg can be reached via e-mail here: