students intubating a practice mannequin.

The Emergency Medical Technician — EMT class at Carl Sandburg College is an entry-level course in the field of emergency medical services (EMS). The course helps students recognize illnesses and injuries and learn proper emergency care procedures, including an appropriate plan of treatment within the limitations of basic life-support practices using pre-hospital patient care and rescue equipment. The roles, responsibilities and skills required by state and national standards are defined. 

The role of EMT as defined by NREMT is: 

  • Function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, community, health or public safety system with defined clinical protocols and medical oversight.
  • Perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance to manage life threats, medical and psychological needs.
  • Are an important link within the continuum of the emergency care system from an out-of-hospital response through the delivery of patients to definitive care.

The student will develop skills to provide basic emergency care, communication and interpersonal relationships, handling and positioning, documentation, transportation methods, and extrication of the critically ill and injured person. This course includes 120 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction plus 16 hours of clinical in-hospital experience. Upon completion of this course, you're eligible to take the Illinois EMT licensure exam, which is required for employment as an EMT. 

A health evaluation, negative drug screening and clear background check are required for participation in clinical site activities. All students must participate in clinical site activities for the successful completion of the course.

Most clinical sites require vaccination against COVID-19. You should check with your program coordinator for more details.


Pathways to other programs

Students who complete the EMT course may apply to our other health programs.

Medical Assisting

Practical Nursing — LPN

Associate Degree Nursing — RN


EMS.101 is an open-enrollment course. You must be 18 years of age to enroll in the course.

Findings on the criminal background check and drug screen may void conditional admission and prevent entrance to the program. Findings on the physical examination and drug screen may prevent placement at the clinical sites. If a you're unable to participate in and/or complete clinical/practicum/internship courses required for the program due to a positive drug test which includes marijuana, you are not eligible for a refund of any tuition, fees or other expenses incurred while preparing for admission into the program and while enrolled in the program. 

Career and technical programs/courses are offered without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or status in any group protected by applicable federal, state or local law. For more information, contact the Title IX coordinator at 309.341.5258 or the ADA/504 coordinator at 309.341.5262.

For additional information contact:
The Welcome Center


Graduates gain employment primarily with ambulance services, fire departments, helicopter flight crews and hospitals. It is projected that the employment of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics will grow 24% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Emergencies, such as car crashes, natural disasters and acts of violence will continue to create demand for EMTs and paramedics. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Potential careers:

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

Ambulance drivers and attendants (except emergency medical technicians)

Lifeguards, ski patrol and other recreational protective service workers


Working conditions

EMTs work all shifts ranging from 12-24 hours per shift, weekends and holidays. Their work is physically strenuous and can be stressful, sometimes involving life-or-death situations. The EMT provides direct patient care and must be able to obtain the knowledge (cognitive function), skills (psychomotor function) and demonstrate professionalism (affective function). 


In your area, people working as


typically make


Learn more.

Estimated cost

View the EMT course cost sheet.



To apply for financial aid, visit our financial aid page for more information.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) helps job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Contact the local office to see if you qualify for financial support. 

  • Hancock County | 550 N. Madison St. | Carthage, IL | 217.357.6749      
  • Warren/Henderson County |1025 S. 2nd St | Monmouth, IL | 309.734.4745
  • Knox County Bondi Building | 311 E. Main, Suite 612 | Galesburg, IL | 309.343.9832               
  • McDonough County | 440 N. Lafayette | Macomb, IL | 309.837.1280


Thanks to our generous donors, the Carl Sandburg College Foundation is able to award more than $100,000 each year in scholarship dollars to Sandburg students. High school, adult learners, and returning students — everyone is eligible to apply between October 1 and March 15 for the upcoming year.

Sandburg EMT program goals adopted from NREMT EMT education standards:

  1. Applies fundamental knowledge of the EMS system, safety/well-being of the EMT, and medical/legal and ethical issues to the provision of emergency care.
  1. Uses foundational anatomical and medical terms and abbreviations in written and oral communication with colleagues and other healthcare professionals.
  1. Applies fundamental knowledge of the pathophysiology of respiration and perfusion to patient assessment and management.

  2. Applies fundamental knowledge of life-span development to patient assessment and management.
  1. Uses simple knowledge of the principles of illness and injury prevention in emergency care.

  2. Applies fundamental knowledge of the medications the EMT may assist/administer to a patient during an emergency.

  3. Applies knowledge (fundamental depth, foundational breadth) of anatomy and physiology to patient assessment and management to assure a patient airway, adequate mechanical ventilation and respiration for patients of all ages.

  4. Applies scene information and patient assessment findings (scene size-up, primary and secondary assessment, patient history, reassessment) to guide emergency management.
  1. Applies fundamental knowledge to provide basic emergency care and transportation based on assessment findings for an acutely ill patient.

  2. Applies fundamental knowledge to provide basic emergency care and transportation based on assessment findings for an acutely injured patient.

  3. Applies a fundamental knowledge of growth, development, aging and assessment findings to provide basic emergency care and transportation for a patient with special needs.

  4. Knowledge of operational roles and responsibilities to ensure patient, public and personnel safety. 

View a sample schedule for EMT course.


Courses in this program are offered face-to-face in the classroom and through practicum experiences.



Sandburg offers courses in a variety of formats to best fit the needs of our students. To determine the formats for specific courses, please refer to our course schedule.

Regardless of the course format, you should have access to a reliable computer with broadband (high-speed) internet. All courses use online resources and require students to access course information through mySandburg. Accessing courses through a phone is discouraged. Both campuses have open computer labs for student use.

View class formats.

Frequently asked questions

How does the clinical part of the course work?

EMT students will be required to complete 16 hours total of clinical/field during the 16-week semester. You must successfully finish both the class and the clinical/field hours during the 16-week semester to finish the class and be eligible to take the certification test. You choose the times and dates for your clinical hours. The instructor will give you all of the contact information and serves as the liaison, but you are ultimately responsible for making sure you complete your hours and contacts.

What additional supplies are required for the course?

You must purchase the red polo shirt with the EMS college logo from the Carl Sandburg College bookstore. The approximate cost is $35. Students can wear dark navy (not denim) pants. This outfit is worn during their clinical hours off site. Stethoscope, penlight, trauma shears and a watch for your second hand are optional, but if you plan to continue to the paramedic program, these supplies can be used for that program as well.


The EMT basic course is approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

IDPH Springfield Headquarters Office
525-535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL  62761

EMT Training Division


Graduates from the Carl Sandburg Emergency Medical Technician basic program and the Paramedic Program are eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam. Once you have passed the written and psychomotor portions of the exam, you will be eligible for licensure in any state within the 50 United States. All states require you to apply for state licensure along with the National Registry License. Once state licensure is obtained, you may serve in the state from which you obtained licensure.

Graduates will be eligible to take the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) EMT-B licensure exam or the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) EMT-B Exam.