Many people don’t realize one of the critical functions the Department performs is certifying Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), including Paramedics. Our Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System currently certifies hundreds of new EMT’s and Paramedics each year, helping ensure that Arizona’s Fire Departments and ambulance companies have sufficient staff that are properly trained and ready to spring into action when a crisis happens. Most people don’t think about it until they need help, but our EMS Bureau is a critical part of the public health system.
Over the last year and half, there’s been a lot of discussion about adding another Paramedic certification pathway to augment the existing method which uses the National Registry of EMT’s. Currently, the statutes related to this are vague and our Rules require that those seeking to be EMTs use the National Registry of EMT’s for their certification.
We’ve been working with stakeholders to explore the possibility of opening up this process to allow for another option for Paramedic Certification. We don’t see any reason to stay on the single track if another verifiable and validated process exists and there is no added financial burden to the Department.
It will be really important to move this issue from the drawing table to putting a plan in place in the next couple of months. Legislation has to be considered, internal procedures need to be modified as many parts of EMT training, testing and certification are changing in the next year or so. We’re working with our EMS stakeholders to help outline these changes and we look forward to achieving some needed updates during the next Legislative session.
I would be very intereted to know what ideas you have on which agencies might offer an alternative pathway to EMT/Paramedic certification. This is a critical issue to EMS in Arizona and has implications to cities and pre-hospital care providers.
Your question gets right to the heart of the issue. The Department has opened up a dialogue with EMS stakeholder groups to update our EMS Statutes. Because there has been considerable discussion on the need for an alternate certification pathway for paramedics, we feel that this should be a component of the discussion. From my perspective we need to ensure that there is a consistent, minimum standard that each paramedic candidate meets before they are allowed to practice in Arizona. Right now, that standard serves as the basis for the National Registry of EMTs testing and certification process. Ensuring that all EMS personnel across the state have satisfactorily met the same standard is of primary importance. Both the Medical Direction Commission and Emergency Medical Services Council are statutory committees appointed by the Governor and charged with offering advice to the Department. These two groups are representative of the State as a whole and all the disciplines involved in our EMS system. Those committees should play a lead role in determining whether any alternate pathway under consideration meets those standards.
I am an active NREMT- Paramedic in NJ. I am considering a move to Az and would like to know what is required by State Regulation to become a working Paramedic in Az. I live in NJ and I am currently employed as a Medic. I am a NREMT-P, NJ/ NJ State Certified MICU Paramedic. I am employed in a Hospital Based Organization where I work full-time on a MICU.
Please visit our EMS webpage for certification details.