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EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) Program

The School of EMS offers several course options for students interested in becoming emergency medical technicians.

Overview of Courses Offered Each Year

The School of EMS conducts three EMT courses a year.

  • Spring course: January through May, Monday and Wednesday from 6pm – 10pm.
  • Summer course: June through July, Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm.
  • Fall course: August through December, Monday and Wednesday from 6pm – 10pm.

Course Details

  • Course Tuition: $750
  • Textbook: $125


Videoconferencing for the EMT course is available to interested communities. Please call 605-322-2086 for more information.

Why Do People Take the EMT Course?

  • Students take the EMT course for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common are:
  • To serve their local communities as volunteer EMTs
  • To meet the prerequisite requirements for becoming a paramedic
  • To meet the prerequisite requirements for becoming a firefighter
  • To explore the medical profession
  • Other healthcare providers want to supplement their knowledge, i.e. nurses, athletic trainers, physical therapists
  • It's great knowledge to have!

Frequently Asked Questions

People have many common questions about EMTs. This guide offers some answers but if you still have questions please call us at 605-322-2086.

What are EMTs and what do they do?


Prior to the late 1960’s, a person calling an ambulance received very different care than today. Often funeral homes operated ambulance services, and the responders had little or no training in emergency procedures. The patient, therefore, was merely given a fast ride to the hospital.

In contrast to the ambulance drivers of previous years, the goal of today’s Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) is to bring the emergency department to you. It is recognized that the majority of prehospital emergency medical care will be provided by the EMT Basic.

The Emergency Medical Technician Basic course provides the first phase of training in prehospital medicine. It includes all skills necessary for the individual to provide emergency medical care at a Basic Life Support (BLS) level with an ambulance service or other specialized service. Specifically, after successful completion of the program, the student will be capable of performing the following skills:

  • Recognize the nature and seriousness of the patient's condition or extent of injuries to assess requirements for emergency medical care;
  • Administer appropriate emergency medical care based on assessment findings of the patient's condition;
  • Lift, move, position and otherwise handle the patient to minimize discomfort and prevent further injury; and,
  • Perform safely and effectively the expectations of the EMT job description.

The Avera McKennan EMT program exceeds the EMT National Standard Curriculum consisting of 150 hours of class time including lectures, practical skills laboratory, and hospital emergency department or ambulance service observation. Upon completion of the program, graduates are awarded a certificate of graduation and are eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Written and Practical Examination.

What are the prerequisites for the EMT class?


  • Pre-requisite: Must be 18 years of age to be eligible for the National Registry Exam.
  • Co-requisite: CPR for the Healthcare Provider Certification (this class is offered during the EMT course)

Do I need any medical experience?


The EMT course is an entry-level course that is designed for people with no previous medical experience, and minimal knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

Can I get a job as an EMT?


Most EMTs in South Dakota are volunteers for their local ambulance service, and receive little or no compensation for their work. Some paid services, however, do hire EMTs. EMTs may also find work in other businesses, such as hospitals, detoxification centers, and industrial health and safety offices.

Most people that choose Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a career decide to continue on to paramedic school.

    Contact the School of EMS

    Have a question or need more information? Call us at 605-322-2086, contact us online or find location and mailing details.

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    Save the Date!

    2017 EMS Refresher Conference

    January 26 - 28, 2017, 0800-1700

    • Preconference PHTLS Refresher January 25, 0800-1700
    • CPR Renewal January 26, 1800-1900
    • ACLS Renewal January 26, 1800-2200
    • PALS Renewal January 27, 1800-2200

    Registration will open in December.

    Registration Info

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