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How to become a Boston EMS EMT

How to become a Boston EMS EMT

Are you interested in a rewarding and challenging career as an Emergency Medical Technician?


Take an EMT Course

If you are not yet certified as an EMT, there are many accredited courses you can take, including an in-house EMT-Basic training that we offer twice every year.

The Boston EMS EMT-Basic Course is $750 and lasts for six months, with classes every Tuesday and Thursday  from 7 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., as well as every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

One class starts in mid-January and the second in mid-August. We open up with registration on June and November 15 each year.

Classes typically fill up within two to three days. After registration, you need to make an payment right away to secure your spot.

There are no requirements for taking the course. We post notices about course registration on our Facebook page.


Get your EMT Certification

All Boston EMS EMT candidates must already have a valid Massachusetts EMT certification.

Visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Emergency Medical Services website. You can find more information on getting certification.

Are certified with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians? You still must apply for the Massachusetts EMT certification.

You are required to have your Massachusetts EMT certification card in-hand to take the pre-employment written exam.


Other Requirements

Before you can apply, you must have a valid driver’s license. You need to present your driver’s license. You’ll also need to provide an unattested registry of motor vehicles driving record from the state where you live within the last 30 days.

You can’t have, within the last three years, three or more:

  • moving violations
  • citations
  • suspensions, or
  • accidents assessed as a surcharge.

You also can’t have, within the last five years from the date of the written exam, any driving to endanger or operating under the influence violations, citations, or suspensions.

Please note: You need to become a Boston resident within six months of us hiring you.


Before you get started

Boston EMS hires EMTs on an as needed basis, usually once or twice per year. All new hires are placed in a six-month, full-time paid recruit academy. You need to complete the academy to get promoted from EMT-Recruit to department EMT.

We base the size of the academy on current and projected vacancies, usually including about 25 candidates. We don’t have pre-set hiring dates. All hiring notices are made on the department’s facebook page.


Apply and study for the exams

Complete an EMT application on the Boston Public Health Commission’s website. Please remember, we only take EMT applications when the department is hiring.

After you submit your application, you’ll get a message within one- to two-business days outlining the next steps. This includes exam and study review dates.

You will be required to pass both a written and practical examination. We base the exams on the current Massachusetts EMS EMT Prehospital Treatment Protocols, and current editions of standard Basic EMT curriculum.

We usually schedule exam review sessions on weekday evenings and weekend days. They aren’t mandatory, but we’ve found that many applicants who attend all of the review sessions often pass the exams.

We typically schedule reviews while we’re still taking applications. We encourage anyone considering applying to do so right away after the hiring notice is posted, so that you can attend all sessions.


Take the written exam

The written exam is mandatory — there are no options for alternate dates or retaking the test.

You must arrive at the testing site with:

  1. your valid Massachusetts EMT certification card
  2. your driver’s license, and
  3. a current driving record from your state of residence.

If you score a 70 percent or higher on the written exam, you will move on to take the practical exam.


And then take the practical exam

If you pass the written exam, you will move on to take a practical exam. The practical exam tests 3 primary skills:

  • Basic Trauma Assessment: You have 10 minutes to assess, treat, and manage the transport of a patient with a traumatic injury.
  • Basic Medical Assessment: You have 10 minutes to assess, treat, and manage the transport of a patient with a medical illness.
  • Patient Lift and Carry: You have to perform multiple lifting and carrying scenarios. This includes climbing three flights of stairs with equipment, and then carrying a 200-pound weighted mannequin down two flights of stairs with a stair-chair device and the help of a partner.

Candidates must pass all three stations, although there will be an opportunity to retest a single station at the conclusion of the practical exam.


Interview with Us

If you pass and complete both the written and practical exams, we will contact you about scheduling an interview. We usually schedule interviews in the week right after the practical test.

We make offers for employment soon after the interviews, but the offers are also subject to the results of pre-employment screening.


Then get a pre-employment screening

After we finish with interviews, the candidates we pick continue on to pre-employment screening, which includes:

  • a medical and physical examination,
  • a drug and alcohol screening,
  • a background investigation, and
  • a Criminal Offense Records Investigation report.

It can take a few weeks for us to receive the screening results. We will notify you two weeks before the academy starts if you are selected for the recruit academy.

During the two weeks before your first day, we will advise you to pick up your EMT-Recruit uniform.

The entire process, from the date we first take applications to the start of the Boston EMS Recruit Academy, takes about 12- to 13-weeks.


And join the Boston EMS Recruit Academy

The Boston Emergency Medical Services Recruit Academy consists of classroom and field components, lasting six months. We created a page to help guide you through what happens at the academy.

Need to Know:

Find out about the benefits of working for Boston EMS, and the what happens at the Boston EMS Recruit Academy.

Emergency Medical Services
785 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118
United States
Who is eligible?

There are a few important requirements you need to meet before you can apply to work with us:

  • You must be a certified Massachusetts Emergency Medical Technician.
  • You must have a valid driver's license. Applicants with a poor driving record may be disqualified.
Still have questions?

If you have questions about hiring, the pre-employment screening, and exams, contact  the Training Division at or 617-343-1125.

When do we hire?

Boston EMS hires EMTs when we need them, usually once or twice per year. All new hires are placed in a six-month, full-time paid recruit academy. You need to complete the academy to get promoted from EMT-Recruit to department EMT.

We base the size of the academy on current and projected vacancies. We don’t have pre-set hiring dates — all hiring notices are made on our department’s Facebook page.