More than one path exists to becoming an EMS Educator. One approach involves pursuing a degree in education that includes the study of educational theory and methodology. Another approach is experiential in focus and includes some training in teaching methodologies.
Those who take the experiential approach usually start as a CPR or First Aid instructor or begin with teaching components of a particular EMS subject in which they have a strong base of knowledge. As their presentation skills are honed and they become more proficient in their teaching abilities, they may progress to harder subjects, and teach higher training levels.
A typical path for EMS educators may begin as an assistant filling in for the primary instructor. With experience, they may serve as a secondary instructor teaching sections in which they have developed an interest and expertise. They might then be placed in a clinical preceptor position where they monitor students’ field activities. With more experience, they could move into the role of Clinical Coordinator, overseeing an entire class, assigning preceptors, and monitoring students’ progress. Many EMS education programs appoint a Lead Instructor to guide the students’ overall educational experience, ensuring that students are provided with the tools needed to achieve success in becoming a certified practitioner and on the job.
Consider becoming an instructor for one or more of NAEMT's education progams. Visit the Continuing Education section for more information.
The National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) also offers a credentialing examination for seasoned veteran instructors called the National EMS Educator Certification (NEMSEC) exam. The exam is designed to assess the knowledge and skills associated with competent, relevant and structurally sound educational processes. Upon successful completion of the competency level exam, the educator is certified as a Nationally Certified EMS Educator (NCEE). There are currently almost 200 NCEEs nationwide. Several states now recognize this credential as an acceptable process equivalent to their approved state process.
Steps to becoming an EMS educator:
Whether you choose a formal or informal process, or a combination of the two, here are some helpful suggestions you may consider:
- Attend college, focusing on a degree program in education.
- Contact your state EMS regulatory office and find out what criteria is required for your state.
- Seek mentoring and coaching by a seasoned veteran whom you respect.
- Join societies and groups that focus on educators. NAEMSE is one specifically for EMS Educators.
- Volunteer for committees and associations in your state that focus on EMS and education.
- Volunteer to serve as a mock victim or patient during drills and training exercises.
- Attend conferences and symposia.
- Search the internet. Many colleges and universities have sites specifically focused on professional development of educators and much of this content is available to the public.
- Download and read the 2002 National Guidelines for Educating EMS Instructors from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).