What are the steps to EMT certification?

This article is designed to be an overview of how to become a certified EMT.  The process will be explained chronologically so that it can be used as a check sheet to become a certified Santa Barbara County EMT. 

  1. Successfully complete authorized EMT course
  • Obtain 80% overall in class AND 80% on the final exam.
  • Obtain Course Completion Award (CCA) from UCSB.


  1. Register with the National Registry of EMTs at nremt.org Obtain your account. 
  • This can be done at any time however; we recommend you wait until the last four weeks of class.
  • EMT course instructor will verify course completion which allows you to take:
    • National Registry Practical Exam- This exam is held at UCSB the weekend after the final exam. While the practical can be taken anywhere, we HIGHLY recommend you take it at UCSB.
    • Cognitive Exam- This is a computer-based test and it is given through Pearson-Vue Testing Centers (vue.com) the closest sites are in Santa Maria or Westlake, CA. This exam can be taken before or after the practical exam.
  • National Registry Certification- Once you complete the cognitive and practical exams, you become nationally registered. This certification does NOT allow you to work as an EMT. You must become CA State licensed.


  1. Apply for your CA State License through Santa Barbara County Certification
  • The State of CA defers to all counties to certify EMTs.
  • Santa Barbara County Process: Obtain an application from SB County EMS Agency. http://www.countyofsb.org/ems.  Use this website for detailed step-by-step certification process.
  • Obtain Live Scan fingerprint analysis (must be done for the EMS agency where you are certifying)
  • Turn in application, have picture taken and obtain County certification.


  1. Apply for California Ambulance Certification
  • Obtain valid Class B Driver’s License.
  • Obtain application for Ambulance Driver’s Certificate.
  • Take written test
  • Obtain Live Scan for DMV
  • Obtain a medical exam and submit exam results to DMV.