Frequently Asked Questions
Emergency medical services and the credentialing process for providers is ever-changing. If you are unable to find the answers to your questions here, please feel free to contact us anytime.

What kind of work can I get with an EMT certification?

The majority of EMTs in Yakima County volunteer for their local fire department or search and rescue. Some become employed full-time as a firefighter/EMT or by private ambulance companies. There are also EMTs working in law enforcement.

Employment in a doctor’s office or hospital emergency department is not considered “pre-hospital care,” and therefore, will not qualify you for EMT certification. However, many individuals work full-time in clinical settings and volunteer with a fire department or other EMS organization in order to keep their EMT certification current.

What are the requirements needed to enter an EMT course?

  • To take an EMT course from Yakima County, you must be affiliated with a prehospital EMS agency.
  • At least 17 years old when course begins
  • High School Diploma or GED at the beginning of course
  • Copy of a driver’s license or other photo identification
  • NIMS certification IS 100.b, IS 200.b, IS 700.a, & IS 800.b
  • Health insurance that covers the student
  • Professional liability insurance that covers the student
  • WSP Background Check within the last 10
  • Drug Screening by Certified Lab within the last year
  • Current CPR-BLS for Healthcare Provider or equivalent credential (a class is offered before the course starts for those who need it). An AHA Heartsaver course is not equivalent.
  • Vaccination Requirements
    • 2 MMR Vaccine or a Rubella/Rubeola/Mumps titer
    • Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
    • Tuberculosis – 1 Step within the last year
    • Proof of current Hepatitis B vaccination
    • Tetanus
    • Flu vaccine is recommended but not required

What are EMT certification requirements?

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Copy of a driver’s license or other photo identification
  • Current CPR-BLS for Healthcare Provider or equivalent credential.
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Successful completion of a Washington State DOH approved initial EMT course (course completion certificate needed)
  • Successful completion of the National Registry EMT exam
  • Affiliation with a Washington State DOH approved agency

Where can I get an EMT class?

We currently offer one EMT course per year, which starts in January. The course is designed primarily for members of Yakima County fire agencies and others affiliated with pre-hospital care providers.
If you are currently a member of a Yakima County fire agency, contact your department’s Training Officer for information regarding future EMT courses with the Yakima County Department of Emergency Medical Services.

Application for EMT Training

Where do I get continuing education classes to keep my EMT certification current?

The Yakima County Department of Emergency Medical Services has a DOH approved Ongoing Training & Evaluation Program (OTEP). The yearly requirements are six (6) didactic modules that may be completed either on-line or at one of the fire agencies and three (3) hands-on skill workshops. All 3 workshops are offered at least once at each fire district/agency throughout the year. There are make-up skills workshops offered throughout the year.

Please note: No more than 2 workshops may be completed in a single day.  The workshops are open to all Yakima County EMS providers, unless otherwise specified by the fire district or agency. Washington State recertification requirements are consistently met by the Ongoing Training & Evaluation Program.

Calendar of OTEP & EMT courses

Is there a certification level between EMT and Paramedic in Washington State?

Advanced EMT

How do I know when I need to recertify?

Look on your certification card for the expiration date. You may start the process 3 months in advance. If you have questions, please contact the EMS office by email at

What if I lose my certification card?

Washington State Department of Health -
Customer Service - 360-236-4700

What are the prerequisites to become certified as a Paramedic?

You need to contact the paramedic program in order to determine the necessary requirements.

Washington State-approved colleges:

How long does the EMT-Paramedic course last?

The average length of times is 2 years, which includes class time and field time.

Who do I contact about the Paramedic course?

Washington State-approved colleges:

Why has the fire department historically responded to calls for medical aid?

Fire departments have been responding to aid calls for nearly 30 years. The reason for this is those fire departments are strategically located throughout your community and therefore have a very quick response time. In addition, local fire departments typically only respond to local medical aid calls whereas local ambulance services respond to calls all over Yakima County. This means that the availability of local ambulance services varies from day to day, hour to hour and at times are all busy with other calls, but you will still have your fire department to respond to you when help is needed. A typical medical call requires a significant level of manpower to properly manage. For example, there are patient care tasks (taking vital signs, providing for patient comfort, or chest compressions), there is information to be collected (patient medications list, past medical history, and recent events or complaints), lifting and extrication, scene safety concerns, and special rescue to name a few. For all of these reasons the local fire department plays a key role in the success of a medical aid call.

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