EMT and Paramedic Information

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is an exciting field within public safety which allows people to provide pre-hospital emergency medical care to ill or injured patients, frequently on ambulances.  Once arriving on the scene, trained EMS providers can then deliver lifesaving care and treatment to help those in their time of need.  The field of emergency medical services provides many employment opportunities on ambulances, hospitals, and also in the fire service.  In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issues licenses to individuals who have successfully completed EMT or paramedic training and fulfill all testing and background requirements. 


Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT)

Becoming an EMT-B is the initial training for a lifelong exciting and satisfying career in healthcare and/or public safety.

EMTs provide basic pre-hospital care to ill and injured patients.  EMTs are trained to assess vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing), provide CPR, operate an automated external defibrillator (AED), deliver oxygen to patients, bandage wounds, splint injured limbs, and assess a patient’s medical condition through a series of questions.  This level of licensure is the entry level into the exciting field of EMS.

The EMT-Basic license is the first level of training in the field of EMS.  The EMT-Basic course is typically a one semester course which is offered at various training institutions throughout Illinois such as community colleges and hospitals.  Typical requirements to enroll in an EMT program include:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Ability to read/comprehend at a college level

Other requirements vary depending upon the institution providing the EMT program.

An EMT-Basic license is NOT REQUIRED prior to employment as a Candidate Firefighter-EMT with the Chicago Fire Department and EMT-Basic training will be provided in the Chicago Fire Academy if hired.

Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (Paramedic)

Paramedics can provide all the same care as an EMT and have completed the EMT training program.  However, they also receive advanced training which allows them to intubate (which protects the airway to breath for a patient), defibrillate patients in cardiac arrest (deliver electricity to a non-beating heart), administer medications, and gain a greater understanding of anatomy (the structure of the human body) and physiology (how the body works).  A paramedic student also undergoes extensive clinical experience in the hospital setting and ride experience on ambulances for field experience.  The paramedic license is the highest level of training a pre-hospital provider healthcare provider can achieve.

  • General requirements for acceptance into many paramedic programs include:
  • Current Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) EMT-Basic licensure
  • Current Healthcare Provider level CPR certification
  • Letter from employer/supervisor verifying experience as an EMT-Basic (recommended 6 months minimum/varies by program)
  • Letters of recommendation outlining strengths and character
  • Background check (upon qualifying for acceptance into a program)
  • Immunization Verification with blood titer lab results (upon acceptance into a program)
  • Personal Health Insurance (upon acceptance into a program)

Other requirements vary depending upon the institution providing the paramedic program.

Current IDPH EMT-Paramedic License IS REQUIRED at time of application to be considered for employment as a Candidate Paramedic.

EMT-Paramedic licensure with IDPH through reciprocity is possible for those who have served in the United States Armed Forces and those who hold equivalent license/certification in other jurisdictions:


Military Medic Reciprocity Information

Military Medic Reciprocity Application


Out of State Reciprocity Information

Out of State Reciprocity Application


Some EMS Statistics

As of March 2017, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports the following number of EMS related licenses:

EMT-Basic 20,334

EMT-Paramedic 15,590


EMT and Paramedic Programs in or near the greater Chicagoland area

Please note that these lists are not all inclusive of every educational institution which offers EMT or Paramedic programs.  This list simply represents a sampling of facilities which are geographically close to the city of Chicago.

The City of Chicago does not endorse one program over others in recommendation or in hiring preferences.


Chicago Police and Firefighter Training Academy (CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ONLY)

Malcolm X College (Chicago, IL)

Loyola Hospital (Maywood, IL)

Christ Hospital/Moraine Valley (Oak Lawn, IL)

Edward Hospital/College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL)

Triton College (River Grove, IL)


Malcolm X College (Chicago, IL)

Loyola Hospital (Maywood, IL)

Christ Hospital/ Moraine Valley (Oak Lawn, IL)

St. Francis Hospital/Oakton College (Evanston, IL)

Edward Hospital/College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL)

Supporting Information Facts


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