EMT Certification: Are the Clinical Hours Worth the Cost?

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Session 196

Joe is trying to decide between working as a tech in an ER or becoming an EMT to get clinical experience. What should he do?

Your questions answered here are taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you haven’t yet, please register for an account. Also, be sure to check out all of our other podcasts on Meded Media.

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Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[02:15] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I’m trying to figure out how to categorize these experiences from medical school. The first one is a research assistant that helps build a database called Orion, that avatar program for a cancer-comprehensive hospital. 

My current role consists of reading pathology reports, shipping and sorting specimens for genomic analysis and collaborating with doctors and researchers on how to expand projects.”

[02:50] What Is Considered Research Experience?

Question #1: Eventually, I would have looked into building a database with genomic analysis. Would this be considered research experience?


If you’re doing some analysis, you’re looking at the data, making assumptions about the data, and talking about how to move forward based on the data, then this is considered research.

Research is how to think critically through a process. That involves having a hypothesis and testing around that hypothesis to prove whether it’s wrong or right. If you’re thinking through that information instead of just “doing stuff” with the information then that should be considered research.

[Related episode: Is Research More Important than Clinical Experience?]

[04:05] Clinical Experience

Question #2: I’ve been looking into getting more clinical experience. A couple of years ago, I used to volunteer at a hospital for 5 years, logging a thousand hours. Now, I am seeking doing something different. I’m considering doing either behavioral interventionist working with children with autism or working as an EMT as an ER tech.

My concerns for behavioral tech is that it would not be clinical experience for some medical schools. I would love working with children with autism. But I’m afraid that they will question my recent clinical experience. 

EMT would be a great clinical experience for me but the cost and time of getting a certificate and finding a job in a crowded field seems daunting to me. I’m afraid I will have a hard time finding a part-time job.


Becoming an EMT is expensive and it takes time. So you have to think through that. Working with children with autism as a behavioral interventionist is a great clinical experience. You’re working with someone in a setting trying to improve themselves.

I have worked with a lot of students coming from a therapy background and so I think that’s okay. Either way, both are great clinical experiences. Becoming an EMT is more of a time and monetary investment. On the backend, it’s a bit harder.

[Related episode: How Much Clinical Experience Do I Need for Med School Apps?]

[06:00] Final Thoughts

As a nontrad student, you have a lot of things open to you. Remember that you have to show consistency throughout this whole process. You don’t want to just have a chunk of 1000 hours five years ago.


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Nontrad Premed Forum

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