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This is Not Your Father’s NREMT Recertification Process

Beginning this year, Kentucky will join the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians new recertification process.  Formally known as the National Continued Competency Program, this new program will be a complete change in thinking for EMS providers and the training officers that oversee their continuing education.  No longer will NREMT recertification consist of 72 hours of specified content.  Instead it will be broken down into three segments for all levels as outlined below:


National     Content

Local     Content

Individual Content

Total Number of Hours












This new model is very similar to that required under the American Board of Medical Specialty will do away with, thankfully, the cumbersome and boring traditional DOT refresher. 

In my opinion, this is a wonderful movement on the part of the NREMT for a number of reasons.  First, it now reflects the importance of the role that evidence based medicine should play in the CONTINUING education of all EMS providers.  From the NREMT:

“The NCCP offers numerous improvements that will impact EMS for the better for years to come. These changes allow a platform for evidenced-based medicine to reach EMS professionals all over the country, give state and local agencies the freedom to dictate a portion of the national recertification requirements and provide a foundation for the EMS professional to embrace life-long learning through self-assessment.”

Second, this new method of continuing education will allow for agencies as well as individuals to control, with greater autonomy, the areas that they feel the need for enhanced education.  Of the content outlined in the chart above, 25% of it can be determined by the local agency and 25% by the individual.  That begs the question.  What if an individual is not associated with an EMS response agency or if the agency desires not to dictate what content should be covered.  Robert Andrews, Director of Education for the Kentucky Board of EMS recently sent out an update addressing that subject.  In his email he wrote:

“KBEMS has decided to let the EMS provider’s primary EMS service determine the 10 hours of Local Continued Competency Requirements (LCCR). If these hours are not specified, the provider may use any additional state or CECBEMS -approved EMS –related education towards these requirements.”

Keep in mind that this email from KBEMS only addressed the EMT level of continuing education.  What their determination was regarding the paramedic was not addressed. 

Finally, the NREMT has addressed what has been a short coming in the recognition of quality distance EMS education.  In the past only a small fraction of continuing education could be completed via an asynchronous model, that is, not having the instructor of the material available for questions by their students in real time.  The new model uses the following criteria as found in the NREMT Training Officers Guide:

All education that is claimed by the EMS provider for NREMT recertification must continue to be approved either by the state EMS agency that governs their license or by the Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE), formerly known as CECBEMS. 

As an educator, I’d like to commend the NREMT for this scientific, professional, common sense approach to the continuing education of EMS providers around the nation.  This new model will take away some of the redundant boredom of the old system while supplying additional modes of education for busy prehospital providers!

About the author:

Bill Young began his EMS career in 1975 with a small fire department near Williamsburg, KY. They began running first responder calls long before the phrase ever existed. In addition to Kentucky, his career has taken him to Tennessee, Colorado, Georgia, and Kansas. He has served as a street medic, training officer, supervisor, state regulator, and educator. He is enrolled in the University of the Cumberlands where he is seeking a doctorate degree in education.  Currently, he is an Assistant Professor and the Director at Eastern Kentucky University in the Paramedicine Science Department.

Published on September 12, 2016

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