Factors That Can Disqualify You from Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are the first responders to accidents and emergencies, shouldering the immense responsibility of saving lives. With this crucial role comes a set of strict rules and guidelines that EMTs must adhere to.

In this article, we will explore the physical requirements necessary to become an EMT, the policies regarding substance abuse, and the significance of criminal background checks. These measures ensure the safety of both EMTs and the public they serve.

Physical Disqualifications

Paramedics/EMTs help injured people in emergency situations, so they need to have a certain level of physical strength. Here are the physical requirements for EMT’s in order to pass the training courses:

  • Must be able to lift and carry at least 100 lbs., and push/pull objects weighing at least 50 lbs.
  • Steady hands are needed to give IV’s to patients or apply bandages to wounds.
  • Should be able to speak clearly and quickly, especially to doctors when bringing injured or sick patients to the hospital
  • Able to move around in small areas and make precise movements to prevent injury when responding to calls
  • You must have good hearing so you can identify emergency signals of equipment, alarms, heartbeats, breathing, and you should be able to see in color.

You’ll also need to provide a record of all your recent immunizations so you are not at risk of contracting diseases from patients. Most likely you will also be asked to have a physical examination by a doctor to make sure you are in good overall health.

Substance Abuse

It’s been reported that EMTs are at high risk for drug abuse. While the data is somewhat inconclusive, some believe it is because of the easy access to strong prescription medications and the stress of the job. Substance abuse is not tolerated and applicants do have to undergo a drug test to move forward in the process.

Historical abuse would have to be evaluated in accordance with State Law as some States consider that medical history covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you are already on the job, many employers offer substance abuse support and last chance opportunities depending on the severity of the offense. If the infraction is severe enough, it could lead to termination and potential criminal charges.

Criminal Background

While criminal background check requirements for EMT’s vary from state to state, here is a list of some of the more notable offenses that could disqualify you from becoming or remaining an EMT:

  • Murder
  • Attempted Murder
  • Sexual Offenses

Also, felony convictions can stop an application if they are related to:

  • Use of a deadly weapon
  • Physical assault
  • Child abuse
  • Property theft, robbery or burglary
  • Sexual abuse or assault

An EMT’s performance can determine whether or not someone lives to see another day. These policies are in place not only for the protection of the EMTs but also for the public citizens.


EMTs hold a crucial role in emergency response, providing aid in critical situations where lives hang in the balance. With such high stakes, it is imperative that EMTs meet the physical requirements to carry out their duties effectively.

Substance abuse policies help address the inherent risks of the job, while criminal background checks safeguard the well-being of the public. By adhering to these guidelines, EMTs ensure that they can fulfill their responsibilities and provide the necessary care to those in need.

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