What Can Disqualify You From Becoming An EMT Or Paramedic?

What Can Disqualify You From Becoming An EMT Or Paramedic

If you are seriously considering becoming an EMT, there are some things that you should know before you take up this career path.

Some things that are on your record could prevent your dream career from becoming a reality, and this is something that we are going to explain in this article.

We are going to provide you with some helpful information when it comes to the things that could disqualify you from becoming an EMT or paramedic, so you can be prepared for anything that might come up along the way.  Just keep reading to find out more.

What Disqualifies You From Being An EMT/Paramedic?

Unfortunately, there are some things that can disqualify you from becoming an EMT or Paramedic, and it is really important that you make yourself aware of these things before you get started.

You can be disqualified from these professions if you have a criminal record due to things like a DUI, felony, or violent crime. 

Other things that can prevent this career from being a possibility for you can include substance abuse or not being able to perform the physical tasks that this role requires from you.

The exact rules and regulations can vary depending on the area you live in and the specific employer, but there are lots of things that are worth being aware of.

It is also important to be aware of the fact that the criteria for being disqualified from working as either an EMT or Paramedic can vary by state.

We are going to take a closer look at some of the reasons why you could be disqualified below, and we are also going to tell you how you can handle the situation. 

What Can Prevent You From Becoming An EMT or Paramedic?

As you probably already know, Emergency Medical Technicians play a big role that comes with a lot of responsibility, both for yourself and other members of the public that rely on you for emergency treatment and transportation to the hospital. 

Essentially, this means that EMTs will regularly come into contact with people that are sick or injured and potentially at the lowest points in their lives. So, an EMT or Paramedic will have a big responsibility to maintain certain professional standards.

A criminal record will not always automatically disqualify you from working as an EMT or Paramedic. The only people that are able to make this decision are the state body or the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Such organizations will have the power to decide if you are able to take on this career path, depending on any given convictions or other issues. 

What State Regulations Can Disqualify You From Becoming an EMT or Paramedic?

It is really important to be aware of the fact that every single state will have its own standards that apply to the job roles of EMTs and Paramedics and whether they are able to practice.

Unfortunately, this does also mean that there is no exact authoritative list of things that will disqualify a person in every state, as it can vary depending on where you live.

One of the best ways to find out the exact rules and regulations in your state is to talk to your state’s licensing agency for EMTs. They will be able to help review your criminal record and decide if you are going to be able to work in this field.

However, you should also know that there are some crimes that will always be likely to result in automatic disqualification.

For example, crimes like murder and attempted murder will make a person very unlikely to ever be considered as a good candidate for an EMT or Paramedic role in most states.

Another crime that can automatically disqualify you from these job roles is a sexual offense, as this would make you a high risk for the state to assume responsibility for. You are unlikely to be able to work as an EMT or Paramedic with any of these convictions.

Conditions for Working as an EMT or Paramedic With a Conviction


Another thing that is important for you to be aware of is that a state can place a set of conditions on people that have been convicted of other types of offenses before they are able to obtain the necessary license to work as an EMT.

However, if you are able to meet these conditions, you will be able to work as an EMT in that state.

Some of the most common conditions can include:

  • Elapsed time - This is when the state will require proof that a certain number of years have passed between the time of your conviction and the time when you are applying for an EMT license. This is in place to ensure that you have had enough time to reform following on from your conviction.
  • Reference letters - It is also quite likely for state authorities to ask for references in order to persuade them to certify a person that has a criminal conviction. They might ask you for letters from an employer, an educational establishment, your probation officer, your therapist, or a medical doctor.
  • A statement - You might also be summoned to appear in front of the licensing authority, or you may be required to write a statement to argue your case. This is because they are trying to understand what led to your conviction. They will want to know how you have been able to learn from the experience, and how you have worked to change since your conviction. This is your opportunity to make it clear that you will not be making the same mistakes again.

These conditions are simply in place to help to safeguard the public and ensure that every EMT or Paramedic that is hired is fit to work.

They want to ensure that you are not going to be a liability, and that the public will be safe in your hands. Essentially, you will need to be fit to treat vulnerable people at the scene of an emergency.

What Federal Regulations Will Disqualify You From Getting Certification?

As well as being able to satisfy the state’s criteria for licensing as an EMT, you will also have to satisfy the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians that you are a good fit for the role.

The need to be sure that you can maintain the professional standards that are expected of EMTs and Paramedics.

The NREMT has a complete and comprehensive policy when it comes to the certification of EMTs with criminal records. We are going to leave the NREMT Criminal Conviction Policy below for you to read about.

While you might assume that the NREMT will automatically disqualify all people that have federal criminal records, this is not actually the case.

The NREMT has the power to allow for the certification board to examine any convictions that you might have, and then decide whether certification is appropriate. 

They have the ability to investigate most federal crimes before they make a decision, but there are 5 categories that could lead to an instant refusal. These categories are:

  • Use of a dangerous weapon - Emergency medical technicians should never have misused any weapons.
  • Physical assault - This type of crime would make you a high risk for putting vulnerable members of the public in danger. 
  • Abuse - The NREMT are unlikely to consider you if you have a history of being abusive, as they won’t put you in the position where this could occur again with vulnerable members of the public.
  • Property crimes - Any crimes including theft from a property could automatically disqualify you as you could be working in people’s homes.
  • Sexual Assault or abuse - If you have been convicted of this crime, it is often assumed that a person that has abused a vulnerable individual can do so again, which makes you unlikely to be considered for this role.

The NREMT will consider the crime or crimes that you have committed and think about things like the severity of the crime, how much time has passed since the offense, and how the offense could affect your role as an EMT or Paramedic.

Can You Be An EMT or Paramedic if You Have a DUI?

A DUI does not always automatically disqualify you from becoming an EMT or Paramedic, but it is something that will be carefully considered. You would need to get confirmation from the NREMT and your state certification board to get a conclusive answer to this question.

Individual cases will be examined, and the time that has passed since the offense is something that will be greatly considered. If the offense is recent, you can probably expect to be disqualified, but if it was a long time ago, you may have a better chance. 

There may be a specific amount of time that will need to have passed before you can be considered for this role. This is usually due to the fact that you could become a liability when driving an emergency vehicle with a DUI on your record.

Can I Apply for an EMT Program With a Criminal Conviction?

The majority of  EMT training providers will have restrictions in place when it comes to training EMTs with criminal records. The application process and interviews that could follow will be designed to discover if these restrictions apply to you or not. 

You will need to be honest about your past and disclose any relevant information. Otherwise, you can be refused when they find out further down the line.

If the training provider does not ask about your criminal convictions, you should find the appropriate person to disclose this to from the beginning. You might need to provide them with more information about your conviction.


There are no exact rules for what could disqualify you from becoming an EMT or Paramedic, but there are some things that could present as issues throughout the process.

Some convictions could lead to an automatic disqualification, but others will require further investigation in order to make a final decision. There is no guarantee that you will be considered, as it will all depend on the conviction itself.

One of the best ways to find out more about becoming an EMT or Paramedic is to talk to your local learning provider, as they will be able to provide you with more details about your situation. You can discuss your past with them to find out if this career path could still be right for you.