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Why National Certification Matters

National certification serves the important independent purpose of identifying for the public, state licensure agencies and employers, those individuals who have successfully completed the National Registry’s educational requirements and demonstrated their skills and abilities in the mandated examinations.

The federal government has defined “certification” as the process by which a non-governmental organization grants recognition to an individual who has met predetermined qualifications specified by that organization.1 Similarly, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) has recently defined certification as “a process, often voluntary, by which individuals who have demonstrated the level of knowledge and skill required in the profession, occupation, role, or skill are identified to the public and other stakeholders.”2

National certification assures that the EMS personnel providing treatment to patients—at their highest moment of need—are competent. National certification also establishes uniform standards for training and a valid, uniform process to assess the knowledge and skills required for competent practice required by professionals throughout their careers.

Nearly every profession certifies its members in some way, but a prime example is medicine. Private certifying boards certify physician specialists. Although certification may assist a physician in obtaining hospital privileges, or participating as a preferred provider within a health insurer’s network, it does not affect his legal authority to practice medicine. For instance, a surgeon can practice medicine in any state in which he is licensed regardless of whether or not he is certified by the American Board of Surgery.

In the event of a national emergency, it is often necessary to bring EMS personnel from other states to the scene of the national emergency. National certification means those EMS personnel are familiar with the same techniques and procedures, and can successfully work side by side to tend to the injured or ill.

The public cannot be expected to determine whether EMS personnel are qualified to deliver competent care. The public can unknowingly be at risk of unsafe and incompetent care. The responsibility falls on the profession, then, to ensure that safe and effective care is provided to the public. The NREMT is pleased to offer this assurance to the public through certification by way of an examination that is legally defensible and psychometrically sound.

1 U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Report on Licensure and Related Health Personnel Credentialing (Washington, D.C.: June, 1971 p. 7).
2 NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, approved by the member organizations of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies in February, 2002 (effective January, 2003).

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