Distributive Education Update for 2021 and 2022

August 24, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the National Registry recognizes the unique needs and concerns of EMS professionals. One of those concerns is the uncertainty and limited availability of classroom education.

On Monday, August 17, 2020, The National Registry's Board of Directors responded by announcing the decision to waive the Distributive Education (DE) limits in the NCCP Model for the 2021 recertification season to ensure EMS professionals could maintain their national certification while assuring continued competency.

“The National Registry and our Board of Directors carefully and thoughtfully made this decision,” said Bill Seifarth, executive director of the National Registry. “We sought input and feedback from a wide array of stakeholders and our liaison organizations.”

Distributive Education limits removed for the recertification cycle ending March 30, 2021 (EMT, AEMT, Paramedic) and September 30, 2021 (EMR)

EMTs, AEMTs and Paramedics who are due to recertify on March 30, 2021 will have no limits on Distributive Education. This allows all continuing education to be accomplished online through any state-accepted or CAPCE-accredited program or education site. Of course, in-person continuing education will also be accepted. The same will apply to EMRs due to recertify on September 30, 2021.

Distribution Education limits will be restored for the recertification cycle ending March 30, 2022 (EMT, AEMT, Paramedic) and September 30, 2022 (EMR)

DE limits will be restored for the 2022 recertification cycle. Providers at all levels who have an expiration date in 2022 must follow the NCCP 2016 Model Requirements, including DE limits. The DE limits and NCCP Model Requirements are available on our website:

EMR - https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/emr-recert
EMT - https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/emt-recert
AEMT - https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/advancedemt-recert
NRP - https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/paramedic-recert

“The National Registry continues to encourage in-person continuing education where and when available,” added Seifarth. “But we are mindful of the significant exposure risks each of you already take on a daily basis on the front lines of the pandemic. We hope to limit those risks by eliminating the DE limits through the 2021 recertification season.”

National Registry Waives EMR Distributive Education Limits For 2020 Recertification Deadline

August 07, 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors for the National Registry voted to waive the Distributive Education (DE) limitations through September 30, 2020 for Emergency Medical Responders (EMR). As a result, EMRs may complete all 16 hours of Continuing Education via DE.

“We are committed to providing flexibility and options during this global pandemic,” said Bill Seifarth, executive director of the National Registry. “Emergency Medical Responders play an important role in our communities and we want them to have every opportunity to continue their national certification.”

The deadline for EMR recertification is September 30, 2020.

All Certification-Related Deadlines Extended

June 15, 2020

The National Registry, like the rest of the nation, faced significant challenges because of the COVID-19 national emergency declared on March 13, 2020. Specifically, our examination process was significantly impacted — from closed testing centers to limited in-person education opportunities.

On March 17, 2020, our Board of Directors authorized the Executive Director to extend all certification-related deadlines as necessary for the duration of the emergency. We previously announced, but again want to highlight, the Course Eligibility and Examination Validity deadlines for all candidates with a course completion date between March 1, 2018 and August 31, 2020 will be set at 30 months. For example, a course completion date of July 2018 will be valid through January 2021. 

Online Proctoring

April 30, 2020

The National Registry is pleased to announce that it has expanded its cognitive examination delivery through Pearson VUE's online proctoring platform, OnVUE. In response to limited or restricted test center availability caused by COVID-19, the National Registry is partnering with Pearson VUE to make the EMT and AEMT certification examinations available during the national emergency. OnVUE allows for EMT and AEMT candidates to take the cognitive examination securely from their home or office, without having to go to a traditional Pearson VUE examination center.

“The National Registry is aggressively working to provide every option possible for our candidates,” said Bill Seifarth, executive director of the National Registry. “As the pandemic arrived and we started to face its impacts on Pearson VUE testing centers, the National Registry's Board of Directors quickly authorized the use of online proctoring to ensure the pipeline of new EMS professionals could continue to flow.”

AEMT and EMT candidates will have the opportunity to select the OnVUE option once their Authorization To Test (ATT) has been issued. Candidates will navigate to the Application Status page and select the online proctored examination choice. For those who wish to take a traditional, in-person examination, that option is also available, though locations and times may be limited due to COVID-19-related closures or limitations.

Click here for more information on OnVUE.

FAQs about Provisional Certification

March 26, 2020
  1. Why did the National Registry develop the provisional certification?
    1. At the early stages of the COVID19 pandemic, then current designs of the psychomotor examinations were not consistent with public health recommendations. As a result, the National Registry released provisional certifications to communicate to states that a candidate had met all requirements except the psychomotor examination.
  2. Is my practice limited while I am provisionally certified?
    1. State EMS Offices regulate practice through the licensure, not the National Registry process (see licensure versus certification ). Please contact your State EMS Office for guidance. The National Registry has recommended to State EMS Offices that some sort of supervision or practice limitation be considered because the psychomotor exam was not fully completed.
  3. Is the provisional certification a National Registry certification?
    1. Yes, but not the same as being fully Nationally Registered. The target population, training requirements, cognitive examination and passing standard for the cognitive exam are the same as the full certification. There is no psychomotor examination or verification of BLS skills associated with the provisional certification.
  4. What is the expiration date for the provisional certification?
    1. We are assigning an expiration of 12/31/2021 to all provisional certifications.
  5. I passed my cognitive exam before the pandemic but was waiting on a psychomotor examination. Do I qualify for a provisional certification?
    1. Yes, if your course was completed after 3/1/2018 and your cognitive examination was completed after January 1, 2019.
  6. What happens if I had taken a psychomotor examination and failed prior to the pandemic?
    1. If you have remaining attempts for the psychomotor examination, you would be issued a provisional certification.
    2. If you have failed all allowed attempts at the psychomotor examination, you would not qualify for a provisional certification.
  7. Will I get a certificate or a proof of my provisional status?
    1. Yes, you will be able to download a PDF that indicates your provisional certification status.
  8. Can I identify myself as a nationally certified provider?
    1. Yes, but you must include the provisional in any official identification of your certification status.
  9. Will the National Registry confirm my provisional certification?
    1. Yes, but the public lookup and state EMS office reports will identify the certification as provisional.
  10. Will multiple attempts at the cognitive examination be allowed for provisional certification?
    1. Yes, the same number of attempts will be allowed for provisional as for full certification.
  11. Will examination attempts for provisional certification apply to full certification?
    1. Yes, the attempt history will apply to both certifications.
  12. What happens if I am provisionally certified and I later fail the psychomotor examination?
    1. You would not qualify for full certification and your provisional certification would expire on 12/31/2021.
  13. Can I recertify my provisional certification?
    1. No. Because the provisional certification is due to the national emergency, recertification of provisional certifications is not allowed at this time.
  14. Can I become provisionally certified if I have not fully completed training?
    1. No, course completion is a requirement for provisional certification.
  15. How will I become fully certified?
    1. Once a psychomotor examination is completed, you will be issued a full National Registry certification.
  16. Can I become licensed by a state with a provisional certification?
    1. That depends on the state. Because licensure is defined by state law and regulation, the National Registry does not control the licensure process. Please contact your state EMS office for details on licensure.
  17. What happens if I don't want a provisional certification?
    1. Then you don't have to do anything with it. The provisional certification is formal documentation of the steps that you have completed and doesn’t require formal request on your part.
  18. Do the Terms of Certification and other rules of National Registry apply to provisional certifications?
    1. Yes. However, if a state denies licensure because that state doesn’t accept provisional certifications, that denial will not impact your provisional certification or later full certification.
  19. Can I earn CEUs while provisionally certified?
    1. Yes, and you can record those CEUs in your National Registry transcript. However, there is not a pathway to recertify a provisional certification.
  20. What if I have questions about provisional certifications?
    1. You can contact the National Registry at support@nremt.org.

Pearson VUE Update

March 26, 2020

The cognitive test network availability changes based on state and local situations. However, many test centers are providing essential examinations (for EMS personnel). Candidates should log in to their Pearson VUE account to view available test centers and schedule their exam. Candidates should assume the examination is scheduled and available unless they receive a cancellation notice from Pearson VUE.

COVID-19 Response Update

March 23, 2020

National EMS Community,

The National Registry is committed to supporting your vital work in the community by ensuring continued operation of the certification process to ensure a qualified EMS workforce. While circumstances remain dynamic, we will provide updates as information becomes available. Test centers will begin limited reopening for essential healthcare personnel, including EMS providers. Regarding the psychomotor examination, the National Registry will be offering a provisional certification that defers the psychomotor exam until conditions stabilize.

Cognitive Exam Update

Preserving the pipeline of EMS personnel during the pandemic is essential, and vital to public health. Therefore, on Wednesday, March 25, some Pearson VUE Professional Centers (PPCs) across the nation will re-open for the testing of essential healthcare personnel, including EMS providers. Appointments at these centers will be available on a first come, first served basis. More appointments and availability will be available as soon as possible. More information about Pearson VUE's testing for EMS personnel during the pandemic is available on Pearson VUE's website.

In addition to the PPCs, we are working with state and local officials to re-open Pearson VUE Testing Centers (PVTCs) strictly for the testing of essential healthcare personnel, including EMS providers. As a reminder, some PVTCs are currently open and operational. The National Registry is also aggressively pursuing the option of offering cognitive examinations through newly available Remote Proctoring technology, with more information on that in the coming weeks.

Psychomotor Examinations

Conducting psychomotor examinations, while adhering to national Public Health guidelines, is generally not achievable nor recommended. Therefore, last week the National Registry's Board created a new Provisional Certification .

Provisional Certifications will be automatically assigned to any candidate that (1) completes an educational program at the EMR, EMT, AEMT or Paramedic level and (2) successfully passes the National Registry's cognitive examination. The requirement for completing the psychomotor examination is suspended for the duration of the national emergency or until psychomotor examinations can be safely reinstated in the United States.

National Registry Continues Operations with Remote Work

On Sunday afternoon, the State of Ohio issued a Stay at Home Order effective 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2020, until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020. This order (like many other state orders across the nation) identifies certain organizations, businesses, and operational functions as essential, and therefore are exempt. Although the National Registry of EMTs is designated an essential organization – and a vital component of maintaining the national EMS system – last week we implemented extraordinary measures to shift 90% of our staff to remote work.

As a result, the National Registry is operational and we will continue fulfilling our duty and responsibilities to the National EMS System, while also maintaining our commitment to employee safety and our shared responsibility to ‘flatten the curve’. Our workforce is leveraging technology to complete work from home and will continue to do so. Staff working in our office are following the CDC's recommendations and guidance provided by our local authorities.

Continued Monitoring

We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and will make adjustments as needed to support the pandemic response efforts, while also ensuring the long-term sustainability and viability of the Nation's Emergency Medical Services system.

To all those truly on the front lines of this response, THANK YOU. Please stay safe and healthy.

National Registry Board Approves Provisional Certification

March 19, 2020

Responding to the nationwide need for Emergency Medical Services personnel and the social-distancing public health guidance, the Executive Committee of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians gave emergency approval to add a Provisional Certification. The Provisional Certification will be automatically assigned to any candidate that (1) completes an educational program at the EMR, EMT, AEMT or Paramedic level and (2) successfully passes the National Registry's cognitive examination. The requirement for completing the psychomotor examination is suspended for the duration of the national emergency or until psychomotor examinations can be safely reinstated in the United States.

“This is a vital step in ensuring that we are able to continue to get qualified and competent EMS personnel into our communities during this national emergency,” said Bill Seifarth, executive director of the National Registry. “This decision, along with this pandemic, is evolving and requires swift, bold measures to ensure the continued safety and health of the public.”

Transition from Provisional to Fully Registered

Once the national emergency is over, Provisionally Registered EMS providers will be given ample time (months) and specific instructions on the psychomotor examination requirements. Whenever a Provisionally Registered EMS provider's record at the National Registry indicates the successful completion of valid cognitive and psychomotor examination requirements, the provider's status will automatically transition from provisional to fully registered.

Access to Cognitive Examinations

The National Registry cognitive examinations are administered via the global Pearson VUE network of test centers. In addition to National Registry examinations, the Pearson VUE network is used to administer the certification/board examinations for many health professions, including nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many (but not all) of the Pearson VUE testing centers across the globe are closed. The National Registry is aggressively working to restore the cognitive examination network and to implement an alternative cognitive testing option. Details on the status of the cognitive examination network will be updated on a regular basis.

Provisional Registry Status, the Workforce and State Licensing

Individual states will need to determine how to incorporate the Provisional Certification into their rules and regulations, and ultimately the local workforce. Provisional Certification is not a substitute for full National Registry certification, but it is a mechanism the National Registry is making available to states as they enact emergency rules and regulations to preserve the EMS workforce, with an assurance that the Provisionally Certified EMS providers completed the cognitive examination. States may implement a practice of requiring a Provisionally Certified EMS provider to only work with a nationally registered and state licensed EMS provider.

Implementation of the Provisional Registration Status

“Although the Provisional Certification status was approved, it will take some time for our technology systems to display the new certification. Our technology team is aggressively working to modify our systems”, according to Donnie Woodyard, the Chief Operating Officer.

Pearson VUE Testing Centers

March 18, 2020

Many Pearson VUE testing centers have closed, however a few remain open and operational. If your National Registry examination is canceled, you will get an email from Pearson VUE. If you have NOT received an email about the cancellations of your exam... it is scheduled as normal.

National Registry's Response To Pearson VUE Suspending Operations

March 16, 2020

In response to the rapidly developing COVID-19 situation, Pearson VUE unexpectedly announced the temporary closure of testing centers in the United States and Canada. This directly impacts all National Registry examinations delivered by Pearson VUE. The National Registry was already preparing alternative pathways, in conjunction with partners, to ensure the continuity of certification and support the national EMS system during this crisis.

These are unprecedented times. As the Nation's EMS Certification organization, we recognize the thousands of providers on the path to EMS service. We are finalizing potential solutions and will be sharing additional details in the coming days. We remain committed to supporting the vital work that you do.

For candidates and registrants with pending applications, no immediate action is required at this time. We will provide details as solutions are implemented.

National Registry Extends 2020 Recertification Deadline; Modifies Requirements

March 13, 2020

Columbus OH — As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians today announced two important modifications to the current recertification cycle for Nationally Registered EMS personnel.

The National Registry's Board of Directors approved a motion extending the current recertification deadline from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020 . Additionally, for Registrants due to recertify March 31, 2020 Distributive Education (DE) limitations will be removed. This allows all continuing education to be accomplished outside of classrooms.

“Given the dynamic nature of this global pandemic, the focus of our nation's EMS personnel should remain on personal well-being, patient safety and supporting their communities in need,” said Bill Seifarth, Executive Director of the National Registry.

Summary of modifications

  • All certifications with an expiration date of March 31, 2020 will remain valid until June 30, 2020.
  • The current recertification deadline of March 31, 2020 extended to June 30, 2020.
  • There will be no late fees for submissions after March 31, 2020.
  • The Distributive Education (DE) limits will be waived for the remainder of this recertification cycle. However, if you need to take advantage of this new option, it will take time for our software to be modified.

“We know that there are still many unanswered questions as to how these changes will be implemented and how the closures of schools and universities will impact the pipeline of EMS personnel seeking to test,” said Bill Seifarth. “The Registry will take the necessary time to work with the State EMS Offices, Program Directors, and other stakeholders to properly address these issues and will share updates as information becomes available.”

Statement on Covid-19

March 11, 2020

The safety, security and good health of our candidates, registrants, staff, subject matter experts (SMEs) and partners are of the highest priority for the National Registry of EMTs. Considering the evolving COVID19 (Coronavirus) situation, I wanted to personally update you, to ensure you're informed on our response.

Registrants & Recertification

The two-year recertification season for EMTs, AEMTs, and Paramedics scheduled to expire in 2020 remains March 31, 2020. The vast majority of the registrants due to expire on March 31 have already completed the required educational components. However, registrants who have not yet completed the recertification requirements, are reminded that (F5) Virtual Instructor Lead Training (VILT) courses satisfy the requirements for instructor-led training and can be accomplished outside of classroom environments. Registrants who are unable to complete the educational requirements due to quarantine or impacts of the public health emergency are encouraged to coordinate with their State Office of EMS and contact support@nremt.org prior to their expiration date.


Psychomotor Examinations — The National Registry psychomotor examinations for AEMT and Paramedic will continue to be administered, subject to the guidance of local health authorities. The decision to cancel an examination lies with the Examination Coordinator and the National Registry Representative in coordination with the National Registry examinations team. The decision to cancel an examination will be made as soon as is practical and candidates will be notified as soon as possible. Candidates should contact the Examination Coordinator for questions and to reschedule an examination if necessary.

Cognitive Examinations — Pearson VUE is closely monitoring local conditions and following the guidance of local health authorities. Decisions will be made by each individual test center. The latest information can be found at the Pearson VUE website.

Course Completion Requirements — Some colleges and universities are suspending in-person courses and activities. This may impact learning labs, practicums, and clinical experiences. Candidates who are unable to complete the educational requirements due to the public health emergency are encouraged to coordinate with their Program Director. Program directors are encouraged to coordinate with their State Office of EMS for any needed modifications to training schedules. Paramedic programs directors are also encouraged to review the CoAEMSP website for additional information.

Examination Eligibility Deadlines — Applicants who are unable to complete the testing requirements within required National Registry two year deadline due to quarantine or impacts of the public health emergency are encouraged to coordinate with their State Office of EMS and contact support@nremt.org prior to their expiration date.

National Registry Travel

The National Registry is restricting all routine travel for conferences, meetings, and events until April 12, 2020. Tele-conferencing technology will be leveraged to reduce impacts.

Additional Resources

We are monitoring this developing situation closely and are staying in regular contact with our national EMS system partners. We will publish updates as this situation evolves. Thank you for the vital role you fill in the nation's Emergency Medical Services system.


Bill Seifarth
Executive Director