EMS: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Becoming Certified or Licensed

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about becoming EMS certified or licensed in Wisconsin. If you can't find the information you need below, please contact our office.

1. How do I become an Emergency Medical Services practitioner (EMT, AEMT, Paramedic) or Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) in Wisconsin?

All Wisconsin EMS practitioners and EMRs must obtain initial education at an approved Wisconsin EMS training center. You can contact your local EMS training center for course availability information. If you currently hold an EMS license/certification in a state other than Wisconsin, you can complete the Reciprocity application process.

2. What are the steps to getting a Wisconsin EMS license or certification?

  • If you do not have an established E-Licensing account, you will need to create an account (PDF) in the E-Licensing system.
  • You will need to successfully complete a Wisconsin EMS educational course at an approved Wisconsin EMS training center. You must obtain your initial EMS practitioner license or EMR certification within 24 months of successfully completing the initial course. You can apply for your EMS license or EMR certification in your E-Licensing account by completing an EMS Practitioner Initial License application. If you are already licensed/certified at a lower level and are wanting to upgrade your license/certification, you will complete an EMS Practitioner License Level Upgrade application.
  • You will need to have and maintain a current Healthcare Provider CPR certification as long as you hold a valid EMR certification, EMT or AEMT license. You will need to have and maintain both a current Healthcare Provider CPR certification and ACLS certification as long as you hold a valid Paramedic license.
  • You will need to successfully complete the NREMT exams at the level for which you are applying.
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Wisconsin EMS Office for processing. You will be contacted if there are any issues that need additional documentation to support the application.
  • After your application has been approved, you will receive an email notifying you that your application has been approved with instructions on how to print your certificate/license from your E-Licensing account.
  • You will need to complete the Local Credential Agreement (LCA) application inside of your E-Licensing account if you wish to be affiliated with a service(s).

3. What is an EMS License or EMR Certification, and why do I need one?

Nearly every profession certifies or licenses its members in some way. Wisconsin Admin. Code ch. DHS 110 outlines the requirements for issuing each level of certification/licensure. Licensure as an EMS practitioner or certification as an EMR is a privilege and verifies that the holder has met minimal competencies, and if credentialed (affiliated) with a service provider, authorizes that individual to provide medical care under medical direction.

It is the individual’s responsibility to complete the application process and to verify that he or she holds current Wisconsin licensure or certification. All Wisconsin EMS licenses and certifications expire on June 30 every three years. An individual's initial license/certification will be valid for the remainder of the current triennium in which they complete their education. Thereafter, the license/certificate must be renewed each triennium prior to the expiration date. Information on continuing educational requirements is located on our website and described in Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 110.07.

4. What is a Local Credentialing Agreement (LCA)?

An LCA is a written authorization by the Service Director and the Medical Director of a licensed service provider permitting a licensed EMS practitioner or certified EMR to perform specified emergency medical pre-hospital care while in the service of the provider.

Once your LCA is complete, it means that both the Service Director and the Medical Director approve the LCA, and you will be added to the service's roster. Only then will you be able to respond to calls as part of your service. Contact your Service Director and Medical Director once you complete the LCA. This is a real-time process and can be completed as quickly as needed at the local level from your E-Licensing account.

5. Why do applicants need to complete the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam for a Wisconsin license or certification?

The NREMT exam is a requirement for all Wisconsin EMS practitioners and EMRs for initial or upgraded licensure under Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 110.06 (1) (d) since January 1, 2011. Certification by the National Registry identifies for the public, state licensure agencies and employers, those individuals who have successfully completed the Registry’s educational requirements and demonstrated their skills and abilities in the mandated examinations.

6. I was a Wisconsin-licensed EMS practitioner or Wisconsin-certified EMR before January 1, 2011. Do I have to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam to keep my Wisconsin EMT license?

Not necessarily. The NREMT is an initial requirement for certification in Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 110.06 (1) (d) since January 1, 2011. If you received your EMS license or EMR certification prior to January 1, 2011, you are not required to maintain your NREMT status in Wisconsin for renewal of your Wisconsin certificate or license.

7. I have completed an EMS initial course at my local Wisconsin technical college. Can I respond to 911 calls with my service?

No, not until you obtain your Wisconsin EMS license or EMR certification and complete the LCA for the service with which you wish to be affiliated. The EMS Practitioner Initial License application is located in your E-Licensing account. The LCA will be available there as well once you obtain your Wisconsin license or certification. After both the Service Director and Medical Director approve the LCA, you will be added to the service's roster. Once you are added to the service’s roster, and you have a current Wisconsin EMS license or EMR certification, then you can respond to 911 calls with your service.

8. I have a Wisconsin EMS license or EMR certification. Can I respond to 911 calls with my service?

No, not until you complete the LCA for the service with which you wish to be affiliated. The LCA application is located in your E-Licensing account. After both the Service Director and Medical Director approve the LCA, you will be added to the service's roster. Once you are added to the service’s roster, and you have a current Wisconsin EMS license or EMR certification, then you can respond to 911 calls with your service.

9. What is the Wisconsin Ambulance Run Data System (WARDS) Elite?

The Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) has a secure, web-based reporting system called the Wisconsin Ambulance Run Data System (WARDS) Elite. Using WARDS Elite, all EMS providers are able to enter and submit their patient care report information electronically via the Internet. This web-based program is available at no charge to Wisconsin EMS service providers.

10. I am a licensed Wisconsin EMS practitioner or EMR credentialed with a licensed Wisconsin EMS service. Do we use the WARDS Elite for our responses to patients?

Administrative Rule requires EMR services to complete run reports for any calls where an advanced skill was used. It does not require all calls be reported, but your service can do so if it prefers to document all runs. Please consider drafting your own local policy or procedure for entering reports into WARDS Elite.

Administrative Rule requires EMT, AEMT and Paramedic services to complete run reports for any calls where skills are used. Please contact your local EMS Service Director on local policy or procedure for entering service reports into WARDS Elite.

11. Our service is licensed as an EMS service in Wisconsin. What are the medical skills that we can use in our service?

The Wisconsin EMS Scope of Practice, P-00451 (PDF) document defines the procedures, actions and processes that are permitted for the licensed individual. This is the document that lists the allowed skills that an EMS practitioner or EMR may use if the service has been approved by the Department of Health Services and indicated on the EMS service license. The scope of practice document is reviewed/updated annually by the Physical Advisory Committee (PAC).

12. I have been a licensed EMS practitioner or certified EMR and now want to upgrade my license level. How do I upgrade my license level in Wisconsin?

  • You will need to successfully complete a Wisconsin EMS educational course at an approved Wisconsin EMS training center. You must obtain your upgraded practitioner license within 24 months of successfully completing the EMS course. You will apply in your E-Licensing account by completing an EMS Practitioner License Level Upgrade application.
  • If you are applying for EMT or AEMT, you will need to have and maintain a current Healthcare Provider CPR card. If you are applying for Paramedic, you will need to have and maintain current Healthcare Provider CPR and ACLS certifications.
  • You will need to successfully complete the NREMT exams at the level for which you are applying.
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Wisconsin EMS Office for processing.
  • Once your application is approved, you will receive an email notification that your application has been approved with instructions on how to print your EMS license from your E-Licensing account.
  • You will need to complete the LCA for the service you wish to be affiliated with in your E-Licensing account. After both the Service Director and Medical Director approve the LCA, you will be added to the service's roster.

13. I am a licensed EMS practitioner or certified EMR in Wisconsin. I am enrolled in a higher level course at a Wisconsin-approved EMS training center. Do I have to apply for an EMS Training Center Training Permit?

Yes. All EMS students must hold a valid Training Center Training Permit if the EMS course requires clinical training and provides a clinical setting for educational experiences at a hospital or other health care facility. You can log into your E-Licensing account and complete the EMS Training Center Training Permit.

Last Revised: August 3, 2020