EMS: Certificate/License Required to Practice

DHS 110, Wisconsin Administrative Code, sets forth requirements for issuing each level of certification/licensure. For example, administrative code requires individuals to apply for an initial license within 24 months of completing the applicable EMT course or they will be required to retake the entire educational program for which they are applying.  

The Wisconsin  certificate/license expires on June 30 of every even numbered year. An individual's  initial certification or license will be valid for the remainder of the current biennium.  Thereafter, the license will be valid for two years. Licenses and certificates must be renewed each biennium prior to the expiration date.  

Certification or licensure as an Emergency Medical Responder or EMT is a privilege.  It verifies that the holder has met minimal competencies and, if credentialed (affiliated) with an emergency medical service (EMS) provider, authorizes that individual to provide medical care under medical direction. Emergency Medical Responders are certified and emergency medical technicians (EMT, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, Intermediate and Paramedic) are licensed in the State of Wisconsin. It is the individuals' responsibility to complete the application process and to verify that they hold the appropriate Wisconsin certification/licensure at their highest level of training and eligibility.  

Wisconsin E-licensing was implemented in August 2009. This new system allows the EMS Section to issue one EMS certificate/license to an Emergency Medical Responder or EMT at his/her highest eligible level. EMS personnel will no longer need to hold multiple licenses when affiliated with more than one EMS service. Once licensed by the State of Wisconsin, individual EMS certificate/license holders will apply for local credentialing with any EMS service with which they are associated.  (This is what we have called "affiliation" in the past.)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National EMS Scope of Practice Model (PDF) states that "credentialing is a local process by which an individual is permitted by a specific entity (the medical director) to practice in a specific setting (with an EMS provider)." While EMS personnel are state licensed, they must be locally credentialed with an EMS provider in order to practice at their level of training.

In no case will EMS personnel be allowed to practice above the license level of the EMS service.

Failure of EMS personnel to obtain individual certification/licensure and become credentialed with an EMS provider prior to beginning practice is a violation of Wisconsin law and may subject the individual (and the EMS provider) to disciplinary action.  

Obtaining registration through the National Registry of EMTs is not to be confused with a Wisconsin license and does not authorize an individual to practice in the State of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Administrative Code allows the EMS Section 60 business days to process an application and to issue a license. Processing a license rarely takes this long, though.

Back to License and Certification Information page 

Last Revised: October 19, 2018