Do EMT's Get Drug Tested?

Do EMT's Get Drug Tested?


Yes. EMTs and Paramedics  do get drug tested. It is to ensure the highest level of safety for patients and their ability to function. You might be drug tested prior to the training program and during the hiring process.

Drug testing in the emergency services is not something most people have thought about or given much thought to. It is not uncommon for candidates applying for positions in the field to wonder if they are subjected to frequent drug testing, but the answer is yes. 

While many departments, primarily government entities, may utilize a pre-employment drug test as a standard protocol, there is no blanket requirement that an employer must follow when testing employees after hiring or during the course of employment.

Let us learn more about what drug testing means for EMTs, paramedics, and the work environment.

Table Of Contents:

  • All About EMTs And Paramedics
  • Drug Testing For EMTs
  • Drug Testing For Paramedics
  • Some Basic Principles Of Drug Tests For EMTs And Paramedics
  • How Often Do Paramedics/EMT's Get Drug Tested?
  • All About EMTs And Paramedics

    EMTs work in the pre-hospital setting. They are prepared to give essential clinical care to patients experiencing a medical emergency before physicians, and other emergency personnel can reach them. They are also trained to make decisions about whether patients need more advanced or higher-level care. 

    Paramedics are emergency medical technicians that work in an advanced life support service area. They are prepared to give progressed life support, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and administering medications during an emergency.

    Both an EMT and a paramedic work outside the delivery room.

    Drug Testing For EMTs

    We all know that EMTs get drug tested. But do EMTs get drug tested often? Not certainly. There are certain intervals where the EMTs are drug tested.

    Primarily there are four occasions where an EMT may get drug tested.

    • Many schools and institutions that offer the EMT training course require the candidates to pass a standard 5-panel drug test prior to the course. 
    • You may also get drug tested during the certifying process as an EMT. 
    • A hospital employer may conduct a pre-employment drug test during the hiring process.
    • Random drug testing during the employment

    EMTs get drug tested certification requires candidates to pass written exams, demonstrate their skills on an inflatable training manikin, and participate in clinical education. All EMTs must be appropriately certified, especially since the job involves administering medications and providing care for ill or injured persons.

    EMTs need to be mentally fit to do their job, which is why some EMS providers require drug testing. The drug test can be pre-employment or occur during employment after the person has been hired. 

    The reason behind the drug test is to ensure that EMTs, while on the job and in the field, are mentally fit and do not have any potential impairments that could affect their decision-making or render them unable to function in an emergency setting. Drug tests for EMTs are used to weed out impaired EMTs and monitor their performance. 

    Do Paramedics Get Drug Tested?

    Paramedics get drug tested like the EMTs as part of their work.

    Paramedics possess the same abilities as EMTs to provide emergency medical care. But there are some differences. For instance, paramedics often administer patients with multiple disorders simultaneously, which provides them with greater responsibility. 

    They also have more training than EMTs to give advanced life support to patients experiencing cardiac arrest or needing advanced medical techniques. Paramedics are also responsible for making clinical decisions about the care that they treat. 

    They need to be mentally sound and able to make quick decisions under pressure. Similar to EMTs, drug testing for paramedics is also necessary. Drug testing for paramedics is often done by healthcare businesses, such as hospitals and clinics. They may require a drug test periodically or on a random basis.

    Drug tests for this profession are not limited to the pre-employment scenario. Paramedics may also be included in drug testing as a condition of employment or as a way to monitor their performance on the job. 

    Drug testing for paramedics is just as crucial as for EMTs because the work environment involves so many medical situations. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics is essential to ensuring the highest level of safety for patients and their ability to function.

    Drug testing can improve patient care. It can ensure that employees can do their jobs without impairment or adverse effects on their performance. And it can also prevent further drug abuse among employees, which would be detrimental to patient care in the long run.

    Can Paramedics and EMTs act as Nurses?

    No. they cannot. Paramedics and EMTs are trained to provide emergency services to patients before the patient gets into the hospital. While the Nurses do their job after the patient enters the hospital. The nurses' responsibility is wide and different from paramedics and EMT. 

    The only similarity is Nurses get drug tested too.

    Statistics Of Drug Testing EMTs And Paramedics In United States

    • Since 2006, the number of states and localities where drug testing is mandatory for all EMS providers has grown from 10 to 28.
    • Despite these mandates, the number of EMS agencies requiring pre-employment drug testing has remained relatively unchanged since 2006 (12% in 2006 and 13% in 2011) despite these mandates. 
    • Results from the 2011 survey show that in 2011, 30% of EMS agencies in the United States required drug testing for all candidates during pre-employment screening.
    • As of 2010, out of the 29 states that have passed legislation requiring drug testing for EMTs at the state level, 16 have laws applying to all EMTs. 
    • Several federal laws are addressing the practice of testing EMS personnel. 
    • The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires employers to provide drug-free workplaces for employees, including EMTs and paramedics.

    Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics has many benefits; some of which are listed below.

    1. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics can lead to fewer accidents and injuries. It can help reduce the number of workers' compensation claims due to workplace injuries up to 25%.
    2. Often, drug testing for EMTs and paramedics occurs before a person is hired. It can therefore ensure that the individual has a clean record free of drugs or alcohol.
    3. After a person is hired, drug testing for EMTs and paramedics can proactively monitor employees to ensure that they remain clean and sober throughout their employment.
    4. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics can improve patient care. There are numerous advantages to having drug-free employees.
    5. One of them is that there will be fewer health-related incidents due to workplace stress, which can have adverse effects on the ability of employees to provide excellent patient care.
    6. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics can minimize additional costs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, drug abuse costs employers about $80 billion each year through loss of productivity or premature death among employees. 
    7. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics ensures no adverse effects on patients' operational efficiency, safety, or outcomes because of this kind of impairment
    8. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics can help with hiring decisions. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics can help companies to choose the best candidates for the job. If an individual comes in for drug testing, employers will likely avoid hiring them in the future upon finding out that they are not clean. 

    Some Basic Principles Of Drug Tests For EMTs And Paramedics

    • The drug tests for EMTs and paramedics can be conducted at all times. The test can be performed as a regular part of pre-employment, as a mandatory test during employment, or as a random test administered at any time.
    • Drug tests for EMTs and paramedics can be performed without prior notice to employees. They do not have to take the tests before being hired but could be required to do so afterward. 
    • Many drug tests for EMTs and paramedics are given by urine analysis, and they can be done at home or through a mobile service that comes to the workplace.
    • Drug tests for EMTs and paramedics may be done to look for illicit drugs or alcohol. However, they can also check for prescription drugs, legal substances, or other medications that the employee is abusing.
    • Laws for drug testing of EMTs and paramedics vary by state or location. Some states have mandatory drug testing laws in place, while others do not. Therefore, it is important to lead a thorough search and compare all the drug testing laws and operating procedures in each state.
    • No matter what methodologies are used, EMTs and paramedics' actual drug testing results must be verified by a third party such as an outside agency such as an accredited laboratory.

    How Often Do Paramedics and EMT's Get Drug Tested?

    There is no precise data on how often EMTs and Paramedics get tested for drugs and alcohol. It is widely believed that drug testing for paramedics and EMTs does not occur more than every 2-3 years. 

    However, this belief has been challenged by more recent research studies, which show that most agencies conduct frequent drug testing of their workers. Some believe the solution to such a wide opinion gap will be to standardize the frequency of testing of emergency service providers.

    Thus, The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has recommended that drug testing be conducted according to the risk analysis conducted by employers. This analysis can help determine the need for drug testing of paramedics and EMTs.

    This type of standardization will make the management and administration of drug testing for emergency service providers more accessible and consistent. It will also help professionals from other industries, such as law enforcement, compare their practices with those in emergency services.

    What are the consequences of failing a drug test for EMTs and paramedics?

    Failing a drug test for EMTs and paramedics may get you fired from your job even if you did not consume any illegal substances during the time of testing. It can also get you disqualified from employment. 

    Furthermore, failing a drug test for EMTs and paramedics may get you into trouble with the law. It can lead to an arrest if you are found to be under the influence of drugs. If you are suspected of using drugs or alcohol, you may be required to go through a series of tests or even a blood test.


    EMTs and paramedics are drug tested. The fact that thousands of EMTs and paramedics in the country undergo drug testing every year shows the importance of this system for all paramedics and EMT work. Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics is crucial to ensure a safe and efficient EMS system and safe patient care. 


    What are the mechanics of drug testing for EMTs and paramedics?

    Drug testing for EMTs and paramedics can be done through several different methods: blood test, urine test, and a breathalyzer test. However, all tests have a similar goal: to test for the presence of illicit drugs and alcohol.

    How important is it to pass a drug test for EMTs and paramedics?

    It is essential to pass the drug test for EMTs and paramedics. Being employed in the medical field, you will often be with patients suffering from an addiction or recently under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

    If you fail a drug test for EMTs and paramedics, not only will you lose your job, but in some cases, the employer may even call in social services to remove that person from your care.

    How are the results of drug testing for EMTs and paramedics validated?

    Tests are validated through a point system. The system measures various factors, including observed symptoms, the results of standard tests, and things like the practical signs of drug use. This system is then used to analyze the test's reliability.

    How long does it take to get the results of the drug testing for EMTs and paramedics?

    The results will be provided within 48 hours of the test. However, if there is a need to expedite the process, there is a possibility that you can get your results even before 24 hours of the test.

    Older Post Newer Post