The National Continued Competency Program: What You Need to Know in 2018 for NREMT Recertification

It’s no secret that over the last several years states have struggled with NREMT guidelines for recertification. Some states have completely opted out of the NREMT recertification process while others have streamlined NREMT recertification to match their particular state’s recertification periods. State-specific changes have included everything from adding hours in categories they feel are necessary for their state’s EMS providers to reducing hours in other categories that may not be as relevant—and all of this while trying to follow a national curriculum that seems to change constantly.

The most recent evolution of NREMT recertification guidelines was announced in 2011. After seemingly endless planning and committee meetings at all levels of EMS throughout the country, the National Registry announced that they would be introducing a new model of recertification that was designed to feel like a reduction in the required number of hours. The idea was to employ methodology similar to that used by the American Board of Medical Specialties for other healthcare professions. The National Registry decided that its new recertification model—the National Continued Competency Program (NCCP)—would streamline the recertification process, essentially sorting it into different categories and allowing more local control over continuing education requirements.

The new NREMT recertification has three categories:

    1. National Content – Within the new NCCP model this category is known as the National Core Competency Requirement (NCCR). This section is a non-negotiable for all recertifying EMS providers nationwide. These requirements are based on providers’ levels of certification and constitute 50% of the new NREMT requirements. The topics included in this category are reviewed every four years and reflect current trends and science in EMS and evidence-based medicine as well as national scope of practice changes.
    2. Local Content – The local category of the new NCCP model allows up to 25% of the new recertification requirements to be decided by local entities such as regions, states, and other oversight bodies that are responsible for EMS delivery and education to local providers. Ideally, this category is used for clinical competencies or regionally specific types of patient encounters identified through QA/QI, medical director direction, and other methods to ensure current continuing education through online education, monthly training, conferences, etc.
    3. Individual Content – This category allows each certified and/or licensed EMS professional to choose up to 25% of their total recertification hours from any type of EMS continuing education. The goal of this category is to put the individual providers in control by enabling them to choose the education they feel best benefits them, empowering them to stay up-to-date on the latest science while also gaining in areas they enjoy or feel they need a stronger knowledge base and higher practical skill level.

    Why are there now less hours for NREMT recertification?

    This is a question we hear all the time. Students call in and ask “What do I need to take to re-certify, and why are the hours less?” Even after considerable research and questions at both the national and state levels, we have still not found a satisfying answer to this question.

    The bottom line is that just because the National Registry has reduced the number of required hours for recertification does not mean that most states have followed suit. Georgia, Tennessee, and even Texas, just as quick examples, still require more hours for recertification than just the NCCP requirement. For example, they specifically require hours in Pediatrics that the National Registry does not.

  1. Overall, we should not look at this as a reduction in education hours for recertification but rather as a way to improve and take ownership of our personal and professional continuing education.

    Can I use the NCCP to recertify?

    This is another frequently asked question. The answer is fairly easy, but it depends on the state you have selected as your “home state” in your NREMT profile. Many, but not all, states have adopted the NCCP recertification model.

    • 8 states have opted out of the NCCP requirement
    • 8 states have made it optional
    • 34 states have made it mandatory

    To see if your state is an NCCP state, select your state from the State EMS Agencies Map or view the NCCP map on the Maps & Data page.

    Can I complete all of my education online?

    This is another question we get from thousands of students each year. The answer is YES!

  2. Companies like Medic-CE provide CAPCE-accredited F3 (distributive learning) and F5 virtual, instructor-led training (VILT) programs that are accepted by states and the National Registry hour for hour, just like if you were sitting in a classroom. In rural America, many EMS providers struggle to find enough live hours for their state and national recertification, and online training is an excellent alternative that simplifies continuing education while also making it more convenient.Don’t wait until March 15th to start your recertification for either your state or the National Registry. Give yourself some time. Find the education delivery model that best fits your needs and get it done!
  3. Remember, this profession is a never ending learning process. You don’t just need the CEU; you need to refresh knowledge you haven’t touched in a while. You need to refresh skills you haven’t performed in a bit. Don’t wait until it’s to late. Keep those credentials, and keep expanding your mind!See you in class!

    Judson brings more than 20 years of experience in fire and EMS to his role overseeing Medic-CE. Judson holds numerous EMS teaching credentials and founded one of the first virtual, instructor-led EMS training programs in the United States in 2014. A critical care paramedic and former firefighter/paramedic and flight paramedic, Judson also serves as an officer in an Air Force Reserves aeromedical evacuation squadron. He holds a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and is currently pursuing a PhD in e-learning.

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