Pass/Fail EMT-B Course


Forum Probie
I just finished talking with a student from Saddleback College (Junior College in CA), that gave me the stats on the percentage of pass/fail/dropped students in her class earlier this year. I quote: " class started off with 48 people, dropped to 20, only 13 of us passed with a B or higher. You have to have an A or B to take the state exam..."

13 people out of 48! My questions are, why do you think almost half of the students dropped the course? Is the class really that hard? Do different states/schools have different grade qualifications to take their state exam?


Forum Chief
There shouldn't be that low of a pass rate. The class is incredibly easy. That's either bad instructing, lazy students, or a combination of the above


Forum Crew Member
Don't panic. Many people decide they don't want to be in EMS after the first few classes. Maybe many think it's an easy A grade and realize later it does take hard work to finish so drop who knows. Having to maintain the higher grade prepares you better for the final test and national Registry. An EMT-B class is really easy if you are dedicated and willing to work for it. It's called Basic for a reason, but you can't think they'll just give it to you. Study your book, practice your skills and you'll do fine.


Forum Chief
I wouldn't go so far to say EMT-B is easy. Not hard by any stretch of the imagination, but it still does take some brain cells to do. It's not just straight up first aid like MFR (Texas ECA [Don't hurt me Chimpie])... there is SOME medicine involved with it, and some medical knowledge does have to be instilled. Not anywhere close to where it could / should be, but it's there, and when people jump from absolutely none, with no science background, it can toss a couple through a loop.

However, in my experience, most drops in EMT are from people who either don't care like they should, or expect something different.

As far as qualifications for certification testing--- All the schools I've seen require you to keep a certain percentage (75%, 80%, whatever) and if you drop below that, you're either kicked from the class, or not allowed to sit for certification.
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Forum Probie
My questions are, why do you think almost half of the students dropped the course?

Don't worry about what others are doing. The only one you have to worry about is yourself. A lot of becoming an EMT is common sense. If you have common sense you will do well. Example: The patient is having problems breathing. . . Give oxygen. The patient is bleeding ... Stop the bleeding.

People drop out of EMT courses for a whole bunch of reasons.

One reason is that it takes a whole lot of time. Its a big commitment that they have trouble meeting. People are busy and time is precious. Its not only the class time, but it is the study time as well. You have to put some effort into this.

Another reason is that some people are just not cut out for this stuff. They say only about 1% of the population is willing to do what EMTs and Firefighters do. Thats not a lot.

If only 13 people passed with a B or better, than you have to look at the instructor. There will always be one person it seems in every class that you just know they are not going to make it, at least the first try. But a large percentage not making it? There's a problem. You don't want to be taking that class.

Don't panic. Read the book. Be prepared before you go to class. You should know what the instructor is going to lecture about before the class and you should be familiar with it. The book gives you the basic knowledge, the instructor puts things in perspective and builds on it. Some instructors teach by asking the class questions throughout the lecture. You should be able to answer those questions. If you can't, you did not put in the effort.

When you leave class, review the chapter the next day to solidify what you have learned.

Relax, you will do just fine. :)


Non flying critical care flight attendant
Reminds me of my first day of Emergency Response for my First Responder cert. I always love to tell this story to people. For the EMT program I was planning to go into required you to have a First Responder cert so most of everybody in the class was planning to become an EMT. Teacher walks in and says "If you don't like to touch people or don't like to be touched, get out of the class now. You picked the wrong field." No lie... nearly half the class walked out, haha! We started off the class by practicing the Heimlich maneuver (not actually pressing into the abd. though, just making a soft j-motion on each others bellies), palpating the carotid pulse, radial pulse, and posterial tibial pulse. Next class... nearly only half the class showed up. I can imagine people just thinking "Freak'n EMT... so homosexual" or something like that, haha. Personally I don't think many people are thrilled to be touched or to touch other people, but it's gotta be done if you plan to be an EMT. I wasn't thrilled at first, but when I started doing my ride along, I couldn't wait to touch people (how wierd is it to say that?). First call on my ride along my instructor found that the pt. RLQ was rigid and asked me if I wanted to feel and I said "Hell yeh". Started feeling... "Hm, feels like a normal stomach", but I started from the top and worked my way down and when I hit it my mind went something like "Oh... that's what it feels like!" I was pretty excited.

Anyhow the same was true with my EMT class (I didn't even take the one that required First Responder, but whatever). Pretty much I noticed that it's usualy the first coupld of class we lose a lot of people most likely people who are in it for lights, siren, uniform, driving fast, and chicks, but then "Pff... I am not gonna do this for that" sort of deal. Afterward, we slowly lost people because they couldn't keep up probably cause they got lazy.


Forum Crew Member
We had a lot of people in our class that didn't take it seriously. Our instructor was more than willing to help but would not force participation. Any grade lower than an 80 was an automatic fail. Those who put forth a little bit of effort and showed up did just fine. We had less than a third of the class make it all the through to finals.


Community Leader
I did EMT in my last semester of College... about to get a Sports Medicine Bachelor's. I could have taken and passed all the exams in my sleep. I had to learn to NOT do certain things due to scope of practice issues.

Yes, I found EMT very, very easy. Paramedic School was also pretty easy. Most of my classmates in EMT school passed. I think there was one fail? It's been 13 years...
Hey guys just saw this post now lol, i just took my EMT class at Saddleback College in orange county, CA.... crazy how shocking the results of my class were, we started out with 50 students... (3 of us female) and we had people drop the day before the final... we had a whopping 19 students pass June 10 2015, best day of my life let me tell you lol, a lot of people thought it was hard and trust me im 19 and right out of hs i too thought it was difficult but i quit my job in order to study for this and nailed it, including the nremt!!! if you are dedicated you can achieve anything


Forum Captain
My summer EMT class last hear had 27 students pass the class including me!!!!!! Apparently, we were the biggest summer class to pass for my school! :)


Forum Ride Along
My class started with 10, and three of us passed our registry. The reasons for people dropping is: two dropped due to the fact they said they would never be able to use a combitube, or king airway on someone. The rest just did want to do the work, or study.


EMS Educator
Old thread but I'll add my input. Most drop because they enter the class thinking it is an easy class as others say in this thread. EMT is not an easy class if it is taught correctly. The 120 minimum hour concept for EMT training has to go. The EMT class I teach is 300 class hours and 48 clinical hours and I feel pressed to get the material through in that time frame (one semester). The one-hour lectures on A&P and Patho have to go. I teach EMT in conjunction with a local college. We require A&P as a pre-req for paramedic education. I am considering it for EMT education as the majority of our students begin at EMT and go all the way though the paramedic degree pathway.


Forum Probie
Hmm... well when I took the class at a CA Community College as well it was very crowded. They had even taught upwards of 50. They said they would no longer do that, if you wanted to be added in the class they would sign you in after 2 or 3 weeks, you had to have perfect attendance or don't even bother. I had perfect attendance and got signed in, didn't matter, by that first 2 weeks people had already dropped off.

A pregnant lady (very small and round, months along) came the first day, she dropped out and would try again next year. :/
One guy had a pregnant gf, she had the baby b/c he missed 2 nights towards the end which were ALL DAY LAB/SKILLS, I thought he was going to drop out but he didn't, and he passed!
We had 4 university students including myself, 1 dropped out, leaving us 3. We didn't even know each other and got close towards the end. It was hard but we all finished but one of the other 2 told me later she didn't pass the class (because of the final).
One person started working as a Medical Assistant in the middle of the semester and their grade plummeted. They also were getting a lot of lates because work ended at the same time class started, and 2 lates could equal an absence if you were late enough because the teacher was going exactly by the hours you completed. So they dropped out.

I think we need to have ~150 or ~156 hrs including lab and even if you miss 2 whole days you could get that exact amount of time in. As it got closer to the end... People in the 40s% 50s% and 60s% started to drop like flies because there was no way to pull up your grade. It was embarrassing to have the teacher call people outside for conference because you knew what was up. A hard head makes a soft behind, like my mom always said, and a lot of people the teacher "suggested they drop" continued on but didn't step their game up didn't study harder, only to get forcefully dropped at a grade cut off, or make it all the way to the end and not pass. What really got people messed up was being late b/c we would have pop quizzes and if you were late you would miss the quiz and get a 0. If you came late and the quiz was still on you would get the quiz but you wouldn't get extra time, so some people would stroll in, see a quiz, go get it from the teacher who would look like :/ :? o __O :/
Give them the quiz. When they sit down the teacher says: "You have 3 minutes left...."

Very sad there was this nice person was in the 54-55-56% range. Anyways, I studied with then, we would text with each other before the exams to refresh memory of topics. They started to sit with the A-B students. They worked their butt off to the high 60s and even broke 70s percentile. To pass the class you need to get at least 75% in the final exam. The exam was 200 questions. They got a 73% in the final! I was crushed I felt so bad for them! So close, but no cigar! I thought that was foul but then I realized that this is skills that are need to save someones life. Do you really want someone who got a C- or a C to be your medic? When you look at it in that perspective, then it all makes sense.

So we started with 45+ and ended with 27ish? And on the night of the final 24 passed the class in the end. The class was hard because there was a lot of information, and pop quizzes, you needed to do. Even missing 1 night could be disastrous if it was a lab skill day and a pop quiz. People dropped out because they were lazy, late, not fully committed, or had other life circumstances like work and babies to take care of. The people who passed either had perfect attendance or were perfect and saved the days or half days they missed for the times the really needed it (I had to catch a train one day, someone had a baby, etc.) Another thing is that people did not take book learning as serious, when most of the class and grade is based on the book!!!!