EMT and Paramedic academic program applicants are required to undergo a police background check. In general, with regard to admission and registration, the National Institute of Emergency Medical Services (NIEMS) will not accept anyone with a felony conviction; however, there are some exceptions that can be appealed on a case-by-case basis. To be consistent with national certification standards, NIEMS has adopted the criminal conviction polices of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians as described below from the NREMT web site:
“EMS practitioners, by virtue of their state licensure, certification, or national registration, have unsupervised, intimate, physical and emotional contact with patients at a time of maximum physical and emotional vulnerability, as well as unsupervised access to personal property. In this capacity, they are placed in a position of the highest public trust, even above that granted to other public safety professionals and most other health care providers. While police officers require warrants to enter private property, and are subject to substantial oversight when engaging in “strip searches” or other intrusive practices, EMTs are afforded free access to the homes and intimate body parts of patients who are extremely vulnerable, and who may be unable to defend or protect themselves, voice objections to particular actions, or provide accurate accounts of events at a later time. Citizens in need of out-of-hospital medical services rely on the EMS System and the existence of state licensure/certification or national registration to assure that those who respond to their calls for aid are worthy of this extraordinary trust. It is well accepted in the United States that persons who have been convicted of criminal conduct may not serve as police officers. In light of the high degree of trust conferred upon EMTs by virtue of licensure, certification, or registration, EMTs should be held to a similar, if not higher, standard. For these reasons, the EMS certifying / licensing / registration agency has a duty to exclude individuals who pose a risk to public health and safety by virtue of conviction of certain crimes.” Criminal offenses are categorized in the following way:
General Denial of Acceptance
Registration of individuals convicted of certain crimes present an unreasonable risk to public health and safety. Thus, applications for certification by individuals convicted of the following crimes will be denied in all cases.
Presumptive Denial of Acceptance
Applications for registration by individuals in [certain] categories will be denied except in extraordinary circumstances, and then will be granted only if the applicant establishes by clear and convincing evidence that certification will not jeopardize public health and safety.
Discretionary Denial of Acceptance
Applications for registration by individuals convicted of [certain] crimes including DUI, but not including minor traffic violations may be denied after consideration of the following factors: Whether the applicant’s actions and conduct since the crime occurred are consistent with the holding of a position of public trust.