As of January 2007, would-be EMTs will no longer have to spend agonizing weeks waiting for test results before they begin applying for a job. Through an agreement with Pearson VUE, Inc., the National Registry of EMTs is transitioning its paper-and-pencil exams to a computer-based testing program that will provide a valid and reliable exam process. Students will have their test results as early as the next business day.
“There are a variety of reasons we’re doing this,” says NREMT Associate Director Gregg Margolis, MS, NREMT-P. “The most important reason is to improve the accuracy and fairness of the evaluation, but another benefit includes greater access. The reality is, computer-based testing is going to give candidates more options for testing—they can choose when and where they want to test.”
People will still have to go to a secure testing center, Margolis explains, but they will no longer have to wait until a test is offered in their community. If space is available at a testing center on a given day, candidates can sign up to take the test at that time, possibly on the day they call. Exams will even be offered evenings and weekends.
“Control will be in the hands of the candidate,” says Margolis, “not as it is now, where all candidates have to be available at the same place and time as a test proctor is available. This is a fabulous opportunity for EMS to increase both the credibility of the certification process and testing flexibility for candidates, and to decrease turn-around time. While there will be some modest cost increases, the advantages will far outweigh any disadvantages.”
NREMT will spend the next two years developing and distributing information about the new process in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.