Authors: Edward Oliphant, BA, NRP Santa Fe Community College; Logan Smestad, BA, NRP University of Minnesota Medical School; Jackson D. Déziel, PhD, MPA, NRP Western Carolina University

Objective:  Most states mandate an EMT candidate reach eighteen years of age before initial certification/licensure. Additionally, many EMS employers require potential employees reach the age of twenty-one before employment. Yet, EMT courses administered through high schools have grown in popularity. Given the disparity between regulatory policies and educational program requirements regarding candidate age, the predictive nature of student age on EMT course success warrants closer examination.

Methods: This study evaluates student age as a predictive measure in relation to the summative Fisdap EMT Readiness Exam 2.0 (ERE2). A retrospective analysis of the ERE2 exam was performed utilizing Fisdap educational data. Analysis employed student age as a predictive measure of ERE2 success. EMT students aged 14 to 99 years were included for analysis. Multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted using robust standard errors while controlling for potential confounders.

Results:  A sample of 26,482 EMT students were included for analysis. Results indicated that age is a positive predictor of success on the ERE2. Students under the age of 25 (referent) had statistically significant lower scores than older students. These lower scores ranged from one to six-points (p<0.0001) on a typical one-hundred-point scale. Students over 45 years of age showed no statistically significant differences in ERE2 score.

Conclusion: As EMT educational offerings continue to target an increasingly younger student population, educators must carefully assess the readiness of incoming students. Older students earn higher scores on the ERE2 than do their younger peers. Furthermore, younger students may require a disproportionate amount of resources to achieve the same level of success as their older peers.