Technical Standards

As an Emergency Medical Services student, it is necessary to possess certain physical, mental and emotional abilities/skills to function effectively and efficiently in the role of health care provider. The Emergency Medical Services student must also demonstrate a set of abilities/skills referred to as 'technical standards' which include the following six (6) categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, behavioral/social and emotional intelligence.

Reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a student must be able to perform in an independent manner. Such accommodations will be provided in accordance with Disabilities Services at Johnston Community College. The following abilities/skills are required, with or without accommodations.

Abilities and Skills Necessary for the Profession:

  • Physical and mental proficiency
  • Energy to fulfill responsibilities of the role
  • Visual acuity (with corrective devices as needed)
  • Color vision, depth perception, peripheral vision
  • Auditory acuity (with corrective devices as needed)
  • Speech which can be understood by all persons across the lifespan
  • Tactile ability
  • Manual dexterity of all limbs
  • Strength to push, pull, and lift
  • Strength/ability to carry, stoop, squat, and bend
  • Ability to:
    • Reach above shoulder height
    • Stand/walk for long periods of time
    • Organize and effectively manage time to meet deadlines
    • Perform neat and accurate work
    • Respond to increasing pressure, emergencies and workloads
    • Set priorities
    • Communicate effectively with the health care team and consumer of health care services, both verbally and non-verbally
    • Document completely and legible, using acceptable professional terminology
  • Computer Literacy

Technical Standards of the Profession:


EMS students must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe and participate in the classroom, laboratory, and all clinical settings.

  • Functional Vision – 1) see from 20 inches to 20 feet and beyond, 2) use depth perception and peripheral vision, and 3) distinguish color and color intensity.
  • Hearing – Be able to hear sounds at varying levels (normal speaking volume, faint voices, faint body sounds and equipment alarms).
  • Olfactory – Be able to detect odors from patients and the environment.
  • Tactile Sensation – Be able to adequately and accurately observe or assess clients and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in the care of clients or groups of clients.


EMS students must be able to communicate effectively in the classroom, laboratory, and all clinical settings. Student must be able to:

  • Communicate effectively in English both verbally and in writing
  • Recognize, understand, and interpret instructional material required during medical education
  • Use appropriate grammar, spelling, and vocabulary when completing classwork and clinical documentation that is submitted into Platinum Planner, and
  • Work cooperatively and professional with other (i.e. EMS, Fire Department personnel, hospital personnel, patients, family members of patients, bystanders, etc.)


EMS students must have sufficient motor function to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and to provide effective, quality care to clients. Motor function includes both gross and fine motor skills, strength, coordination, and physical stamina.

  • Gross Motor Skills
    • EMS students must be able to:
      • Sit and stand while maintaining balance in the educational setting and in the ambulance; while working above and below waist height
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • EMS students must be able to:
        • Write, type, pinch, pick up, grasp, squeeze, and otherwise work with fingers
      • Strength, Coordination, and Stamina
        • EMS students must be able to:
          • Stand, stoop, move quickly, do repetitive movements, walk, climb stairs, back-up stairs with weight (50lbs), push/pull weight (up to 100 lbs.), lift weight (up to 100 lbs.), crouch kneel, bend and twist for extended periods of time.
          • Lift and carry a minimum of 30 lbs. several times per hour
          • Lift and move up to 300 lbs. with the assistance of 2-3 persons


EMS students must be able to perform measurements and calculations, read charts and graphs, adhere to professional ethics and demonstrate a professional manner and insight in the communication process. In order to complete any coursework in the paramedic major, the student must be able to demonstrate mastery in reading and comprehension and use them together to demonstrate critical thinking and clinical reasoning. 1) Plan/control activities for others, 2) Use appropriate knowledge and skills, and 3) sequence information.

Behavior and Social

EMS students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and prompt completion of all academic and client care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with clients and other members of the health care team is essential. The role requires flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation and the ability to 1) control interpersonal conflict, 2) respect differences among patients and other medical staff, and 3) establish rapport with patients and their family members and co-workers.

Emotional Intelligence

EMS students must possess and further develop emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence encompasses knowledge and management of one's own emotional life and the skills to process the various workplace and client situations that arise including death of a client unexpectedly or with prolonged suffering, negative responses to care, or strained work environments or coworker relationships. Responses to giving and receiving feedback both positive and negative are also a part of emotional intelligence. EMS students must be able to 1) adapt to ever-changing, unpredictable and stressful situations, 2) monitor own emotions, 3) perform multiple responsibilities concurrently, 4) handle strong emotions during and following stressful events from patients, family members, bystanders and other professionals and 5) recognize, process and develop coping strategies that may be used to mitigate the emotional toll that highly intense situations encountered with EMS may take on the technician.


Health care and Emergency Medical Services are often delivered in high stress areas, requiring management of multiple roles, tasks and decisions simultaneously. The equipment and supplies used in the delivery of care may present a danger to individuals with sensitivities and allergies, especially to certain fumes and/or latex products.

Risks for Health Care Providers

The EMS student must be aware of potential risks related to the delivery of health care which may include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Exposure to communicable and infectious diseases
  2. Exposure to blood and body fluids
  3. Exposure to radiation
  4. Cuts and punctures
  5. Environmental hazards (e.g. slippery floors, various levels of lighting, various room temperatures, etc.)
  6. Exposure to biological, chemical and/or electrical hazards
  7. Assault and battery
  8. Legal/Ethical Dilemmas
  9. Liability Issues