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FAQ: NDP EMT Training Program: with Cheryl Hilbrandt, EMT

At NDP EMS, our Education and Training Program is getting ready for an exciting new cohort of EMT students!

We chatted with Cheryl Hilbrandt, EMT about the upcoming training, which starts on September 27th, 2022. Whatever your age or career stage, we encourage you to consider this five-month program that will prepare you for New York State EMT certification - and a role you’ll love.

Cheryl, can you provide us with details of the 2022-23 EMT Education program? Absolutely! It will start on Tuesday, September 27th and run through February 16, 2023. It is a very interactive program full of great content and people. Classes will take place at Bard College in the Olin Language Center from 6-9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we will also meet on some Saturdays from 8-11am. This EMT training is open to anyone who wants to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), as well as those who need the refresher course. The practical exam will take place on Saturday, February 4th, and upon completion of the coursework and a PASS grade on the practical, students will be invited to sit for the New York State certification written exam (most go to the Albany or Poughkeepsie site for that). So, in just 5 months you can be on your way to a new career!

What does an EMT do, exactly? As an Emergency Medical Technician, you can work for a company like NDP EMS or volunteer for one of the local squads. EMTs respond to 911 emergency calls to help people through some of their most difficult moments, and if you work in a paid role, you will also provide hospital transportation as well. It is incredibly fulfilling work - a wonderful way to serve your community while building a great career with loads of benefits.

What do I need to know about registration for the NDP EMS EMT Training?

Pre-registration is required because space is limited. If you have a sponsoring New York State certified EMS agency with whom you work, your registration fee will be covered by New York State. If not, the class fee is $700 per person (plus textbook and online testing fees). We welcome people of all ages, and think that this is especially a great opportunity for high school students and recent graduates who are looking to jumpstart their careers. The course can easily be completed while in school full-time (or working a full-time job). Note that students must be 17 by the time they take the exam in February.

Once I am certified, are there continuing education requirements?

Yes - you will have to recertify, and you can do so one of two ways. Every 3 years you can take a certain number of Continuing Medical Education hours (CMEs), or you can take refresher courses here at NDP EMS. If you take the CMEs, though, you won’t have to complete the practical and written exams again, which is nice.

Is there any other training that also needs to be completed in order to begin my career?

Those who participate in our EMT training will obtain CPR certification during the course of the program. And once you join our team at NDP EMS, you’ll get a driver training and orientation that is specific to our organization.

What do you most love about working in this field, Cheryl?

For me, just being able to help someone when they’re having a struggle or at a low point in their lives is so rewarding. And I love that this line of work allows me to meet so many people and develop connections. I’ve helped at car accident scenes where parents weren’t able to ride in an emergency vehicle with their kids, and it is so meaningful to extend compassion in those situations. One boy asked if I could fill in for his mom on the way to the hospital; it makes me feel so good inside to comfort another person like that. And that’s the heart of what we do - just being there for people and using what we know to help them.

I have been a member of the Tivoli Fire Department for 37 years, a skills instructor in the EMT classes here at NDP EMS for over 11 years, and working in the training and education department for 6. I love working with new students and teaching them what they need to know to serve others in this capacity. And our work with Bard has given us a chance to forge stronger connections with their EMS department, which has been another great example of how we work together with various squads, volunteer groups, individuals, families, and our own team to do good work. I love that aspect of this field - it’s all about the people.

In addition to her role at NDP EMS, Cheryl was appointed to County Car 72 for Dutchess County; she was hired for that position during the height of the global health crisis. We are very lucky to have her as part of the team at NDP EMS, and know that trainees and prospective trainees will be in great hands should they have any questions.

To register for the NDP EMS training program, call or email Cheryl Hilbrandt, EMT, Training & Education at NDP EMS: 845.876.0448 X136 or email:


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