Distributive Learning EMS Certification Courses

Bureau of EMS Policy Statement
Policy Statement # 10-02
Date January 5, 2010
Subject Re: Distributive Learning EMS Certification Courses
Supercedes/Updates New

This policy statement addresses distributive learning EMS courses that lead to New York State certification, which are conducted by NYS DOH Bureau of EMS Course Sponsors.


The Bureau of EMS (BEMS) strives to assure that each Course Sponsor offers the highest quality EMS education possible. To continue the success of EMS education in New York State it is imperative that we find new ways to deliver EMS education to the people who need it, while maintaining the quality of the education. Distributive learning can play an important role in the delivery of quality EMS education.

Distributive learning is an instructional model that allows Course Sponsors, instructors, students, and educational content to be located in different, non-centralized locations so that instruction and learning may occur independently. The distributive learning model can be used in combination with traditional classroom-based education, operate independently as a traditional distance learning course, or educators may choose to operate a virtual classroom through television, satellite, telephone, or the Internet.

Course Sponsor Requirements

All Course Sponsors are required to comply with the conditions and requirements specified in Part 800 of the State Emergency Medical Services Code, the administrative policies and procedures outlined in the current Administrative Manual for EMS Educational Programs, its supplements and all other policies and BEMS communications. This policy statement is a supplement to the Course Sponsor's Administrative Manual.

Application Process:

  1. Any distributive learning course, which leads to NYS BEMS certification, must be conducted by a BEMS approved Course Sponsor who has been authorized to teach that level course for at least two years prior to the start of the distributive learning course.
  2. Course Sponsors who wish to utilize distributive learning must file, with the BEMS, a Distributive Learning Course Sponsorship Upgrade Application.
  3. If the distributive learning course will be taught within a county previously authorized by the BEMS through an approved Course Sponsor Application, the sponsor must notify the Regional EMS Council for that county where the course will be located. The NYS DOH BEMS Regional Office for that region will be required to approve the upgrade application and the site(s) where the course will be taught prior to advertising for the course.
  4. If the distributive learning course will be taught within a county which has not been previously authorized by BEMS through an approved Course Sponsor Application, the sponsor must have approval from the Regional EMS Council and the NYS DOH BEMS Regional Office for the county where the course will be taught. The BEMS Central Office must give final approval. If the Course Sponsor plans on teaching more than one course, they must submit an application for Course Sponsorship Upgrade.

Distributive Learning Course Requirements:

The BEMS must assure that all students receive the same high quality education and are held to the same standards whether they are in a traditional classroom or enrolled in a distributive learning class. Course Sponsors must adhere to this standard and abide by the following:

  1. Student and instructor policies and procedures must be updated to reflect any and all changes with reference to distributive learning courses.
  2. A minimum of one Certified Instructor Coordinator (CIC) must be present at each remote/receiving site during practical skills/laboratory and examination sessions.
  3. A minimum of one CIC must be present at the transmission/originating site of lecture sessions. Faculty requirements at receiving sites during lecture sessions is dependant on the site and style of distributive learning. This requirement will be determined by the BEMS Central Office upon application by the sponsor.

Interactive Video/Television/Computer-Based Programs

  1. Ensure that all instructors/faculty are appropriately trained in the technical aspects of operating specific distributive learning equipment.
  2. In the case of interactive television, ensure that each originating site and each receiving site has two-way audio capability so that participants and faculty may communicate throughout the session with little to no delay. In the case of computer-based activity, ensure that timely communications between the students and the CIC are available to address student concerns.
  3. Policies and procedures must be in place in the event of a communications failure to ensure that timely communications are available to address student concerns. This policy may include, but not be limited to rescheduling of classes, assignments and examinations.
  4. Ensure that each interactive television or video site and each receiving site has sufficient projection equipment suitable for transmitting projected images without loss of reproduction quality.
  5. Ensure that each site has audio transmission and receiving equipment suitable for instantaneous two-way communications between all sites.

Equipment and Supplies

  1. Course Sponsors shall have dedicated equipment and supplies necessary to develop the student's competencies defined by the educational session's objectives at each site as required by the course schedules. Sufficient quantities of equipment to meet the objectives shall be available to maintain a minimum participant-to-equipment and instructor ratio of six-to-one.
  2. Course Sponsors shall provide adequate restrooms and common areas, adequate environmental controls to maintain students comfort and safety.
  3. Course Sponsors shall submit an inventory list of all audiovisual equipment, which will be used for the purpose of providing distributive learning courses.

The BEMS encourages Course Sponsors and EMS agencies to offer quality distributive learning opportunities in their areas.