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Americans with Disability Acts - Allowable Accomodations

Disability Services

Life EMS Academy/El Paso County ESD #2 Consortium and/or Life EMS Academy will take the steps required for reasonable accommodation to ensure that no individual is excluded, denied service, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services. Support assistance may include note takers, interpreters for the deaf, tutoring, counseling and advising, special arrangements for testing, tape recorders, etc. Persons requesting disability services should complete a request for services by contacting the program director. In many cases, recent documentation of disability may be required.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians administers a separate process from the one used by the consortium for determining whether accommodations for disabilities will be granted during certification examinations. The National Registry establishes reasonable accommodations for disabilities on a case-by-case basis.

Therefore, a student who receives an accommodation during a course has no guarantee of receiving an accommodation for the National Registry’s certifi cation exam.
Americans with Disability Act - Allowable Accomodation. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has implications that pertain to licensure or certification.
The law permits testing that requires the use of sensory, manual, or speaking skills where the tests are intended to measure essential functions of the profession. For example, an applicant with reading diffi culties is required to take a written exam since the ability to read is an essential function of EMS.

Exams are designed at least in part to measure the student’s ability to read.

A second example is one that deals with skills proficiency verifications that must be performed within established time frames. Performing a skill within established time frames is required because speed of performance is an integral part of patient care. Both the ability to read and the ability to perform skills within time frames are essential functions for an EMS provider. Therefore, in EMS, a person with a disability may not be denied the opportunity to take an examination, but this person shall be required to take a written exam and pass the skills profi ciency verifications within established criteria.

The Functional Job Description describes the required skills and job requirements essential to EMS personnel. This description will guide all accommodations permitted for the EMT and Paramedic students.

The following specific points pertain to those involved in EMS training and education programs:

• Students cannot be discriminated against on the basis of a disability in the off ering of educational programs or services.
• There can be no accommodation during screening, evaluation or course examinations that will compromise or fundamentally alter the evaluation of skills that are required to function safely and efficiently in the profession.

•Students who have received an accommodation during the course need to fully understand that there is a separate process for requesting an accommodation for the written certifi cation exam and eligibility for an accommodation is determined on a case- by-case basis. In other words, just because a student was allowed an accommodation during the course does not guarantee an accommodation for the National Registry exam. Documentation confirming and describing the disability should be submitted according to policy for consideration.

There are accommodations that are not allowed in the EMS Program because they are not in compliance with the essential job functions of an EMT or Paramedic as outlined in the Functional Job Description. These include, but are not limited to:
1. Students are not allowed additional time for skills with specific time frames. Obviously patients would suff er due to life threatening conditions in emergency situations if
treatment were delayed.
2. Students are not allowed unlimited time to complete a written exam. This request is not considered reasonable because a candidate should be able to complete a test
within a definite amount of time. Students will be allowed a maximum of time and one-half to complete written exams.
3. Students are not allowed to have written exams given by an oral reader. The ability to read and understand small English print is an essential function of the profession,
and written exams are designed, at least in part, to measure that ability.
4. Students are not provided a written exam with a reading level of less than grade eight. The EMS profession requires a reading level of at least grade eight to work safely and efficiently.
5. Students must take all exams during the scheduled time, as a member of the enrolled class. The ability to utilize knowledge on the spur of the moment is an essential task for EMTs and Paramedics. Exams are given to elicit immediate recall and understanding of emergency situations. Students will be permitted a private space to take the exam.
Refer to the written examination policy of missed exams due to excused absences.
6. Students must answer all written test questions as written. No explanation of the question can be provided by the test proctor or any other individual. Additional descriptions of test questions would not be a reasonable accommodation because reading and understanding written English is an essential part of EMS communication.
Student must be able to understand and converse in medical terms appropriate to the profession.


Because of the critical nature of the tasks needed in emergency situations, accommodation requests are considered very carefully, on a case by case basis. The safety and welfare of the community must be insured while providing full protection of the certifi cation applicant’s rights. The main question to be considered is: with the
accommodation being requested, can this individual perform the essential functions of the job safely and efficiently?

For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, you may call the Governor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities at (512) 463-5739.