A national assessment of the roles and responsibilities of training officers

Melissa A. Bentley, Jennifer J. Eggerichs-Purcell, William E. Brown, Robert Wagoner, Gregory C. Gibson, Ritu Sahni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction. Since the inception of emergency medical services (EMS), individuals have assumed the role of "training officer" without a clear and concise description of the responsibilities inherent in this position. Furthermore, EMS system leaders rely heavily on these individuals to implement changes within an EMS system and to ensure the competency of practicing out-of-hospital professionals. The limited understanding of and research in training officer roles highlight the need for study in this area. Objectives. Specific objectives of our study were to describe demographic and work-life characteristics of training officers, estimate the number of hours spent on specific training officer tasks in a typical week, and determine methods of training officer appointment and education received after appointment. Methods. This was a questionnaire-based cross-sectional census analysis of all training officers in the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) database. This questionnaire contained items related to demographics, work-life characteristics, and specific roles and responsibilities of training officers. Descriptive statistics, chi-square, and Mann-Whitney U tests were utilized to assess specific differences among training officers. Results. Over 2,500 individuals responded to this questionnaire (2,528/4,956). The majority of the respondents were male (79.0%), held a full-time salaried position (64.9%), and were of nonminority status (93.4%). Individuals reported an overall median number of years worked in EMS of 19.0 (standard deviation [SD] = 8.7, range = 0-45) and a median of 4.0 years of serving as a training officer (SD = 5.1, range = 0-33), and planned to serve as a training officer for a median of 10.0 years (SD = 7.6, range = 0-50). The highest median numbers of hours spent on specific training officer tasks in a typical week were for providing patient care (median = 8.0, SD = 18.1); developing, delivering, and accounting for continuing education (median = 5.0, SD = 9.8); department administration (median = 5.0, SD = 12.8); and performing run reviews (median = 3.0, SD = 6.4). Conclusion. The role of the training officer in ensuring the continued competence of the EMS professional has not been delineated in this paper, and future efforts should seek to answer this research question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-378
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • emergency medical services
  • system administration
  • training officers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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