EMS Workforce Planning & Development Guidelines


In 2004, a Workforce Agenda published by NHTSA described a future in which all EMS systems have sufficient numbers of well educated, adequately prepared, and appropriately credentialed EMS workers who are valued, well compensated, healthy, and safe. The Workforce Agenda identifies four components critical to developing an EMS workforce that will thrive and be a driving force for achieving an integrated, community-based EMS system. The four components identified through the Workforce Agenda development process are: (1) data and research; (2) education and certification; (3) workforce planning and development; and (4) the safety, health, and wellness of the EMS workforce.

A number of efforts are currently underway by NHTSA and its partners to advance these four components including implementation of a national EMS workforce injury and illness surveillance program (EMS- WIISP) and implementation of the EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach (the Education Agenda).

Further work, however, is needed in the area of workforce data, planning and development.

EMS Workforce Planning and Development Guidelines for State Adoption.

Click here for the Kansas data referenced on page #23.

EMS Workforce Guidelines

In July of 2020, with funding support provided through the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of EMS through a cooperative agreement, NASEMSO initiated a project to determine state EMS office’s current ability to measure and analyze the EMS workforce, as well as to understand current barriers to implementing the 2014 EMS Workforce Planning and Development Guidelines for State Adoption.

A Technical Expert Panel (TEP) was formed by representatives from across the EMS community, along with representatives from five state EMS offices (Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Vermont) to act as pilot states.

Due to the pressing concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic and other circumstances (including the unexpected loss of Jim Detienne, the initial Project Manager, former State EMS Director for Montana, and former NASEMSO President) the project extended into March of 2024.

Put simply, this project demonstrated that numerous challenges remain to the state’s ability to fully measure and analyze the EMS workforce.

The full findings of the project, the experiences of the pilot states, and recommendations for the future are provided through four separate reports, all of which are compiled into this compendium.

Measuring the EMS Workforce Compendium

In measuring and ultimately understanding the EMS workforce, state EMS offices face a daunting and potentially overwhelming task given the heavily nuanced and complex questions which must be answered among their other competing priorities. With this in mind, the TEP gathered for a day and half in March of 2024 to identify priority questions and starting points for state EMS offices in measuring their workforce. The results of that meeting are provided in this report.

Measuring the EMS Workforce: Identifying Priority Unknowns

For More Information

Andy Gienapp, MS, NRP, QAS
Deputy Executive Director