Physician Medical Direction of Emergency Medical Services Education Programs

Revised September 2016

Reaffirmed October 2008, October 2002

Originally approved January 1997 


As an adjunct to this policy statement, ACEP has prepared a policy resource and education paper (PREP) titled "Physician Medical Direction of EMS Education Programs"


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), and the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) believe that changing technology, advances in research, and changing health care delivery systems, require the active involvement of knowledgeable, identifiable, and responsible physician medical directors in the provision of emergency medical services (EMS) education programs, including initial and continuing education programs. The role of the physician medical director of an EMS education program is:

  • to approve the medical and academic qualifications of the faculty, the accuracy of the medical content, and the accuracy and quality of medical instruction given by the faculty; to routinely review student performance and progress and attest that the students have achieved the desired exit-level of competence prior to graduation; 
  • to participate in faculty selection and curriculum development, maintain authority over presentation of medical content, and to assure that faculty teach medical practice in accordance with the best available evidence and current standards of prehospital care.
  • to serve as an active member of the program’s education team helping to ensure quality instruction and student success.

The physician medical director's qualifications should include:  

  • knowledge of current EMS scope of practice and legislation relating to education programs;
  • training and experience in emergency care delivery and medical direction of EMS systems; and
  • appropriate credentials attesting to experience in coordinating and teaching related education programs.

The physician medical director’s qualifications will meet or exceed those described in the Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in the Emergency Medical Services Professions. The Standards are published by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP) and reflect broad consensus on behalf of emergency medicine related agencies. The physician medical director should be provided with compensation commensurate with responsibility.

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