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City Academy

Training Boston residents for City Jobs.

City Academy prepares trainees for jobs as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and for jobs requiring a Commercial Driver’s License and/or Hoisting License within the City of Boston. These City jobs pay above Boston's living wage (currently $17.55 an hour) and offer health benefits, union membership, and opportunities for pay increases. Apply below!


To be eligible to receive free training through City Academy, you must:

  • Be a Boston resident
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have a high school diploma or GED/HiSET
  • Have a valid driver’s license with a good driving record
  • Meet income guidelines
  • Be drug-free

Emergency Medical Technician Training

This training prepares residents to be eligible for employment as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) with Boston EMS with a starting salary is $69,000. Upon successful completion of these programs, individuals will be qualified to take exams for their EMT certification. 

The training options are as follows:

Boston EMS EMT Course
  • Offered twice a year

  • Approximately 6 months

  • In-person: Twice a week during the evening and every other Saturday

Cambridge College EMT Course
  • Offered three times a year
  • Approximately 3 months
  • Hybrid: Twice a week during the evening (online), some Saturdays (in-person)

Apply online

EMT Training FAQs

Q: Are there any additional eligibility considerations?

A: In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, City Academy candidates will need to:

  • pass a reading comprehension test, and
  • be prepared to undergo a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) review before admission to the program.
Q: If I don't have a driver's license, can I get one before the program starts?

A: Boston EMS prefers candidates who already have their license. If you are in the process of getting a driver’s license and want to apply for the program, please contact City Academy staff at for more information.

Q: What is considered a "good" driving record for the purposes of the program?

A: Within the last FIVE (5) years, you can't have any "driving to endanger" or operating under the influence (OUI) violations, citations, or suspensions. Within the last THREE years, you can't have three or more:

  • moving violations
  • citations
  • suspensions. or
  • accidents assessed as a surcharge.
Q: What is the grade level competency necessary to participate in the program?

A: Applicants will need to demonstrate English reading comprehension at a 12th grade level on the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) reading test. You can review information and practice test questions on the TABE testing tool found online. This is just one of many online resources you are welcome to use.

Q: Will the program accept a non-U.S. high school diploma?

A: Yes. However, as outlined above, participants will need to demonstrate English reading comprehension at the 10th grade level. If you have a translation of your diploma, please bring both a copy of the document and the translation when contacted for an interview.

Q: Is a high school senior who will be graduating in June eligible for the program?

A: Yes. As long as you are on track to graduate, you are eligible to apply for the program. Once you are contacted for an interview, please bring a signed letter from your high school guidance counselor that states that you are on track to graduate in June.

Q: Can a 17-year-old who will be turning 18 soon apply for the program?

A: Yes, but applicants must be 18 years old by June 1, 2023, to enroll in the program.

Q: Are non-US citizens eligible for the program?

A: Yes, as long as you are legally eligible to work in the U.S. and able to produce I-9 documentation.

Q: What does the program look for in the CORI review?

A: Boston EMS reviews CORIs on a case-by-case basis and takes into consideration the nature of the crime for which an applicant was convicted and how long ago the crime was committed.

Q: What is the application process?

A: The process consists of five steps:

1. Fill out an application.

2. Bring the following documentation to a screening interview. This will be scheduled by City Academy staff if you are determined to meet then eligibility requirements for the program:

  • A current/valid MA driver’s license
  • Proof of Boston Residency
  • Documentation to complete an I-9 form
  • Proof of income
  • Educational transcripts
  • A current resume (if you have one)

3. Take reading comprehension testing.

4. Undergo drug testing and CORI review.

5. Begin training if selected for the program.

Q: How much does it cost to participate in City Academy?

A: City Academy is a free training program. However, participants are expected to make the appropriate time commitment to ensure they are prepared for the Boston EMS EMT hiring process.

Q: How long is the City Academy EMT training program?

A: All components take place over a combined 13 months (non-consecutive), beginning in August 2023. The training includes:

  • a bridge course (2 weeks)
  • the Boston EMS Basic EMT Course (6 months), and
  • the Boston EMS EMT Recruit Academy (6 months).

City Academy staff will offer follow-up support services for a year after completion of the Basic EMT Course.

Q: What is the training schedule?

A: There are five components to the EMT training program:

1. Job Readiness Bridge Course:

The job readiness component of training will take place in August 2023. It will include approximately 20 to 30 hours of training.

2. Basic EMT Course:

From August 2023 to January 2024, participants will begin the basic EMT course. This runs 7 - 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and every other Saturday from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

3. Certification Process:

From January 2024 to April 2024, students start the NREMT and state EMT certification process. This includes:

  • scheduling and passing NREMT practical and written exams and
  • after passing, submitting a certification application to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services.

4. Boston EMS Application and Recruit Academy:

Boston EMS will strive to schedule an EMT-recruit hiring date probably in fall 2024 or winter 2025. This will allow participants sufficient time to pass all necessary state exams. Candidates who successfully pass the hiring process will be enrolled in a six-month EMT Recruit Academy, which is a full-time, paid position with Boston EMS and a prerequisite for all EMT hires.

5. Graduation and Employment:

EMT recruits who successfully complete the academy will be promoted to full-time Boston EMS EMTs. Graduates will continue to receive supports from City Academy staff as needed for up to a year after job placement.

Q: What stipends will participants receive?

A: The EMT Recruit Academy stipend is over $900 per week for 40 hours per week for 6 months. The rest of the program is unpaid, but participation is free and all program-related expenses are paid by City Academy, including MBTA fares to and from training.

Q: Do program participants receive benefits during training?

A: Benefits are available during the EMT Recruit Academy component of the program. While in the academy, recruits begin accruing sick and vacation time as employees of Boston EMS, although they may not yet use this time off during their six months in the academy.

Q: Are positions with Boston EMS guaranteed to City Academy participants?

A: No. City Academy participants will go through the same written and practical testing and interview process as other candidates that apply for an EMT position with Boston EMS. However, the training provided through City Academy will uniquely prepare participants to perform well in Boston EMS’s assessment and interview process.

Q: What benefits do EMTs receive as Boston EMS employees?

A: If you complete the Recruit Training Academy and are become a full-time EMT with Boston EMS, your starting salary is approximately $59,000. Other benefits include:

  • Chances for paid night and weekend differential
  • Paid vacation, holiday, and sick time
  • Membership in a labor union
  • Health insurance and dental coverage
  • Life insurance and other optional insurance programs
  • Participation in the State Boston Retirement System
  • A Deferred Compensation Plan
  • A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
  • An Employee Assistance Program
  • An MBTA Pass Program
Q: Do EMTs hired by Boston EMS gain union membership?

A: Yes. When a candidate becomes a full-time EMT with Boston EMS, they gain membership in a labor union.

Q: Which union represents Boston EMS employees?

A: The Boston EMS department’s EMTs and Paramedics are represented by the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, EMS Division.

Q: After someone passes the National Registry EMT exam and certification process, how often do they need to renew certification?

A: When someone completes the national certification process between January 1 and June 30, they will receive an expiration date of March 31 two years in the future. Individuals successfully completing the national certification process between July 1 and December 31 will receive an expiration date of March 31 three years in the future.

Commercial Drivers License/Hoisting Training

This training track prepares residents for jobs that require a CDL license for potential placement in various City departments. It includes:

  • a job readiness bridge course and site visits to participating City agencies, and
  • training and test preparation leading to a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and Hoisting licenses (1C/2A classifications).

Training Duration: Four months

Jobs: Training is for semi-technical jobs with the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Department of Public Works, Parks Department, and Boston Housing Authority.

Salary: $32,000 - $51,000

Please note: The Commercial Drivers License/Hoisting Training application is closed. The program will resume in the fall. Sign up online for program updates.

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