City Academy is a training pipeline for Boston residents. There are two free training tracks to City Academy: 1) CDL/Hoisting training and 2) Emergency Medical Technician training. Both tracks prepare trainees to access entry-level City positions that offer:

  • Good pay at or above Boston’s Living Wage (currently $15.87/hr)
  • Health benefits
  • Pensions
  • Union membership
  • Opportunities for advancement


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 and good driving record
  • Meet income guidelines
  • Be drug-free

City Academy is no longer accepting applications for this cycle. Please register below for updates on the next application cycle!

If you would like to be notified when the CDL/Hoisting application opens, please sign up for an alert.

Track I: Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)/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, as well as training and test preparation leading to a  Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and Hoisting licenses (1C/2A classifications).

Training Duration: Four months. See a detailed timeline of program components.

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

Salary: $32,000-$51,000

CDL/Hoisting Training Frequently Asked Questions

Track II: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Training

This training track prepares residents to be eligible for employment as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) with Boston EMS. It includes a job readiness bridge course, an EMT course, and support in completing the EMT certification process and Boston EMS Recruit Academy.

Training Duration: 15 months. Stipends are provided during the 6-month Boston EMS Recruit Academy, which is a full-time commitment. See a detailed timeline of program components.

Jobs: Training is for Emergency Medical Technician jobs with Boston Emergency Medical Services.

Salary: $59,000

Info Sessions: Live virtual information sessions have ended. But you can watch a recording of a session below to learn more about the program from Boston EMS and City Academy staff.

EMT Training Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility and Application 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 additional information.

Q: What is considered a "good" driving record for the purposes of the program?
A: Within the last FIVE 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 here  (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 1st, 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, which will be scheduled by City Academy staff if you are determined eligible for the program:

3. Take reading comprehension testing.

4. Undergo drug testing and CORI review.

5. Begin training if selected for the program.

Program Participation FAQs

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 and 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, which runs 7-10pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and every other Saturday from 9am to 3:30pm.

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, allowing 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.

Employment FAQs

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.

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