Last Updated: September 08, 2021
How to Become a Paramedic?
Candidates who wish to be part of the healthcare sector but do not wish to invest 8-10 years of study for the same will be able to opt for being a paramedic. A paramedic will be in charge of providing emergency medical care to the patients in need and ought not to be confused with an EMT/emergency medical technician. Though they can be said to essential perform the same functions, the duties of a paramedic and the qualifications required to be one differ from that of an EMT. Paramedics are also called EMT-P’s as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Being a paramedic lets candidates act like a link between the site of the emergency and the hospital the patient is being taken to. They will have to provide advanced medical care to the patient during transport using the basic and advanced equipment found in the ambulance. Candidates in this profession will have knowledge and skills that will allow them to function spontaneously since most often they will not have the time to process the event before they provide emergency care. The requirements to become a paramedic change from state to state but most often, candidates will require an associate degree in the field and credentials to practice as a professional paramedic.
Eligibility to Become a Paramedic
The eligibility for being a paramedic in the US includes getting a high school degree or its equivalent with a concentration in the sciences. Candidates will also have to complete a postsecondary non-degree program in EMT and certify as an EMT with clinical training(optional) after which they will be able to enroll for a paramedic program as a diploma, bachelor’s degree, or associate degree. They will then have to get an NRP certification to practice as a paramedic.
The basic requirements are-
- High School Diploma or GED
- EMT Program
- NREMT Certification
- Paramedic Education Program as Associate degree or Bachelor’s degree
- 1,200 to 1,800 hours of clinical training and instruction
- National Registered Paramedic Cognitive Exam
Benefits of Becoming a Paramedic
The benefits of being a paramedic involve the satisfaction the candidates can get in serving and saving people who are in immediate need of medical attention. There is a sense of pride associated with the profession that will be present whether or not they are on duty. Being a paramedic, candidates will be able to gain a lot of experience through the different adventures they will have to be part of every other day.
The major benefits include-
- Candidates will always be able to find job opportunities and career growth irrespective of the situation of the economy. This is mainly due to the number of accidents and other disasters that keep taking place requiring the service of emergency medical care at all times.
- The job will provide stability to the candidate since every year they spend working as a paramedic they will learn more and hence be more valuable in the field without having to learn things in an academic setup later.
- It is an excellent option for people aspiring to be doctors or nurses since they will get hands-on experience of the work set up and will be able to learn whether or not they can be in this profession in the long run.
- People who work in the healthcare sector will also get added benefits like health insurance, dental insurance, vacations, etc.
Steps to Become a Paramedic
The steps to becoming a paramedic include-
- The first step that candidates ought to take is to complete their high school diploma or its equivalent like GED.
- Before enrolling for a postsecondary EMT program, they will have to get their CPR certification since this will be a requirement for the course.
-Paramedics are supposed to get basic EMT training before they apply for a paramedic program. This course will be a postsecondary non-degree program and hence the candidate will be able to complete the course within a duration of fewer than 2 years.
- Upon the completion of this program, candidates will be able to get themselves certified at a state or national level. The most commonly accepted certification in all states is the NREMT/National Registry for Emergency Medical Technician exam. This test comprises a cognitive section and a psychomotor section both of which are conducted as separate exams.
- After this, candidates will have to get into a two-year associate degree program in emergency medical services/EMS or a bachelor’s degree in the same where they will learn how to provide medications, insert IVs and even resuscitate patients.
- Candidates who wish to be paramedics must then write the NRP/National Registered Paramedics cognitive exam. To qualify for the examination, they will have to complete 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training.
Programs to be a Paramedic
Candidates who wish to be a paramedic must initially certify themselves as an EMT. For this, they must attend a postsecondary non-degree program in EMT which will take a duration of 2 years or less than a year depending on the institution they choose. The program they choose will have to be listed as accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. After completing the course, they will have to get certified as an EMT before they can join a paramedic education program.
Candidates will have the option of taking an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree to be a paramedic. The most commonly opted option is that of the associate degree since it takes a duration of 2 years when the bachelor’s program will take a duration of 4 years in all. The program is offered by community colleges, state and private universities, vocational colleges, and technical schools.
The courses that are dealt with during the course include anatomy, physiology, advances life support, etc. which will aid them in their career.
Certifications to be a Paramedic
Candidates who wish to be a paramedic must initially certify to be an EMT after which they will have to do a paramedic educational program that can either be an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. Then, they will be required to take the National Registered Paramedic
examination which is conducted by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
The candidates who are applying for the certification will have to have completed their course within 2 years before the application is being made. They should also have a CPR-BLS for “Healthcare Provider” or an equivalent credential if they wish to apply for the same. The application fee is $152 and the exam that candidates are required to clear is called the cognitive exam. The certification will be valid for 2-3 years depending on when they are taking the test.
Popular Colleges for Paramedic Programs
The most popular colleges for paramedic educational programs are-
- University of California- Los Angeles
Duration- 8 month
Tuition Fee in Standard Format- $10,500 for Program
Tuition Fee for Part-Time- $16,000 for Program
- Weber State University
Duration- 1,200 hours+
- Western Carolina University
BS in EMC- 4 years
Tuition Fee In-State- $1,000 per year
Tuition Fee Out-of-State- $5,000 per year
- Lake Area Technical College
Duration- 1,100 hours/ 52 weeks
Tuition Fee for Course- $3,168
- University of Pittsburgh
BS in EMS- 4 years
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job outlook for the job of a paramedic is estimated to grow 6% between 2019 and 2029. The number of jobs available in the field for the next decade is estimated to be around 265,200 which implies that candidates who take up this field will always be able to find jobs at any point in time irrespective of the state the economy is in.
Their job description will include responding to 911 calls, assessing a patient’s condition, and providing emergency care like resuscitation. They will generally have to provide prehospital treatment that is extensive in nature surpassing what can be done by an EMT. This will include monitoring heart function, providing intravenous and oral medications, etc. Apart from these tasks they will also be required to report the condition of the patient to the physician in charge and also document the medical care they have provided to the patient during travel.
The estimated median salary for the job is around $36,650 per year which amounts to $17.62 per hour.