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AAS in Emergency Medical Services: Degree Overview

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Emergency Medical Services programs educate students in the basics of emergency medical care provision. Successful students can go on to work as first responders.

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Essential Information

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Emergency Medical Services programs train students in basic emergency care, intubation and how to administer medications. This degree requires two years of full-time study to complete. Programs combine classroom work with extensive hands-on training in ambulances and hospital emergency departments. Students earn emergency medical technician (EMT) certification during these programs, and graduates qualify to take the paramedic certification examination.

Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent for admission to an Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services program. Students need to have passed high school courses in math and science, such as biology, anatomy, algebra and chemistry. Some schools also require students to have taken English and composition.


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Associate of Applied Science Degree in Emergency Medical Services

Along with general education courses, students take specific courses related to emergency medical services. Students start with EMT certification classes, and then progress to more advanced topics of study. Courses cover the following areas:

  • Obstetrics
  • Cardiac life support
  • Basic First Aid and CPR
  • Airway management
  • Pharmacology
  • Legal issues involving health care

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for emergency medical technicians and paramedics should grow by 23% from 2012-2022, due mainly to an increase in medical emergency calls resulting from an aging population (www.bls.gov). Jobs are also expected to be available for volunteers, according to the BLS. The BLS said that in May 2015, the median salary for EMTs and paramedics was $31,980.

Continuing Education and Certification

Requirements vary, but all states require licensing for EMTs and paramedics, either through state tests or the certification examination given by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The certification test for paramedics consists of a written exam and practical skills demonstrations in 12 areas. Some paramedics who hold associate's degrees go on to earn bachelor's degrees in health care.

If you dream of a job working directly with patients during medical crises, an AAS in emergency medical services may be the right degree for you. After you finish, you will need to become state certified before you can start working in the field.

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