Emergency Medical Bachelor Degree Program Overviews

Discover what options you have in bachelor's degree programs in emergency medicine. Learn what careers each degree will prepare you for, and find out what each program entails.

Essential Information

Bachelor's degree programs for professionals in emergency medical care are still rare, hosted by around a dozen colleges and universities across the nation. These degree programs train EMTs and paramedics to become leaders in emergency medicine settings, or move on to policy, research and management positions.

There are many different options in bachelor's degree programs. You might consider a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care, which may require you to already have experience in the field or hold an EMT-B or paramedic certification. Another option is a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Management. This degree is not designed to train you to work as an emergency medical professional. Instead, it is for those wishing to work in areas like management and teaching.

Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care

There are only about a dozen colleges and universities across the country that offer bachelor's degree programs in emergency medicine. These 4-year degree programs are designed to train candidates to manage and lead in pre-hospital care settings. After completing EMT-B and paramedic training, the degree is capped with a year of leadership studies.

Bachelor's degrees in this field might open doors to advancement or related careers, such as operations experts, supervisors or managers of emergency services. A bachelor's in emergency medical care could also qualify graduates to pursue further degrees to become doctors, physician assistants or nurses.

Education Prerequisites

Application requirements generally include high school or college transcripts, a non-refundable application fee and standardized test scores. Depending on the college's specific program design, applicants may be required to already hold EMT-B or paramedic certification, but several colleges train students from scratch.

Program Coursework

Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care degrees generally take four years to complete, though applicants who already hold EMT or paramedic certification may be eligible for credit transfers or reductions in course requirements. The first two years usually consist of liberal arts education as well as EMT-B certification training in skills and subjects such as:

  • Pediatric neonatal intensive care
  • EMS research and analysis
  • Extrication
  • Hazmat handling
  • Pharmacology
  • Emergency cardiology
  • EMS law and legal issues
  • Disaster management
  • Trends in emergency medical services

Popular Career Options

While graduates are well prepared to work as paramedics with fire departments and other first responder services, the bachelor's degree equips graduates with the skills necessary to work in management, policy and research positions as well. Possibilities include:

  • Health care management specialist
  • Paramedic trainer
  • Emergency medicine researcher
  • Public safety administrator

Continuing Education Information

Students interested in pursuing higher education after graduating from a bachelor's degree program in emergency medical science frequently go on to enter medical school, physician's assistant programs, or seek out master's degrees in fire science and public safety. Several post-baccalaureate graduate certificates in emergency medicine are available to graduates of undergraduate EMS programs.

Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Management

Another option for people interested in earning a bachelor's degree in emergency medical services is the B.S. in Emergency Medical Management, offered by a handful of colleges and universities. These degree programs are not so much training programs for emergency care providers as they are for preparing candidates for management, leadership and teaching positions. An emphasis of such programs is on how public health, public safety and healthcare interact.

Education Prerequisites

Most bachelor's degree programs in emergency medical management require applicants to hold at least an EMT-B certification as a prerequisite for admission. Other application materials generally include an essay or statement of interest in the program, high school or college transcripts, letters of recommendation and standardized test scores.

Program Coursework

While admitted students must possess basic emergency first responder skills, emergency medical management degree programs do not usually train students in advanced emergency medicine. Students study incident management, disaster planning, emergency response, homeland security issues and philosophies of leadership.

  • Health care policy
  • Human resource management
  • Current issues in health science
  • EMS system design
  • EMS operations and management
  • Development and planning for emergency services
  • Finance management
  • Ethics in emergency medicine

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

The career path for graduates of bachelor's degree programs in EMS is difficult to categorize, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a much faster than average growth of 33% for emergency medical technicians and paramedics for 2010-2020. Annual median salaries for EMTs and paramedics in May 2012 were $31,020.

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