Emergency Medical Bachelor Degree Program Overviews
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.
- Emergency Medicine Program Fields: BS in Emergency Medical Care or Emergency Medical Management
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED, standardized test scores, application fee, EMT-B or paramedic certification for some programs
- Program Length: 4 years
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. 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. 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. Students take liberal arts courses as well as EMT-B certification training in skills and subjects including EMS research and analysis, hazmat handling, pharmacology, and extrication. Other subjects include:
- Pediatric neonatal intensive care
- Emergency cardiology
- EMS law and legal issues
- Disaster management
- Trends in emergency medical services
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. 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. 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, philosophies of leadership, health care policy, finance management, and current issues in health science. Other common courses include:
- Human resource management
- EMS system design
- EMS operations and management
- Development and planning for emergency services
- Ethics in emergency medicine
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.
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 23% for emergency medical technicians and paramedics for 2012-2022. Annual median salaries for EMTs and paramedics in May 2014 were $31,700.