California students have several options for paramedic training. Certificate and associate's degree programs are widely available at community colleges, technical schools and junior colleges throughout the state. Curriculum in these programs includes training in anatomy and physiology, emergency medical procedures, ethics and patient communication. Programs combine classroom study, clinical practice and field work. All of the programs described below meet state and national licensing requirements.
American River College
This Sacramento school offers a certificate and a degree program. To enroll in one of these programs, students must first have a high school diploma or its equivalent, a 'C' grade in prerequisite coursework and EMT-Basic (EMT-B) certification with 1 year of verifiable experience. Courses are taught through classroom study, clinical practice and field internships. The certificate can be earned by completing 36.5-46.5 units of study. To earn the associate's degree, students augment their training with general education courses to bring their total to 60 units of study.
At this school in Oroville, students may earn either a Certificate of Achievement in Emergency Medical Technology/Paramedic or an Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Technology/Paramedic. Successfully completing either of these programs will qualify students to take the NREMT-P exam. EMT certification is required to be accepted into the programs. Although it isn't required, the school encourages students to gain practical experience as an EMT before beginning their studies. The paramedic core curriculum is comprised of 7 courses, 2 of which have prerequisites. Additional general education courses are required to earn the degree.
City College of San Francisco
This San Francisco school has certificate and degree programs for aspiring paramedics. Both of these programs require students to have a high school diploma or GED, CPR certification, a CA driver's license and EMT-B certification, preferably with 3-6 months of ambulance experience. Full-time students can earn the certificate in 5-6 semesters or the associate's degree in 6 semesters, both of which include summer study. Students are taught advanced skills in patient assessment, cardiac life support, airway management, pediatric care and other related pre-hospital care essentials. Final student assessments are implemented during a field internship. Successful completion of either program qualifies students to take the NREMT-P exam.
In Los Altos Hills, students at Foothill College can earn a Certificate of Achievement Paramedic or an Associate in Science Paramedic. To enter either of these programs, a student must have EMT certification and at least 6 months of full-time experience or comparable part-time work history. The core program requires 12-18 months of study and includes lectures, clinical rotations in hospitals and an ambulance field internship. The certificate can be earned by completing 56.5 units of study. Students seeking an associate's degree must earn an additional 50 units of study.
Mt. San Antonio College
This school in Walnut also offers both certificate and degree programs. It's important that students have a reliable form of transportation for these programs because some of the fieldwork and clinical instruction sites may be up to 50 miles away from campus. Students who complete the certificate curriculum and a series of general education classes can earn the associate's degree. The programs are open to those with current EMT-B certification and EMS agency verification that the prospective student has performed at least 1,200 hours of pre-hospital fieldwork, including transportation experience. The program begins with a prerequisite course, from which final program entry is determined, and students are strongly encouraged to study all the foundational EMT materials before the class begins.
This San Marcos institution offers a 2-semester training program that begins with classroom instruction, progresses through hospital clinical practice and culminates in a field internship. Prospective students undergo testing and an interview as part of the admission process. Students must also show current EMT-B certification and proof of at least 6 months of paid, full-time, EMT work experience. Background checks and drug testing must be completed before students begin the clinical portion of the program.
Students in Mission Viejo may find this Paramedic program best suits their needs. To be admitted, students must first have their EMT-B certification and 1 year of experience working on an emergency response vehicle. The school recommends students complete studies in medical terminology, paramedic preparation and cardiac dysrhythmias before beginning the paramedic program. The actual paramedic program consists of 3 classes.
Santa Rosa Junior College
There are certificate and degree options at this Santa Rosa junior college. The certificate is earned through a 39.3-unit program that includes 3 prerequisite courses. To participate in the program, students must have a high school diploma or GED and a current EMT-1 (or Basic) certificate, meet program health standards and complete background checks. To earn the Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic degree, students complete 46 units of core studies, and classes must be taken sequentially. The associate's degree program has the same admission criteria as the certificate program. Successful completion qualifies students to take the NREMT-P exam.
Another school with both certificate and degree programs is located in Chula Vista. Both programs require students to first complete 3 prerequisite courses. The core classes for the paramedic programs are spread out over 3 semesters, including a summer session that involves clinical practice and field training. To earn the associate's degree, students take an additional 10 units of general education classes. Students who already have paramedic certification and wish to earn an associate's degree may be eligible to earn up to 35 units of credit for past experience.
This Ventura school allows students to earn a Certificate of Achievement in Paramedic Studies or an Associate in Science in Paramedic Studies. To enroll in these programs, students need to complete a series of prerequisite courses or pass placement exams. Prospective students also need to have EMT-B certification along with at least 6 months of full-time experience with an emergency response provider. Once admitted, students must earn at least a 'B' in all paramedic courses to complete the program successfully. General education courses are required, in addition to the paramedic core studies, to earn the degree.
Paramedics in this state must be licensed. California uses the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians - Paramedic (NREMT-P) exam for licensure and requires paramedic programs to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Paramedic Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|American River College||2-year, public, large suburb|| Paramedic Certificate,
Associate of Science - Paramedic
|$1,104 in-state, $7,440 out-of-state*|
|Butte College||2-year, public, distant rural|| Certificate of Achievement in Emergency Medical Technology/Paramedic,
Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Technology/Paramedic
|$1,364 in-state, $6,404 out-of-state*|
|City College of San Francisco||2-year, public, large city|| Paramedic Certificate,
Associate of Science Paramedic
|$1,598 in-state, $7,554 out-of-state*|
|Foothill College||2-year, public, large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement Paramedic,
Associate in Science Paramedic
|$1,551 in-state, $8,391 out-of-state*|
|Mt. San Antonio College||2-year, public, large suburb|| Certificate of Completion as an Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic,
Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Services
|$1,348 in-state, $7,960 out-of-state*|
|Palomar College||2-year, public, small city||Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic Training Program||$1,338 in-state, $7,078 out-of-state*|
|Saddleback College||2-year, public, large suburb||Paramedic Program||$1,326 in-state, $5,750 out-of-state*|
|Santa Rosa Junior College||2-year, public, midsize city|| Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic Certificate,
Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic Program
|$1,318 in-state, $6,637 out-of-state*|
|Southwestern College||2-year, public, large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic,
Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic
|$1,336 in-state, $5,452 out-of-state*|
|Ventura College||2-year, public, midsize city|| Certificate of Achievement in Paramedic Studies,
Associate in Science in Paramedic Studies
|$1,388 in-state, $7,050 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Council for Education Statistics College Navigator.