Ambulance Technician and Paramedics: Summary of Career Education

Sep 26, 2019

Ambulance technicians and paramedics must go through extensive on-site training as well as classroom-based courses. These certifications are divided into EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic training, and each one is more advanced than the last. These courses include everything from basic medical care to pharmacology.

Essential Information

Ambulance technicians and paramedics are often the first people to a medical emergency. They assess the situation and may apply medical treatment as necessary. People in these roles are highly-trained emergency medical technicians (EMTs) that must complete several levels of training and earn certification.

Required Education EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic training
Other Requirements Certification and licensure
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 7%* (for all EMTs and paramedics)
Median Salary (2018) $34,320 per year* (for EMTs and paramedics)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education for Ambulance Technicians or Paramedics

All ambulance technicians and paramedics must complete emergency medical technician (EMT) training. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, own a valid driver's license and have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most programs also require potential students to be certified to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), though some basic programs provide this as part of their curriculum.

EMT Training

The first two levels of EMT training are referred to as EMT-1 or EMT-Basic and EMT-2 or EMT-Intermediate. Students must complete a minimum of EMT-Basic before entering an EMT-Paramedic training program. During EMT training, students gain education in both classroom and practical settings. EMT training programs can be completed in as few as three weeks or last up to six months depending on the program. Programs commonly cover:

  • Medical technician basics
  • Medical equipment and terminology
  • Emergency responsiveness
  • Respiratory and cardiovascular issues

Paramedic Training

Paramedics are the most experienced and educated of all emergency medical response personnel. After becoming EMTs, all prospective paramedics must complete a training program that lasts 6-24 months. This may result in an Associate of Science in Fire Technology or a similar field. Paramedic programs place students in clinical and classroom settings. They typically require 1,200-1,800 hours of clinical experience. Class topics include:

  • Patient health assessment
  • Emergency driving
  • Pharmacology
  • Airway management
  • Unique medical emergencies


All ambulance technicians and paramedics must be certified to gain employment throughout the U.S. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) provides certification exams for those who have completed emergency medical response training ( NREMT exams include written and practical tests that measure physical responsiveness, procedural knowledge and mental acuity. Once someone passes the exam and earns certification, he or she must complete continuing education coursework to maintain certification. Most states don't require additional credentials, but some issue their own licensure exams to either complement or replace the NREMT.

Salary and Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates 7% job growth for paramedics and EMTs in the 2018-2028 decade. Paramedics and EMTs earned median wages of $34,320 annually, as of May 2018.

In order to go through the three stages of EMT and paramedic training you'll need to accumulate hundreds of hours of on-the-job training as well as participate in a large number of classroom lessons designed to teach all aspects of emergency care. Once you earn your certification, there are plenty of jobs available for EMT's and paramedics.

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