To enter a paramedic certification program, students must first have EMT-Intermediate certification. The program is generally offered in an online format and can be completed in one year. Students receive the training needed to prepare for the certification examination administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
After program completion, graduates must pass the NREMT paramedic exam in order to begin working in the field. Paramedic certification is also the highest level of EMT certification available to individuals, so further education is typically required to advance in the medical field.
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Paramedic Certification Program
This program combines in-class instruction with clinicals and internships to give individuals the skills they need. Students gain advanced knowledge in anatomy and physiology, health services and pharmacology, as well as learn how to use medical equipment and perform life saving techniques. Though course names may vary, required classes often include some variations on the following:
- Medical terminology
- Trauma management
- Cardiovascular pathophysiology
- Psychiatric emergencies
- Gynecology and pediatrics emergencies
- Transport of critical care patients
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median salary for paramedics and EMT per year in May 2015 was $31,980 (www.bls.gov).The BLS also projected a 24% increase in employment for certified paramedics and emergency medical technicians between 2014 and 2024. Many of these job opportunities will arise in response to the void left by workers who leave the occupation due to its limited opportunities for advancement. However, those who exhibit exceptional skill within the field can advance to become executive directors, operations managers, administrative directors or supervisors.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
After completion of an online paramedic certificate program, graduates are eligible to take the NREMT certification exam to become certified. The exam consists of cognitive and psychomotor components; the former section is computer-based and requires demonstration of knowledge of EMS operations, while the latter is a hands-on test requiring demonstration of IV, ventilatory management and other skills.
Paramedics wishing to build upon their knowledge of health care may pursue a degree program in order to become registered nurses or physicians.
Obtaining paramedic certification equips paramedics with the essential skills needed to perform their job and for credentials to stand out among other candidates. With job growth slated from 2014 through 2024, it's a career path with great potential.