Paramedics need to complete a training program and pass a licensure exam before they can work. Maintaining a career in the field requires continuing education.
Pre-Licensure Education Requirements
Before taking the EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P) licensure exam, aspiring paramedics need to complete a postsecondary training program. These programs typically confer certificates or associate's degrees.
Before enrolling in an EMT-P training program, students need to have completed EMT-Basic (EMT-B) and Advanced EMT training programs. However, some programs include both EMT-B and paramedic training. Additional requirements include:
- High school diploma
- CPR certification
- Criminal background check
- Physical exam
- Proof of updated immunizations
EMT-P training programs consist of a mixture of academic and hands-on training. Clinical fieldwork is a critical component of paramedic training, and students often take part in field experiences with an EMS service. In programs that lead to associate's degrees, students are also required to fulfill general education requirements. Topics of study and practice in EMT-P programs include:
- Patient assessment
- Endotracheal intubations
- Intravenous medication administration
Paramedic Licensure Exam
In order to become a licensed paramedic, individuals typically must pass a licensing exam once they've completed their training program. In some states, successful completion of the paramedic certification exam offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians examination (NREMT) leads to licensure, while other states have their own licensing examinations.
Paramedic Licensure Renewal
In most cases, paramedics need to renew their licenses every two years after taking the NREMT or state examination. This usually entails completion of continuing education classes, although specific requirements depend on the state. Programs may be offered through community colleges or by private organizations, either on-campus, online or in hybrid formats. Some providers offer broad, general continuing education programs, while others offer courses in particular topics, including the following:
- Disaster management
- Anaphylactic reactions
- Rodeo injuries
- Geriatric assessment
- Cultural diversity and EMS
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average hourly wage for EMTs and paramedics was approximately $17.36 as of May 2016. The BLS also reports that the number of employed EMTs and paramedics was expected to increase by 24% from 2014-2024, which is considerably faster than the national average for all other occupations.
Before they can become licensed, EMT-Paramedics need to pass a training program. Then, they must pass an exam and maintain their status by regularly fulfilling continuing education requirements.