Online emergency medical services (EMS) degree programs are most frequently offered at the associate's degree level via technical schools and community colleges. The comprehensive programs cover both, basic emergency medical technician (EMT) training as well as paramedic training. Successful program completion prepares graduates to pass state and national certification exams as well as obtain a state license to work in the profession. Online EMS degree programs are delivered in hybrid format which blends online courses with in-person requirements, such as field and clinical internships.
Information and Requirements
Associate's degree programs are typically 60-75 credit-hours long. Some schools, however, offer an accelerated track requiring only about 30 credit-hours of coursework. As such, these online programs can usually be completed in one or two years.
Students must have access to a computer equipped with a high-speed Internet connection; an approved web browser; and, an updated operating system, such as Windows. Some programs also require computer applications like Windows Media Player to stream video online.
Courses are delivered online in an asynchronous manner. Core classes teach students how to deal with situations that arise in emergency medicine, including trauma and cardiac arrest. Through various field settings, students gain experience in administering intravenous fluids and establishing airways. In short, students gain the skills necessary to treat patients in a pre-hospital setting. Common courses are listed below.
Advanced Life Support
This class surveys life support protocols and treatment methods. Topics include airway management, pharmacology, respiratory emergency and patient assessment.
Participants learn how to assess a patient's heart rhythm and how to operate an electrocardiograph machine. They come to understand the electrical properties of the heart muscle and cardiovascular system physiology.
This course explores the uses of pharmaceutical medicine in emergency situations. Lessons cover common medicine applications, dosages and administration methods.
Students analyze the potential traumatic conditions that EMTs encounter during emergency situations. They study the assessment, management and treatment of injury.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), EMTs and paramedics earned a median annual salary of $34,320 in May 2018. Job growth for these professions is on the rise. In fact, the BLS predicted an increase by 7% over the decade spanning 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov).
Online EMS programs combine in-person internships with courses that cover topics such as trauma, pharmacology and life support protocols and treatment methods. Graduates must pass certification exams to become licensed EMTs.