Paramedic EMT: Overview of Career Education Programs

A paramedic requires some formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Paramedic EMTs are emergency medical technicians that have completed basic EMT and additional paramedic training. This profession requires certification and continuing education to maintain professional standing.

Essential Information

A paramedic emergency medical technician (EMT) is an advanced EMT who has completed a paramedic training program and passed the national certification examination for paramedics. Paramedic training includes instruction in trauma, pharmacology and treating patients with special needs. Before enrolling in paramedic training, an individual must earn a high school diploma or the equivalent and complete a basic EMT training course.

Required Education EMT-paramedic training program
Certification Must pass national EMT-Paramedic certification exam
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 24% for EMTs and paramedics
Median Salary (2015)* $31,980 for EMTs and paramedics

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Career Education Program Overview

Students who want to become a paramedic EMT must enroll in emergency medical technology training courses and obtain a license or certification. Before entering into any EMT or paramedic training program, students must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school education. Additional prerequisites include meeting certain health and fitness prerequisites, as well as hold a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), state requirements for EMT licensure vary; while most states require applicants to be certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), some have their own licensing or certification exams. EMT certifications are offered at the Basic, Intermediate and Paramedic levels; however, in order to become a certified EMT paramedic, earning the Intermediate level certification is not required.

EMT-Basic Training Information

EMT-Basic, sometimes referred to as EMT-1, programs are the first level of emergency medical technician training possible. These programs can be completed in as few as 3-12 weeks, and combine classroom studies with clinical experiences. Students learn basic, first response procedures when responding to medical emergencies. Common training includes:

  • Patient assessment
  • Trauma readiness
  • Airway and cardiac problems

Upon completion, students are eligible to take the NREMT EMT-Basic certification exam, which is divided up into two parts: a cognitive exam and a psychomotor exam. The cognitive exam is taken on a computer, while the psychomotor exam is a practical test, in which students demonstrate their skills in front of an instructor. Those who successfully complete each exam become certified. Periodic recertification is also required.

EMT Paramedic Training Information

EMT Paramedic training programs can last anywhere from 6-24 months. Courses cover advanced topics in areas like traumatic emergencies, life support and pharmacology. Students also take practical courses on assessing and treating patients with special needs. Graduates are eligible to take the NREMT EMT-Paramedic certification exam, which includes advanced questions on topics ranging from cardiology to pediatric skills.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

From 2014-2024, EMTs and paramedics are projected to see a 24% growth in employment opportunities, which is notably faster than average. The median annual wages for this profession were $31,980 in May 2015.

Paramedic EMTs must complete EMT training first, and become certified. Requirements for this training level include being 18 years old and being a high school graduate. To then become a paramedic requires advanced training and additional certification.

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