An Associate of Applied Science is the most common degree program for aspiring paramedics. Paramedicine degrees train students to provide overall emergency support to an injured patient and do not normally specialize in any specific area. All EMTs must be certified as their state's laws dictate, which usually requires completing a training program and passing certification tests. Some programs are designed to allow certified EMTs to earn a degree and require fewer courses. Common prerequisites include a high school diploma or equivalent, background checks, up-to-date vaccinations, and possibly entrance exams depending on the program. Certification examinations are administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
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Associate's Degree in Emergency Medical Technician
In the associate's degree program, students attend classes in topics such as anatomy, life support and basic emergency medicine practices such as establishing intravenous lines and maintaining airways. Students get extensive supervised experience working in the field with certified EMTs. A combination of classroom, lab, and practical training make up paramedicine training. Specific course topics include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- EKG Interpretation
- Emergency medical services
- Basic life support
- Advanced life support
- Medical emergencies
- Intravenous therapy
- Traumatic emergencies
Career Outlook and Salary Info
Both EMTs and paramedics are expected to enjoy rapid job growth of 24% between the years of 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The projected growth is largely attributed to the increase in the elderly segment of the population. The average salary of EMTs and paramedics was $35,430 as of May 2015, per BLS statistics.
Graduates of a 2-year associate's degree program in paramedicine, or paramedic science, generally earn their EMT-Basic certification early in the program. Graduates can go on to take the certification examinations administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) at advanced levels.
Paramedics are required to be certified according to state laws in order to practice. Refresher courses and continuing education are required for EMTs and paramedics at all levels to maintain their credentials. For those seeking leadership or management responsibilities, a bachelor's degree is available. Such programs contain the same professional content and training requirements; students must complete additional general education requirements.
Paramedic associate's degree programs provide students with both classroom and hands-on training on topics related to emergency medicine. Ongoing certification is required and exams are given by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) at multiple levels.