Paramedic Career Overview
A paramedic is a healthcare professional who provides emergency treatments and advanced life support to patients. Paramedics should be able to work under pressure and for longer hours. Since training and field experience requires in-person work, this career can be relatively difficult to prepare for online.
|Required Skills||Physical strength and stamina, excellent communication and problem-solving skills, compassion, stress management|
|Job Growth*||7% for 2018-2028 (for Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics)|
|Median Salary (2019)**||$47,033 per year|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ** Payscale.com
Steps to Become a Paramedic Online
Aspiring paramedics have online education and training options. However, online paramedic courses are usually paired with hands-on experience in a hybrid program and therefore, while students have the option of completing the courses online, they are required to take hand-on training as well.
Step 1- Complete an Online EMT-Basic Training
These entry-level programs typically admit students having a high school graduate degree, are at least 18 years of age, and have a current CPR certification. The courses that can be taken completely online, but one laboratory course must be completed on campus. Lessons cover pre-hospital emergency medical training and techniques. Also, students are required to complete some amount of hours gaining hands-on experience in a local healthcare emergency department.
Step 2- Earn the EMT License
To obtain an EMT license, applicants will need to gain certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) or passing a state-issued exam after training has been completed. The exam includes both psychomotor and cognitive sections. Applicants who pass this cognitive test are awarded EMT-Basic credentials. Although the candidates are required to appear in-person for the exam, the preparation for the license exam can be done online through an online study guide, and online practice tests.
Step 3- Gain EMT Field Experience
Paramedic programs require applicants to have experience working as an EMT-Basic before applying. To gain hands-on experience, EMTs can secure jobs at hospitals, and on ambulance crews, EMTs may also work or at sites where established medical care is not easily available, such as cruise ships or remote job sites.
Step 4- Complete an Online Advanced EMT Coursework
Vocational and trade schools, community colleges, and four-year schools offer online paramedic class components blended with hands-on internships and clinical rotations. The coursework covers anatomy, physiology, and higher-level medical techniques. Typically, paramedic coursework involves successful completion of three major components: didactic- focuses on online learning, clinical- requires physical attendance on campus or at a designated college setting, and field internships- includes 20 clinical rotations at all hours so students can experience an active paramedic unit under the supervision of one or more certified EMT - Paramedics.
Step 5- Earn Paramedic License
Upon completion of the paramedic program, paramedics may apply for national NREMT paramedic certification, which involves passing an exam. The NREMT exam is comprised of two parts- a cognitive written test that measures understanding of theory and a practical psychomotor exam that measures skills in clinical areas. Candidates can prepare for the NREMT licensure online with the help of the online study guide and can complete several online practice tests. Many states require paramedics to pass the NREMT exam as proper licensing to practice, while some other states may the passing of state licensing examinations.
Typically, paramedics are required to renew their credentials every 2-3 years by earning continuing education credits and attending refresher courses.