EMT Certification in Southern California with Course Descriptions

Jul 19, 2019

California has more than forty colleges that offer paramedic and emergency medical technology programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for the nine largest schools in the southern California region, to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

There are many schools in California that provide education that prepares students for careers in emergency medical technology. The southern California region has nine schools that offer refresher courses as well as certificate and associate degree programs. One of the schools is a university that features a related bachelor's degree program.

Students are required to complete courses such as wilderness EMS-first aid, pediatric resuscitation, basic trauma and life support, anatomy, patient assessment and advanced cardiac life support. The curricula consist of lectures and clinical laboratory sessions along with internships or externships that allow students to receive hands-on education. The program options at these schools include:

  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Emergency Medical Technology
  • Emergency Medical Education
  • Paramedic Studies
  • Basic EMT Course
  • Emergency Medical Care

Allan Hancock College

Santa Maria's Allan Hancock College offers several options for individuals interested in careers as emergency medical technicians; they can pursue an Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Services or a variety of related certificate programs. In the 2-year associate degree program, students learn to drive emergency vehicles, complete the emergency medical services basic course and study operations as first responders. In addition to the 17.5 credit hours in required courses, students can choose from courses like wilderness EMS-first aid, basic trauma and life support, advanced cardiac life support and clinical lab or field internships. Certificate programs also offered by the college include EMT-Basic, EMT-Basic Refresher, Paramedic Training, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, or the Emergency Medical Services Academy.

Imperial Valley College

Imperial-based Imperial Valley College offers an Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Services and a Certificate of Achievement in Emergency Medical Services. The Associate in Science degree requires completion of didactic sessions related to basic and advanced life support, patient assessment, pediatric resuscitation and life support. In the clinical sessions, students must prove competency in recognizing when an intravenous (IV) medication is required and how to give IV medications, communication with the EMS station regarding situations they respond to and take action in emergency situations.

Loma Linda University

At Loma Linda's Loma Linda University, students who have completed an associate degree can complete a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care after completing a required interview and submitting course transcripts and proof that one is an EMT, an EMT-Paramedic, a registered nurse or a respiratory therapist. Required courses include study of infectious disease protection for healthcare providers, study of pathology, pharmacology and interpretation of electrocardiogram readings. Students must complete courses in disasters and weapons of mass destruction, ethics and healthcare management.

Moreno Valley College

Moreno-based Moreno Valley College offers a Paramedic Certificate, an Associate in Science in Paramedic, as well as an Emergency Medical Technician Certificate. In the paramedic certificate program, students learn patient assessment techniques, pharmacology for emergency medical professionals and trauma management. They also learn about cardiology, working with special populations (like children and the elderly), and complete paramedic field internship. The Associate of Science in Paramedic includes all of the required courses in the paramedic certificate as well as general education courses.

Mt. San Antonio College

At Walnut's Mt. San Antonio College, students can pursue three certificates and one associate degree in emergency medical services. In all programs, students must complete courses in paramedic fundamentals, cardiac care and anatomy and physiology. Students must complete a clinical internship and a field externship to gain hands-on experience in clinical and ambulance settings. Students must prove their skills as well. Pharmacology and cardiology are also topics of discussion.

Palomar College

At San Marcos-based Palomar College, students can pursue an associate degree, a certificate of achievement or a certificate of proficiency in Emergency Medical Education. The Certificate of Proficiency requires three courses - including lecture and laboratory sessions teaching theory and treatment of individuals in pre-hospital situations. The third required course is the first responder course, which includes medical terminology and prevention of disease transmission. The certificate of achievement includes courses in paramedic medical training - focusing on treatment of medical issues and cardiac diseases, handling of trauma situations, obstetrics and pediatrics. Students must complete two clinical integration courses and a field internship. The Associate of Arts in Emergency Medical Education includes all of the courses in the certificate of achievement in addition to general education courses.

Saddleback College

Students enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Occupational Skills Award or Paramedic Certificate programs at Mission Viejo's Saddleback College learn what it takes to react to a medical emergency and give pre-hospital care. The Emergency Medical Technician Occupational Skills Award requires that students learn about the role of an EMT in an emergency or traumatic scene. Students must also complete a clinical observation of EMTs at work to earn the certificate. The Paramedic Certificate requires completion of three courses including clinical experience, field internship and lessons in paramedicine theory. Students must also complete skills labs associated with the paramedicine theory. An Associate in Science in Paramedic requires the same courses as well as general education classes.

Southwestern College

Southwestern College's Otay Mesa Higher Education Center offers an associate in science and certificate in emergency medical technology and paramedic. The Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic Certificate includes study of basic emergency medical technology skills, theory and practice as well as advanced life support and paramedic theory. From the start of a student's academic career students take part in EMS community experiences before beginning clinical and field training for paramedics in the summer session. The associate in science degree includes the same courses in addition to general education courses like public speaking, critical thinking and psychology.

Ventura College

At Ventura-based Ventura College, individuals seeking careers as emergency medical technicians can take the basic EMT course, a basic EMT refresher course, or pursue an Associate of Science in Paramedic Studies or a Certificate in Paramedic Studies. The basic EMT course includes the study of pre-hospital care for victims of emergency situations. The program requires field trips. The re-certification course covers use of emergency medical equipment and life support techniques. The Associate of Science in Paramedic Studies includes the basic EMT course as well as classes on paramedic theory and a clinical course where students display their skills. Students must also complete courses in anatomy and physiology.

Career Requirements

To work as an EMT or Paramedic in California, an individual must be at least 18 years of age and have a diploma or GED certificate and meet a variety of health and records-related requirements. These individuals cannot have DUI convictions and must have a valid driver's license and state EMT certification.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting EMT Degree Programs and Certificates Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Allan Hancock College 2-year, public; small city Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Services,
Certificate of Achievement in Emergency Medical Services
$1,352 (in-state); $6,784 (out-of-state)*
Imperial Valley College 2-year, public; rural fringe Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Services,
Certificate of Achievement in Emergency Medical Services
$1,125 (in-state); $6,093 (out-of-state)*
Loma Linda University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care $34,012*
Moreno Valley College 2-year, public; large suburb Paramedic Certificate,
Associate in Science in Paramedic,
Emergency Medical Technician Certificate
$1,420 (in-state); $9,160 (out-of-state)*
Mt. San Antonio College 2-year, public; large suburb Emergency Medical Technician EMT 90 Certificate,
Emergency Medical Technician EMT 95 Certificate,
Certificate of Achievement in Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic (EMT-P),
Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Services
$1,350 (in-state); $9,414 (out-of-state)*
Palomar College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Arts in Emergency Medical Education,
Certificate of Achievement in Emergency Medical Education,
or a Certificate of Proficiency in Emergency Medical Education
$1,338 (in-state); $8,702 (out-of-state)*
Saddleback College 2-year public; large suburb Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Occupational Skills Award,
Paramedic Associate in Science or Certificate
$1,328 (in-state): $9,392 (out-of-state)*
Southwestern College 2-year, public; large suburb* Associate in Science in Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic,
Certificate in Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic**
$1,338 (in-state); $6,602 (out-of-state)*
Ventura College 2-year public; midsize city Basic EMT course,
Basic EMT refresher course,
Associate of Science in Paramedic Studies,
Certificate in Paramedic Studies
$1,388 (in-state); $7,050 (out-of-state)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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