An EMT-Paramedic training program is required to attain the highest level of emergency medical technician training. Such programs generally require a high school diploma for entry and are offered at the certificate and associate's degree level. A variety of training programs are available through community colleges, hospitals and fire departments. Volunteer experience is also suggested to verify interest in the career field, because stressful and high-stakes situations are a key component of the job. Students must obtain Basic Life Support (BLS) certification prior to or during the training program as well. Following program completion, obtaining certification from the NREMT and state licensure is required to enter the field.
Paramedic Certificate Program
A certificate program for EMT-Paramedics requires a commitment of 1,000 or more hours of coursework plus extensive clinical and field experience. Program curricula incorporate didactic coursework and hands-on training in emergency rooms and ambulances. Aspiring paramedics learn to manage respiratory and cardiac emergencies, provide advanced first aid and transport the injured to a medical facility. They also become skilled in performing complex rescue techniques. Some common course topics include:
- Advanced medical skills
- Cardiac monitoring and defibrillation
Associate of Science in Paramedic Science
In addition to the core paramedic curriculum, students getting their associate's in paramedic science are required to complete the general education required by the institution, such as literature, writing, psychology and mathematics courses. Generally, such a program is completed in two years. Associate degree programs prepare students for management-level careers in the pre-hospital care field. Course topics might include:
- Principles of management
- Intermediate algebra
- Business communication
- Principles of sociology
- EMT paramedic I
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), EMTs and paramedics make a median yearly salary of $31,980 according to May 2015 data. From 2014 to 2024, the employment for EMTs and paramedics is expected to grow 24%, which is much faster than average.
Continuing Education Information
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) currently certifies emergency response service providers at four EMT levels: Basic, Intermediate-1 and Intermediate-2, and Paramedic. Achieving certification requires successful completion of a training program and a comprehensive examination. Such certification is required in each state in order to obtain licensure. All 50 states require emergency medical technicians to have current licensure in order to work in the field.
Once employed, courses such as advanced medical life support, emergency pediatric care and pre-hospital trauma life support provide further training for an EMT-Paramedic. Such courses are sponsored by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and also provide some of the continuing education credits required to maintain current certification and licensure. The number of hours of continuing education required to maintain licensure varies by state. EMT-Paramedics must also take a BLS Refresher course every 1-2 years.
Numerous educational events are available for EMT-Paramedics, usually offered by regional or statewide emergency medical service departments. However, there are a few nationally sponsored events, such as the annual EMS Expo presented by the NAEMT and the Emergency Medical Services Educational Seminar Foundation. The Department of Homeland Security also offers periodic seminars appropriate for emergency medical service providers.
EMT-Paramedic certificate and associate's degree programs prepare students to enter or advance in the field. State licensing is required and usually entails earning certification through the NREMT. Further education may be acquired through the NAEMT.