Where Do I Start to Become a Paramedic in Sacramento?
The steps below outline those you need to follow to become a paramedic in Sacramento:
- Finish high school or earn a GED, then complete an accredited EMT basic training program and become registered at the Basic or Intermediate level with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) or certificated as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician in the state.
- Attend and complete an EMT-Paramedic training program.
- Take and pass the paramedic licensing exam administered by the NREMT.
- Apply for licensure in the state of California.
- Meet continuing education requirements to maintain paramedic licensure in California; the state mandates completion of 24 hours of continuing education every two years.
Completing an EMT basic training program is an eligibility requirement for taking the licensing exam in many states, including California. Continuing education opportunities are offered at community colleges or through the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the unemployment rate in the Sacramento, CA, area is 3.9%, which is slightly lower than the national average of 4.1% as of March 2018. The mean hourly wage for those living in Sacramento was $26.30 as of May 2016, which is 10% higher than the national average.
Paramedic training is accomplished in levels from EMT-Basic to EMT-Paramedic. The first step in becoming a paramedic is earning a high school diploma. A student who is considering pursuing a career as a paramedic may benefit from completing high school courses in chemistry, biology and other sciences. Prior to entering a paramedic training program, it is commonly required to provide proof of immunizations, CPR certification and a clean criminal background check.
Levels of Training
The first level in training is EMT-Basic. In this training, aspiring EMTs learn to assess patients, take vital signs, respond to cardiac emergencies, manage a patient's airway and respond to common traumas.
The second level is EMT-Advanced or AEMT. AEMTs have the same duties as EMT-Bs, but they're also trained to perform more advanced procedures, such as initiating IVs and administering certain medicines and drugs.
The next level is EMT-Paramedic training. In this program, students learn advanced medical skills. Students are required to study anatomy and physiology. It takes one to two years to complete an EMT - Paramedic program. During this time, students complete field internships and clinical rotations in emergency rooms and ride-alongs with ambulances.
Paramedic School Options in Sacramento
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are at least 15 public or private-not-for-profit schools within a 100-mile radius of Sacramento that offer paramedic training, including community colleges, vocational schools and continuing education divisions of universities. Sacramento State, American River College and Cosumnes River College are the only training centers in Sacramento itself. It should be noted that the paramedic programs at Sacramento State and Cosumnes River College lead to certificates.
American River College
According to NCES, American River College (ARC) is the only college in Sacramento proper that offers an associate's degree program and certificate program for paramedics. The program leading to an Associate of Science in Paramedic (A.S. - Paramedic) requires 60 credits, including the core program plus general education courses and electives. The core certificate program requirement is 43.5 credits.
Paramedic Training Core Courses at ARC
The tasks that EMTs are allowed to perform are determined by their level of training. The core courses for both the associate's degree and the certificate programs are identical. Requirements for the course are completion of the basic level of EMT training and at least one year of EMS work experience. Certification exams for an EMT - Paramedic are administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
Upon successful completion of the program and its electives, a graduate of the program can sit for the required paramedic licensing exam. Training is based on the standards of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Core paramedic training programs at ARC include courses like:
- Concepts of anatomy and physiology
- Pre-hospital assessment
- Calculation of medical dosages
- Airway management
- Medical emergencies
- Pediatric care and trauma
- Clinical internship
Salary and Job Outlook
The State of California Employment Development Department reports that employment growth for paramedics in the state is expected to grow faster than the average rate for other occupations (24.1% through 2024). This reflects the projection of 400 new job openings and 270 replacement jobs per year. The Department states that the median annual salary for paramedics in California is $33,640. Comparatively, the BLS predicts a 15% employment growth rate for paramedics through 2026; the national median annual salary for this profession is nearly the same as California at $33,380.