Paramedic Certification and Certificate Program Information

Paramedic certification programs are offered through community colleges and sometimes also through hospitals in cooperation with a college or university. Take a look at some of the courses needed, the growing employment outlook, and salary information.

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Essential Information

In paramedic certificate programs, students take both lecture and clinical courses covering areas such as airway control, advanced life support and pharmacology. Programs vary in length but generally take 8-17 months.

Applicants must hold current emergency medical technician (EMT) certification, and they may need to have work experience and to pass health, drug and background checks. To become certified, graduates must pass a national licensing exam and complete any applicable state requirements. Continuing education and re-certification are normally required.

Certificate Programs for Paramedics

This type of program typically includes traditional classroom instruction, laboratory practice and clinical experience components. Coursework may cover:

  • Human anatomy
  • Airway control
  • Physiology
  • Managing medical emergencies
  • Trauma emergencies
  • Special needs patients

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to 2014-2024 BLS projections, employment for EMTs and paramedics is expected to grow by 24%. Two contributing factors are a greater number of emergency calls coming from an increasing elderly population, and the increase of specialized medical facilities will require paramedics and EMTs to get patients with special needs to those facilities. Individuals with advanced credentials should have the most opportunities. May 2015 data from the BLS indicated that EMTs and paramedics earned an annual average salary of $35,430.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Paramedics must be licensed in each state; however, state licensing requirements vary. The BLS reported that certification from NREMT suffices for many states, but some require paramedics to pass a state exam. To earn NREMT paramedic certification, candidates must be 18 years old, hold current basic level NREMT certification or state certification, complete an approved paramedic training program and have a current professional-level cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification.

Students can further their studies by taking additional courses to earn an associate degree. Additionally, some credits may transfer to other health-related bachelor's degree programs, such as health science or health care administration.

In conclusion, students wanting to complete a certificate program for paramedics will not only engage in classroom courses, but also laboratory classes and clinical experience. Graduates will be prepared to seek national certification and state licensure.

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