Paramedic degree programs result in an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science. Topics addressed in these programs range from patient assessment to trauma management; didactic studies are accompanied by clinical and field experiences in which students apply patient care techniques in real-life situations. These programs prepare students for state and national licensure as paramedics.
Associate of Science Degree in Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic
This paramedic degree is earned through community colleges. Students prepare to sit for the certification examination, which is required to become certified paramedics. Paramedic studies include pre-hospital medicine and patient management. Certified paramedics know how to assess a situation, administer proper treatment and relay information to hospital personnel upon arrival.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Prior to enrolling in a paramedical degree program, students need to be registered basic EMTs and hold a current CPR card. Many schools additionally require background checks and drug screenings. Classes involve clinical hours, field experience and lectures. Curriculum is science intensive and requires good communication skills.
Some course topics are:
- Anatomy and physiology, assessment of patients
- Cardiac life support
- Hazardous materials
- Paramedic internship, paramedicine
- Pediatric care
- Trauma care
Bachelor of Science Degree in Paramedic Studies
Bachelor's paramedic studies fall under EMS, EMT or health science programs at colleges and universities. Students learn to plan and manage pre-hospital care for administrative and clinical purposes. Basic, intermediate and advanced EMT care is also taught. Paramedic graduates know how to effectively supervise and communicate with ambulance and hospital personnel.
These programs are for credentialed EMT professionals. They need to be currently registered or licensed as basic EMTs and have a CPR card. Associate's degree credits are often transferable. Background checks and drug screenings are usually required. Paramedics study emergency medicine and hospital management at this level. Classes combine fieldwork and lecture.
Common subjects are:
- Administration systems, management principles
- Medical law and ethics
- Paramedic practicum and internship,
- Patient and situation assessment
- Responding to medical and trauma emergencies
Popular Career Options
A paramedic bachelor's degree is beneficial for upper-level employment positions. Graduates gain experience in management, which is ideal for jobs such as:
- Advanced paramedic
- EMS instructor
- EMS supervisor
- Paramedic program director
- Paramedic supervisor
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment opportunities for certified paramedics exist with fire departments, ambulance services, dispatch units and hospitals. For the decade 2014 through 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) expected employment for EMTs and paramedics to grow 24%. The May 2015 BLS report stated that these workers made a mean annual salary of $35,430.
Some paramedics choose to specialize (i.e. flight paramedics) and need additional training. All paramedics must keep their registration updated. Re-certification requirements and standards vary by state. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer the necessary course(s) for paramedic continuing education.
Colleges offer programs for students to work towards becoming a paramedic. Graduates of these programs can choose between multiple careers including advanced paramedic, EMS supervisor, paramedic supervisor, and more.