Pennsylvania has a number of options for individuals who want to prepare to become paramedics. Educational training can be obtained at hospitals and community colleges in the state. Daytime and evening classes are offered, and some students may study online.
Participants learn through a combination of classroom lectures, laboratory experiences, clinical hours and internships. The curricula of these Pennsylvania programs consist of courses in patient assessment, airway management, trauma life support, emergency vehicle operation and water rescue techniques. Certificate and associate's degree programs are offered in the following areas:
- Paramedic Education
- Emergency Medical Services
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Paramedic: Advanced Life Support
Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital
Students in this program in Johnstown learn paramedicine through lectures, labs, field internships and clinical experiences. This is a 1-year, year-round program that includes over 1,000 hours of instruction. Through an affiliation with Penn Highlands Community College, students also have the opportunity to earn an associate's degree. Successfully completing the program qualifies students to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians-Paramedic (NREMT-P) exam.
Delaware County Community College
This school, located in Media, offers an Associate in Applied Science: Paramedic - Advanced Life Support program. Successful completion of 67-70 credits of study requires students to maintain a C average in all EMS courses. The curriculum is spread out over 6 semesters of study, including 2 summer sessions. Core studies cover patient assessment, airway management and trauma systems. By the end of the second semester, students will need to show clean child abuse and criminal background checks, meet health standards and either have PA EMT certification or be in the process of gaining reciprocity.
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg
Students in this Harrisburg school can choose between 2 programs. To earn the certificate, students complete a 31-credit program that can be completed in 4 semesters. These programs require students to pass criminal background checks, drug screenings and child abuse history checks before beginning their clinical studies. Prospective students must also have current PA EMT certification and at least 100 documented service calls.
Students can earn the associate's degree through a 79-credit program that has no set completion time. Completing either program qualifies students to take the NREMT-P exam. Both programs offer options for evening, daytime and online courses, but clinical and externship classes must be completed through physical attendance.
Luzerne County Community College
This Nanticoke school offers a Certificate in Advanced Life Support - Paramedic. Students can earn this certificate in 1 year of continuous study. The curriculum includes courses in emergency vehicle operation, water rescue, advanced pediatric care and trauma life support. Students successfully completing the program are qualified to take the NREMT-P exam.
Another option is to earn an Associate in Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services. The degree can be earned in 5 semesters of study. Core studies are the same as those found in the certificate program, with the addition of general education courses that may help prepare students for the administrative training.
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
Aspiring paramedics in Lancaster can earn a Paramedic Technical Certificate at this specialized institution. Courses are taught by experienced paramedics and other healthcare professionals through lectures, labs and field experiences. Students are prepared to provide advanced pre-hospital care in a variety of emergency incident scenarios. Students who complete the program are awarded a technical certificate and several professional certificates noting accomplishments in areas such as ropes rescue, advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support. Students do not receive college credits for these classes.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
For Williamsport students, this college offers 2 paramedic training programs. Students will need to provide their own uniforms for the clinical portion of their studies. Prospective students may be barred from clinical courses if a background check shows a history of criminal activity. To be admitted, students can either show current NREMT certification or pass one of the school's basic EMT courses.
To earn the certificate, students first complete a series of pre-requisite courses designed to prepare them for advanced life saving studies. The program core curriculum includes courses in airway management, pharmacology, pediatrics and obstetrics. Students can earn their Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services through 2 years of continuous study, including summer sessions. The curriculum is the same as that of the certificate program, with the addition of general education courses.
The Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences
This specialized school is located in Reading. To qualify for the Paramedic Education Program, students must have 1 year of experience as a licensed EMT. Prospective students will need to submit letters of reference and pass pre-admission knowledge and skills exams. Students learn through lectures, labs and field internships to gain an understanding of the entire patient care process, beginning at the point of field contact and ending when a patient is released from hospital care. Courses cover studies in pre-hospital patient management, trauma emergencies, obstetrics and pediatrics.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health stipulates that paramedics must be 18 years old and have current EMT certification to begin paramedic training. Students in Pennsylvania must complete their training in programs like the seven profiled in the following section. Then they must pass department-approved exams to earn their certification before working as paramedics. The tuition rates of the schools offering the programs are included in the at-a-glance table below.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Paramedic Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital||2-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Paramedic Program||$28,025*|
|Delaware County Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science: Paramedic - Advanced Life Support|| $5,520 in-district,
|Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg||2-year, public; small city|| Paramedic Certificate,
Associate of Arts Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic
| $6,683 in-district,
|Luzerne County Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate in Advanced Life Support - Paramedic,
Associate in Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services
| $5,430 in-district,
|Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences||4-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Paramedic Technical Certificate||$28,412*|
|Pennsylvania College of Technology||4-year, public; small city|| Certificate in Paramedic Technician,
Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services
| $16,740 in-state,
|The Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences||2-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Paramedic Education Program||$10,365*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator