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Paramedic Refresher Course Descriptions

Paramedic refresher courses are designed for paramedics seeking to fulfill continuing education credits for recertification purposes. While there are some required topics individuals must study, paramedics can meet other requirements through applicable courses of their choice.

Essential Information

Paramedics who wish to recertify without taking an exam must complete a 48-hour refresher course and 24 hours of continuing EMS related education. Such courses can be completed at medical facilities, community colleges, technical schools and four-year universities. There are both online and on-campus study options.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) sets course topic requirements for paramedic continuing education. Twenty-four hours of the 48-hour refresher course has to cover the areas of medical emergencies; obstetrics and pediatrics; trauma; and airway, breathing and cardiology. The other 24 hours can be distributed between trauma; operational tasks; airway, breathing and cardiology; and medical emergencies.

  • Obstetrics and pediatrics
  • Trauma
  • Airway and breathing management
  • Cardiology
  • Operational tasks
  • Medical emergencies

The additionally required 24 hours of continuing EMS education can consist of college courses and other training in a variety of areas. For example, college courses in pharmacology, anatomy, and biology are applicable.

List of Paramedic Refresher Courses

Paramedic Refresher

This course is designed for practicing paramedics who must recertify in the state in which they work. The course consists of review of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Standard Curriculum (NSC) for paramedics. NSC subjects cover respiratory emergencies, communicable diseases, allergy and anaphylaxis emergencies, EMS operations, geriatric issues, trauma, and cardiovascular emergencies. The curriculum also incorporates updates on treatment procedures, medical research, and equipment relevant to the emergency medical services field. Some states may require additional coursework.

Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

The Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) course was developed by the American Heart Association to train first responders to resuscitate victims of heart attack, stroke and other heart emergencies. The ACLS course builds on basic life support classes, which teach CPR and use of the automated external defibrillator, and emphasizes teamwork and communication in critical situations where life support is needed. This course may be incorporated into the paramedic refresher course or may be taken separately.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support

Pediatric life support courses cover the specific techniques used in working with infants and children who stop breathing as a result of cardiac arrest, choking or shock. Learning to spot the symptoms of a child in need of life support is part of this course. Paramedics may take this course as continuing education or incorporate it into a paramedic recertification course.

Advanced Pediatric Education for Pre-hospital Professionals

The American Academy of Pediatrics created this course for paramedics and other emergency medical professionals to better understand special issues in dealing with sick children. The curriculum includes how to quickly evaluate and handle sick children and infants.

Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support

This course was developed by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. In this class, paramedics and other emergency medical professionals review issues related to traumatic injury and learn to think critically in trauma situations.

Pre-hospital Advanced Burn Life Support

Paramedics learn to recognize and assess the extent of burn injuries and stabilize the burn victim in this 6-hour course. Students also learn how to prioritize burn victims in a multiple-casualty disaster situation.


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