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Paramedic Schools in San Diego, CA with Program Options

There are several schools in the San Diego area that offer paramedic programs. Read an overview of the programs, requirements and admission info at two of these schools, both within 40 miles of downtown, and find out which school is the right one for you.

San Diego Schools with Paramedic Programs

To become licensed as a paramedic in California, individuals must meet certain requirements, which include completing a paramedic program and passing the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) exam. The following two schools in the San Diego area offer approved paramedic programs, and both are part of the California Community College system. One of these schools is about 20 minutes from downtown, while the other is nearly 40 minutes away. This article looks at these schools and their programs, and also includes a table of information, such as enrollment, tuition and the graduation rate, for each school.

  • Located in downtown San Diego is Southwestern College. It offers a certificate and an associate's degree program in emergency medical technology and paramedic.
  • Palomar College has a paramedic training program. The school is about 38 miles from the city center.

Comparison of Schools

Individuals who are deciding on a school for their training need to consider many factors. The following table provides facts about each institution that could help aspiring paramedic students arrive at a sound decision.

Southwestern College Palomar College
School Type 2-year; public 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 18,413* 23,848*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large suburb
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,338 in-state; $6,602 out-of-state* $1,338 in-state; $7,386 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 80%* 63%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admission N/A - Open admission
Retention Rate (Fall 2016 to Fall 2017) 74% for full-time students; 45% for part-time students* 71% for full-time students; 47% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (for students who began in Fall 2014) 22%* 29%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Southwestern College

The EMT and paramedic programs are offered at Southwestern College's Higher Education Center at Otay Mesa, a few miles from the Mexican border. All coursework must be completed with a 2.0 GPA or better.

Certificate of Achievement, Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic

The certificate of achievement is a 57-unit program that takes up to four semesters to complete. The prerequisite training course for EMTs includes a human anatomy and physiology class and an 8-unit EMT theory and lab course. The following two semesters include paramedic classes, labs and field experiences focusing on the evaluation and treatment of medical and trauma emergencies in the pre-hospital setting. The final semester covers clinical experiences in a hospital and two field-training courses.

Associate in Science, Emergency Medical Technology and Paramedic

In addition to the 57 units of prerequisite EMT courses and paramedic classes included in the certificate program, students in the associate's program take ten units of general education courses plus an elective course. General education requirements include a communications course, such as speech, a composition course and a general psychology course. Students who are already licensed paramedics may be granted up to a total of 35 units of EMT-P credits, including 6.5 units of EMT credit.

Palomar College

Applicants to the paramedic training program at Palomar must have worked as paid EMTs as well as completing an interview, testing and prerequisite coursework

Paramedic Training Program

Students at Palomar can participate in a 2-semester Paramedic Academy that combines one semester of lecture classes with a second semester of patient care in a hospital setting. Following that, students complete a lengthy field internship and work alongside trained paramedics. The coursework includes paramedic training for medical, trauma, OB/GYN and pediatric emergencies. A San Diego Country Paramedic Accreditation Workshop is also another option. This program is available to students who have already been trained or certified outside of San Diego County.


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