Paramedic Certification Requirements

Paramedics work in ambulances or other emergency response units. Keep reading to find out about certificate and associate's degree programs that lead to the certification you'll need to work in this position. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Will I Need Certification to Work as a Paramedic?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), no matter where you decide to work as a paramedic, you'll need to be licensed through your state of residence (www.bls.gov). In many states, this process entails becoming certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). You'll need to have completed a state-approved paramedic training program to sit for this organization's certification exam. If you pass the exam, your certification is valid for 2-3 years.

Professional CertificationNational Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT)
Online AvailabilityNot applicable; you will need to train with dummies, emergency response vehicles and, during your field experience, injured people
PrerequisitesCompletion of an EMT-Basic or EMT-Intermediate program, work experience, CPR certification, and knowledge of pre-hospital care
Common CoursesCardiology, emergency medical service operations, anatomy, physiology, and patient assessment techniques
Job Outlook24% increase from 2014-2024

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Training Programs Are Available?

You should be able to find paramedic training at community colleges and technical schools in the form of 1-year certificate or 2-year associate's degree programs. These programs are only available on campus; you'll need to train with dummies, emergency response vehicles and, during your field experience, injured people.

However, you can complete paramedic refresher courses through distance education. These programs allow you to update your training and renew your certification. Material may be delivered through recorded video and PowerPoint presentations, after which you must pass an exam. Some courses will require you to do so on campus.

Are There Any Prerequisites?

Paramedic programs commonly require you to have completed emergency medical technician (EMT) training, such as an EMT-Basic or EMT-Intermediate program. You will need to know how to provide basic pre-hospital care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Some programs may also require you to have up to six months of work experience as an EMT.

What Courses Can I Expect?

By the end of your program, you might learn how to administer medication, keep the injured calm, perform tracheotomies and use electrocardiograph (EKG) machines on patients of all ages. Your program can also include courses in cardiology, emergency medical service operations, anatomy, physiology and patient assessment techniques. You can also expect to complete clinical requirements. Associate's degree programs may include additional general education courses, such as mathematics, English composition and psychology.

What Is My Job Outlook?

An increasing number of older patients may cause a twenty-four percent growth in job openings for EMTs and paramedics between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. Hospital overcrowding may also factor into this job growth. EMTs and paramedics earned a median salary of $31,980 as of May 2015.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • George Mason University

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  • American University

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