Paramedic Courses and Degrees
Find out about paramedic course options and courses commonly offered. Get information about typical job duties and the skills needed to succeed as a paramedic.
What You Need to Know
Before entering paramedic training, candidates need to have been certified as an entry-level emergency medical technician (EMT) and have some EMT experience. Paramedic training is available as a certificate or associate's degree program and includes courses that prepare paramedics to treat victims of accidents, trauma, or medical emergencies.
|Training||Complete EMT-Basic program and gain experience, followed by enrollment in EMT-Paramedic certificate or associate's degree program|
|Classes||Pharmacology, trauma management, medical emergencies, cardiology, assessment-based management|
|Responsibilities||Respond to medical emergencies, stabilize injured victims, treat injuries and trauma prior to transporting to hospital|
What Are Some Degree Options to Become a Paramedic?
Paramedics have the most advanced training of all emergency medical service providers. To become a paramedic, you need to complete formal training through a certificate or associate degree program for emergency medical technician- paramedics (EMT-Ps). You may be enrolled for approximately three months if you already have experience in the field, or it can take about two years to complete an associate's degree program.
Prior to admission, most programs require that you complete an entry-level EMT-Basic program and gain certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Many programs require that you have experience working as an EMT before beginning training as a paramedic, though some associate's programs incorporate an EMT-Basic program and field experience into their curriculum. The NREMT specifies that the program you attend must be approved by your state in order to qualify for certification (www.nremt.org).
What Courses Will I Take?
Certificate programs provide specialized study in the field of emergency medical services, while programs granting associate degrees require additional general education. At either level, you build on skills gained in your EMT-Basic training through classroom learning, clinical experience and fieldwork. Your core class work likely includes lessons in:
- Medical emergencies
- Special populations
- Trauma management
- Assessment-based management
What Practical Skills Will I Learn?
In hospital and ambulance settings, you gain proficiency in:
- Administering fluids or medications intravenously
- Interpreting electrocardiograms
- Performing intubations
- Managing respiratory and cardiac conditions
- Responding to a wide range of emergency situations
This training, combined with your coursework, prepares you for the NREMT examination required for certification as an EMT-Paramedic.
What Are the Duties of a Paramedic?
To help people in life-threatening situations, 911 operators dispatch paramedics who may assist patients on the scene or transport them to a medical facility where they can receive advanced assistance. As a paramedic, in any given day you might help transport someone from a car accident scene to a hospital, assist a woman with childbirth, stabilize a gunshot victim or resuscitate someone who has just suffered a heart attack. Because each state determines which medical procedures paramedics are allowed to perform, the scope of your work depends on where you live.