Paramedic Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a paramedic technician. Learn about education requirements, job duties, wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Paramedic Technician?

Paramedic technicians provide life-saving services in response to medical emergencies. They are usually the first professionals to appear at the scene of the emergency and offer medical assistance. They assess patients and begin treating them right away, usually as they are being transported to the hospital. Paramedic technicians must quickly update doctors and nurses on a patient's condition when they arrive, and then typically need to document the incident and what care they provided. These professionals are also qualified to give some medications and operate some complex equipment that EMTs are not able to use. Take a look at the table below for more information about a career as a paramedic technician.

Degree RequiredAssociate's (2-year) degree
Education Field of StudyBiology
Chemistry
Psychology
Key ResponsibilitiesPre-hospital patient assessment
Initial medical care
Patient transport
Perform emergency medical procedures
Licensure/CertificationState licensure required
National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification required by many states
Job Growth (2014-2024)14%*
Mean Salary (2015)$35,430**

Sources: *O*Net Online, **US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Duties as a Paramedic Technician?

There are different levels of emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and paramedic technicians are considered to be at an 'advanced' level. Your work will consist of extensive pre-hospital patient assessment, medical care and patient transport. Your patients may require care because of heart attacks, medical emergencies, illnesses, and injuries. You may see gunshot and knife wounds, vehicular accidents or childbirth. You may perform a wide range of emergency medical procedures, including intravenous and oral medication administration, cardiac resuscitation and endotracheal intubations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that states vary in the medical procedures they permit paramedic technicians to perform (www.bls.gov).

What Education Do I Need?

Most paramedic technicians earn 2-year associate's degrees. These are offered at technical, vocational and community colleges. Your curriculum may include foundation courses including patient assessment, physical examination techniques, shock management and emergency medical service systems. You may also complete coursework in pre-hospital pharmacology, cardiology, respiratory management and advanced physiology.

Do I Need a License or Certification?

The BLS reports that all U.S. states require paramedics to be licensed. Most states also require professional certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). You may be required to complete continuing education courses to maintain your license. Specific licensing and certification requirements vary by state, so contact your state's licensing board for more information.

What Is My Job Outlook and Salary Potential?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that EMT jobs will increase 14% between 2014 and 2024, a rate of growth that is much higher than average. EMTs are employed in government agencies, private ambulatory service companies, hospitals, outpatient care facilities, and more. The BLS also reports that the mean salary for EMTs and paramedics in 2015 was $35,430. The 90th percentile of workers earned $55,110, while those in the tenth percentile earned $20,860.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Police and detectives are related positions that require at least a high school diploma, but some may have college degrees. They are responsible for protecting property and public safety, as well as investigating crimes. Detectives will often collect evidence and information from witnesses to help solve a crime. Firefighters are also related, but only require a postsecondary nondegree award. These professionals not only put out fires, but respond to any emergency situation where the safety of people is at risk.

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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