What Education Do I Need to Be a Paramedic?

Paramedic education includes rigorous classroom, laboratory, and field training. The curriculum may vary slightly, depending on the state in which you live. A paramedic is the most extensively trained of the three types of emergency medical technicians (EMTs). You'll complete hundreds of hours of education - including EMT-Basic training - before becoming a certified paramedic. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Requirements for a Paramedic

The National Standard Curriculum, developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, provides the minimum education requirements for all EMT levels, which include EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic. The National Registry of Emergency Management Technicians (NREMT) certifies emergency medical personnel in the United States; however, some states administer their own licensing examinations as an alternative to the NREMT licensing exam. The following are the educational requirements for an EMT-Paramedic.

Important Facts About Paramedic Education

Continuing EducationRequired every two to three years to maintain certification
Online AvailabilityFull coursework online; clinical onsite
Common CoursesIntroduction to paramedicine, medical terminology, trauma treatment
PrerequisitesGood health and one to three years of experience as an EMT may be required


To become a certified paramedic, you must enroll in either an accredited certificate paramedic program or a two-year program that awards an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in paramedic studies. You may not need an EMT-Intermediate license to enroll in a paramedic program, but you must have an EMT-Basic license. You must also meet anatomy and physiology course requirements, either as prerequisites or as part of the paramedic program.

As a paramedic student, your coursework includes topics like pharmacology and toxicology. You also learn paramedic skills, such as how to interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), administer medicines, perform endotracheal intubations, and use sophisticated medical equipment. Clinical fieldwork is another portion of your training, and typically takes place in both ambulatory and hospital settings.

Other EMT Education Levels


With a high school diploma in hand, you can begin the education required to become an EMT-Basic as long as you are 18 years of age or older. You may find an accredited program at your local community college or hospital. EMT-Basic students take 110 hours or more of classroom instruction plus field training in a hospital emergency room or with an ambulance crew. Field training requirements vary by state.

This program can be completed in one semester if taken on a full-time basis. EMT-Basic courses emphasize patient assessment, respiratory care, and cardiac care. You must pass the NREMT psychomotor (practical) exam to become a certified EMT-Basic.


To be considered for entry into an EMT-Intermediate program, you must be currently certified as an EMT-Basic. You also may need to provide verification of experience in the field, a background check, and proof of current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Courses emphasize clinical skills, advanced life support, and pre-hospital care.

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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