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What Is an EMT-P to RN Bridge Degree Program?

If you are an emergency medical technician - paramedic (EMT-P) who would like to advance your career to the level of registered nurse (RN), there are educational programs that were designed expressly to help you make this transition. Read further to discover some details about EMT-P to RN bridge programs.

Overview of EMT-P to RN Bridge Program

As an EMT-P, you already have valuable training in emergency medicine which helps to save lives in pre-hospital emergency situations; however, there is limited upward career mobility for the paramedic. One option for overcoming this limitation is to enroll in an EMT-P to RN bridge educational program so as to earn an associate's degree in nursing (ADN).

You can still work as a paramedic while advancing your education. A number of community colleges throughout the U.S. offer EMT-P to RN bridge programs. Some community colleges offer hybrid courses through their online programs which emphasize nursing theory. Campus-based skills laboratories and clinical practica may be included. Program courses are designed to prepare paramedics to enter the ADN program during the second or third semester.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Work Environment Hospitals, nursing home facilities, physician offices, home health care centers
Key Skills Critical thinking, communication skills, compassion, detail oriented, emotional stability
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all registered nurses)  
Licensure In all states, candidates must take and pass the NCLEX-RN to work as RN's

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Requirements for Admission

In order to qualify for one of these programs, you must fulfill requirements such as the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Provide a copy of your current paramedic license in good standing
  • Provide a copy of your Level One Fingerprint Clearance
  • Pass the Health Education Systems Inc. Assessment, HESI AD2

You will also have to submit a transcript of your previously-earned college credits. Some programs will only accept official transcripts, while others will accept unofficial transcripts. Most programs require you to have completed all or at least most of the nursing prerequisite courses with a grade of 'C' or higher prior to being admitted to their programs. Check with your intended program to find out what is required.

Curriculum

The curriculum for a EMT-P to RN-bridge program may include courses that allow the paramedic to expand his or her skill sets and accumulate knowledge of nursing theory. This process could prepare you to become an advanced placement nursing student in the second year. You'll take introductory nursing courses as well as other transitional courses so as to build the same foundation that first-year nursing students already have. Many programs require that you pass a pharmacology course or medication calculation test upon the completion of the first RN-Bridge course. Usually, students begin transition programs in the spring or early summer in order to be ready to join the nursing program in the fall semester. Many RN-bridge transition programs take one semester to complete. Students successfully demonstrating skills and knowledge will join the advanced placement nursing students in the third semester of the ADN program.

Advantages

There are several advantages for a paramedic who enrolls in an EMT-P to RN bridge program. First of all, registered nurses have much more career flexibility and upward mobility. Paramedics are already close to the top of their career ladders, whereas RNs can branch out to advance in many areas.

Another consideration is the salary difference between paramedics and RNs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salaries for paramedics in 2018 was $34,320. The same source lists the annual median salaries for registered nurses as $71,730.