EMT-Paramedic License and Credential Information
Paramedics work as respondents to pre-hospital emergency situations. These healthcare professionals primarily work in the ambulance and are often the first respondents on the scene of an accident or health concern and therefore must understand the skills involved in saving a person's life.
What is Required to Become a Licensed and Credentialed Paramedic?
Paramedics work with technical lifesaving equipment, including monitors and medicine-administering tools. They often make and interpret electrocardiograms and perform endotracheal intubations. In order to prepare for this career, students will need training at one of the three levels of education related to emergency medical technicians (EMTs), which includes EMT-Basic (EMT-B), EMT -Intermediate (EMT-I) and EMT-P (Paramedic).
Students typically complete EMT-B or EMT-I training first and then go on to successfully graduate from an EMT-P program. All programs often require a high school diploma to enter; however, state laws vary as it pertains to prerequisites, and becoming a paramedic may require secondary schooling.
Before becoming a paramedic, the healthcare professional must first have EMT certification, which is imperative to understanding how to manage the respiratory system, cardiac emergencies, trauma and assess the severity of a patient's health risks. Students who have successfully completed the introductory levels of EMT training also learn how to use medical devices on-site during emergencies and deliver oxygen to a dying patient.
Paramedic Licensing and Credentialing
EMT-P training is available through certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs and trains students in human anatomy, physiology, human biology and other sciences. Clinical fieldwork is also required and prepares graduates for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians examination (NREMT), which is required for certification.
There is not currently a national credentialing standard for paramedics; however, they will need to become relicensed every two years after taking the NREMT or state examination. These relicensing credentials can include 72 hours of continuing education courses, including 48 hours of U.S. Department of Transportation National Standard Paramedic refreshment training (www.dot.gov).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average hourly wage for paramedics was approximately $14.00 as recently as May 2008, which does not include overtime or bonuses (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that over 25% of paramedics are either covered by union contracts or part of a union. Typical work environments for paramedics include ambulance services, emergency medical services and hospitals.
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