Paramedic Certification and Certificate Program Information

Research paramedic certification and certificate programs. Get information about courses, licensing options, requirements and salary to make an informed decision about your education.

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Paramedic Certificate Program

Paramedics are the highest level of pre-hospital emergency care providers. Students in these programs learn how to respond to emergency calls and perform first-respondent medical care. Programs are offered at postsecondary schools, such as community colleges and technical schools, and they also are offered at some medical institutions in cooperation with an academic institution. Program durations vary and can last between 8 and 17 months.

Education Prerequisites

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a student interested in a paramedic certificate program typically needs a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some programs may allow applicants to apply without these credentials, but they most likely will need to take placement tests and complete any necessary remedial courses. In addition, he or she should complete emergency medical technician (EMT) training at the basic level and hold a current state EMT or National Registry EMT (NREMT) certification. A minimum amount of practical experience is also required by some programs. Physical exams, drug screening and background checks are also common prerequisites.

Course Topics

This type of program typically comprises traditional classroom instruction, laboratory practice and clinical experience. Traditional classroom instruction may cover:

  • Human anatomy
  • Airway control
  • Physiology
  • Managing medical emergencies
  • Trauma emergencies
  • Special needs patients
  • Advanced life support
  • Pharmacology

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to 2008-2018 BLS projections, employment for paramedics has an average growth rate of 9%. Two factors aiding this growth rate are more emergency calls coming from an increasing elderly population and the overcrowding of hospitals, which requires paramedics to spend more time with patients. Individuals with advanced credentials should have the most opportunities. May 2010 data from the BLS reported that EMTs and paramedics earned an annual average salary of $33,300.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Paramedics must be licensed in each state; however, licensing requirements vary from state to state. The BLS stated that certification from NREMT suffices for many states, but others require paramedics to pass a state exam. To earn NREMT paramedic certification, candidates must be 18 years old, hold current basic level NREMT certification or state certification, complete an approved paramedic training program and have a current professional-level cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification.

Students can pursue their studies by taking additional courses to earn an associate degree. Additionally, some credits may transfer to other health-related bachelor's degree programs, such as health science or health care administration.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics