What Training Is Needed to Be a Paramedic?

The most highly-trained of emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics provide first-response care to people who are sick or injured. Paramedics are trained to provide medications, read electrocardiograms (EKGs) and use medical equipment. They work in- and outdoors, and irregular hours are typical. Stress management, safety protocols and the ability to lift large amounts of weight are important aspects of a paramedic's work.

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How to Become a Paramedic

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

Paramedic training programs require students to have a high school diploma or GED to enroll. High school students considering careers as paramedics should take courses in the sciences, health studies and anatomy.

Step 2: Complete CPR Training

Certified competency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a requirement for EMT and paramedic training programs. Paramedics must maintain CPR training throughout their careers.

Step 3: Complete EMT-Basic Training

An EMT-Basic program covers such emergency medical situations as choking, bleeding, childbirth, heart attacks and broken bones. The course also covers the use of medical equipment, including splints, stretchers, oxygen masks and backboards. Students learn in the classroom and in the field, riding in ambulances. After completing the course, students apply for certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) at the EMT-Basic level.

Step 4: Complete Paramedic Coursework

Offered through either a certificate or associate's degree program, paramedic coursework covers anatomy, physiology and higher-level medical techniques. Students learn to work in an ambulance or aeromedical service. Some of the more advanced medical applications include inserting an IV, handling potentially dangerous blood and establishing order in chaotic situations. Obtaining information from difficult patients and leading a team of EMTs are also discussed. Students in an associate's degree program must complete general education requirements.

Step 5: Get Certified

Upon completion of an approved program, paramedics may apply for national NREMT paramedic certification, which involves passing a test. The test includes a computerized exam covering airways and breathing, trauma and medical, pediatrics and EMS (emergency medical services) operations. A hands-on portion of the test looks at the paramedic's ability to handle real-world situations.

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Paramedic Technician Salary and Career Information

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
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    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate in Medical Assisting and Administration

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
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    Online Programs

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    Online Programs

    • Master
        • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • California (19 campuses)
    • Washington (1)

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    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate - Health Administration

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
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    Distance Learning Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies (Medical Assistants)

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Physician Assistant
        • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
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      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of South Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Diploma
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • EMT and Paramedic
        • Physician Assistant
        • Radiological Science and Technologies
        • Respiratory Care Therapy
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

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    • Master of Business Administration - Public Safety Leadership
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    • Diploma in Medical Assisting

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    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare

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    • Certificate - Health Administration

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    • Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies (Medical Assistants)

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