How to Become a Paramedic


You’ve found our article about how to become a Paramedic. Paramedics are highly trained professionals who respond to emergencies requiring medical attention and transport patients to hospitals, trauma centers, and other medical facilities. Paramedics work closely with police, firefighters, and other emergency medical technicians to care for the ill or injured. Paramedics offer specialized pre-hospital care and assessments and to patients following automobile accidents, heart attacks, gunshot wounds, slips and falls, and childbirth. Paramedics generally evaluate a patient’s health condition, determine pre-existing medical conditions, and offer report information regarding the patient to physicians. Some paramedics work as members of helicopter flight teams transporting the critically injured or ill and also offer private transportation to patients as they move from hospitals to other medical facilities.

Paramedics must complete training programs to qualify for positions within most public and private emergency responding organizations. Training programs offer the knowledge, skills, and techniques regarding established protocols and regulations regarding patient care, transport, treatment, safety, and proper reporting procedures. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) offers certification and training to individuals with an interest in becoming a paramedic.

Candidates seeking the formal training required to qualify as paramedics must complete the minimum of a high school diploma. Training is generally based upon progressive levels, from EMT-Basic, EMT- Intermediate, and Paramedic though state regulations vary. EMT- Basic courses provide an emergency skills training foundation. Courses include: patient assessment, trauma care, managing medical emergencies, utilizing basic life support equipment, CPR, hemorrhage control, fracture and spinal stabilization, managing environmental emergencies, emergency childbirth, and use and care of common emergency equipment. Most courses offer students hands on experiences working with experienced professionals in emergency departments or ambulances. Upon successful completion of courses, candidates are required to complete a State or NREMT administered written examination and demonstrate their skills within clinical or practical examinations to gain the certification necessary to advance as Basic EMTs.

Training requirements to gain the certification and qualifications as an Intermediate Level EMT. Training programs are generally based upon 30 to 350 hours of instruction, practical experiences, and licensure. Courses vary by program but frequently include: human anatomy and physiology, didactic, psychomotor skills, clinical practicum, respiratory therapy, advanced airway devices, intravenous fluids, and administration of specific medications. Candidates advance to written and practical examinations upon completion of courses to gain the certification necessary to advance as Intermediate EMTs.

Training to become the highest level emergency care personnel, training to become a Paramedic requires an extensive understanding of patient care, protocols, and advanced medical skills. Many technical or community colleges offer individuals the training required to qualify as paramedics which often culminate in an associate degree. Courses include: initial assessment, resuscitation, rapid trauma assessment, focused history and physical examination, detailed physical examination, dual lumen airway device, cardiac management skills, dynamic cardiology, static cardiology, IV and medication skills, intravenous therapy, intravenous bolus medications, oral station, scene management, patient management, interpersonal relations, integration, pediatric skills, pediatric ventilatory management, pediatric introsseous infusion, spinal immobilization (seated patient), spinal immobilization (supine patient), bleeding control/shock management, and psychomotor exam. Candidates who complete required coursework advance to written and practical examinations to gain licensure necessary to qualify as paramedics.

All paramedics are required to gain and maintain licensure as determined by state regulations. Licensing requirements vary per state though most require paramedics to complete NREMT certification. Most paramedics are required continue education through refresher training courses and re-license every two or three years. Many paramedics advance to supervisory, administrative, or managerial positions within emergency services organizations upon securing adequate education and work experience. Several paramedics also work as instructors or dispatchers. Others may continue studies within health care degree programs to advance as registered nurses, physician’s assistants, physicians, or health care workers. With this information on how to become a Paramedic, you’re well on your way to a successful future in this field.

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