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How do I Earn a Paramedic Degree?

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  • Written By: A. Gabrenas
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 09 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Earning a paramedic degree is a process that usually involves several stages. To start, there are usually certain requirements a person needs to complete before he or she can enter a paramedic degree program. Once these prerequisites are met and a person is accepted into such a program, he or she must usually then complete any courses, internships and/or exams required. After successfully meeting these requirements, an associate’s degree in emergency medicine is typically awarded and a person can go on to test for certification as a paramedic.

Most paramedic degree programs have several steps applicants must complete before they can apply for admission. The first step is usually to earn a high school diploma or pass the general education development test. Next, students must usually earn certification as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and complete a set amount of time working as an EMT.

Once these are achieved, a person can usually then begin the application process for entering a paramedic degree program. This process generally includes submitting a formal application, taking any required entrance exams, providing proof of certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and submitting letters of reference from one’s professional experience as an EMT. Some degree programs may also require students to meet certain health requirements, such as having had certain vaccinations, and pass a background check.

Upon acceptance into a program, students generally begin coursework in the classroom. Most paramedic degree programs are run through community or technical colleges and are associated with local hospitals and emergency medical services. The initial courses usually take place at the college itself, and cover a variety of subjects from anatomy and pharmacology to writing and math. Later courses in the degree program often include hands-on training in the field, such as working on an affiliated ambulance team, and/or in a hospital. In general, it takes about two years to complete all of the required courses to earn an associate’s degree in emergency medicine.

Once a student has earned his or her emergency medicine degree, he or she typically still has to complete additional testing to become a licensed paramedic. For example, in the United States, all 50 states require some form of licensing for active paramedics. Some states may accept successful completion of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians paramedic certification test, while others may have their own tests. After the initial licensure, most states require paramedics to take continuing education classes and recertify every two years in order to remain actively licensed.

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