How Do I Become a Critical Care Paramedic?

Kesha Ward

Critical care paramedics are the first responders to situations where there have been serious injuries or illnesses. If you would like to become a critical care paramedic, you must complete an educational program that will teach you how to handle critical care situations. Most degree programs are offered at the associate level, but there are bachelor's degree programs in emergency medical care that can be used to qualify for the profession. Employers usually want to see the completion of either a degree or certificate program. It is important that you have the ability to work well under stress and intense pressure to be successful in this field.

Paramedics are responsible for briefing doctors on a patient's condition upon arriving at a hospital.
Paramedics are responsible for briefing doctors on a patient's condition upon arriving at a hospital.

Training programs vary because each region has different requirements for those who would like to become a critical care paramedic. You must receive basic trauma life support certification as well as an advanced life support certification. Employers may also require you to register with a paramedic association.

Paramedics are often the first responders on the scene of an accident, and must be well-trained to stabilize a number of life-threatening injuries.
Paramedics are often the first responders on the scene of an accident, and must be well-trained to stabilize a number of life-threatening injuries.

The most common degree obtained by individuals who want to become a critical care paramedic is the associate of applied science. An associate's degree program can typically be completed in two years. The best program will be designed to teach students how to provide emergency medical care while transporting the patient to the hospital.

The coursework required to become a critical care paramedic is split between clinical experience and classroom instruction. Required courses will cover topics related to wellness, general health, and emergency medical care. Students are also exposed to cardiac care, human anatomy, medical trauma care, and pharmacology to help urgently address the needs of critically ill and injured patients.

While enrolled in a program to become a critical care paramedic, you will be required to complete a set number of hours working as a paramedic. Unless you are currently employed as a paramedic, these hours will likely be unpaid. You will be required to demonstrate aptitude in the course work through your experience as a paramedic intern.

After completing a training program and intern hours, you will be ready to apply for jobs. You will have likely have to undergo extensive screening that could include a background check. Some programs conduct background checks to ensure applicants meet the requirements for working with critically ill or injured patients and have the moral character to work in that capacity.

Paramedics try to stabilize trauma patients before they can be brought to the emergency room.
Paramedics try to stabilize trauma patients before they can be brought to the emergency room.

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