If you have completed EMT-I or basic EMT training, you may be interested in training to become a paramedic. EMT to Paramedic training programs are available at several vocational schools, technical colleges, medical training centers and even online schools. You will need to take advanced courses in emergency response and emergency training, and also complete several hundred hours of clinical training. Paramedics training programs are built upon basic and intermediate EMT training programs, so continuing your education after receiving certification can put you on the fast track to success. Here's what you need to know about the educational track for an EMT to paramedic.

EMT to Paramedic Educational Track

EMTs and paramedics are trained to respond to emergency situations and work with ambulance service providers and professionals in an emergency room setting at the hospital. Most EMTs and paramedics are dispatched by a 911 operator and may work with fire fighters and other medical professionals, depending on the situation. Paramedics are responsible for evaluating the patient's condition, moving the patient from the ambulance bed to the hospital, assisting nurses with the patient intake process, and making sure the patient is in a stable condition on their way to the hospital.

The EMT to paramedic educational track prepares those who have only basic EMT training (EMT-I) or other healthcare experience to work as a paramedic and provide advanced medical emergency assistance. The EMT to Paramedic educational track typically consists of the following levels of training:

  • EMT-I - basic training that prepares students to serve as first responders in an emergency setting
  • EMT - II and EMT-III - intermediate training that involves between 30 to 350 hours of training depending on State requirements
  • EMT-Paramedic - the most advanced EMT program that typically takes two years to complete and may lead to an associate's degree. This level of training requires advanced medical coursework and extensive clinical experience.

EMT to Paramedic Bridge Programs

If you have completed an EMT-II or EMT-III program and are interested in becoming a paramedic, you can enroll in an EMT to Paramedic bridge course. These courses are designed for students who have already completed some training in the emergency medical field, and the educational program typically include advanced courses in the field of medical emergencies, trauma, cardiology and respiratory care. Students enrolled in this type of program are required to complete a certain number of classroom hours and log in didactic hours to demonstrate their skills. A portion of these programs also includes a hands-on practical lab and clinical rotations at hospitals and medical centers in the area. Upon completion of the EMT to Paramedic bridge program, the student may be eligible to take the NREMT Paramedic certification exam.

Tips on How an EMT Can Become a Paramedic

Here's a basic overview of how an EMT can become a paramedic:

  • Complete EMT-1 Certification courses at an accredited college or medical training center
  • Take EMT-II or EMT-III courses and enroll in a bridge course program, OR:
  • Complete an EMT-II course and then enroll in a complete EMT-Paramedic program
  • Log in State-mandated clinical hours and complete didactic and classroom training as required by the school or training center
  • Get an associate's degree in Emergency Medical Technology or as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Take the NREMT Paramedic certification exam

Some EMT courses can be completed online, but students will still be required to complete their clinical at an approved training facility or hospital. Online EMT certification and EMT-Paramedic courses may require students to learn through PowerPoint presentations, online lectures, simulations and videos.