If you are interested in a career in the medical emergency services field, consider completing a paramedic degree program or paramedic study program at an accredited college, university or educational institution. Paramedic programs typically consist of both classroom training and hands-on instruction, and require students to complete several hundred hours of clinical training at an approved hospital or medical center. Unlike basic and intermediate EMT programs, these training programs focus on advanced study of medical emergencies, pharmacology, paramedic procedures and trauma procedures.

Paramedic Degree Programs

Paramedic programs are built upon the skills and courses of an EMT-Basic and EMT-II/EMT-III training program, and prepare students to work with directly with patients to provide emergency care.

Most paramedic degree programs are fully integrated programs that may include lectures, simulations, computer-aided training modules and hands-on activities. These are comprehensive educational programs that typically include advance courses in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, emergency response care, pharmacology and trauma.

If you are completing a paramedic degree online, you will need to complete your hands-on training at an approved medical center or school.

Some of the core courses offered in paramedic programs include:

  • Physical Assessment
  • Cardiology
  • Advanced Trauma
  • Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
  • Math for Allied Health
  • Paramedic Procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Advanced Cardiology
  • Integration Lab
  • EKG Interpretation
  • PC Applications
  • Communications
  • Field Operations
  • Introduction to the Clinical Environment
  • Hospital Clinicals

Most paramedics-in-training learn many of their core skills during the field clinicals and hospital clinicals. Advanced paramedic programs focus on the development of paramedic knowledge, core concepts and theories, practical skills applications and the development of leadership skills.

Paramedic degree programs are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation on Educational Programs of the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAESMP) and/or the Higher Learning Commission.

Preparing for a Paramedic Study Program

If you are entering the field of emergency services and do not hold EMT certification, you will first need to complete an Emergency Medical Services Certification program, or EMT-Basic educational program. This is the first step towards completing a paramedic study program and includes basic training in the field of emergency response and patient evaluation. Those who only complete this first level of a paramedic study program can be hired as "first responders", but will not be permitted to administer drugs intravenously or assume other duties on the job.

EMT-Paramedic training is the most advanced level of training available for emergency services professionals, and can only be completed after completing Basic and Intermediate EMT course programs.

Some important things to consider when preparing for a paramedic study program:

1. Hold at least a high school diploma or GED

2. Review state paramedic licensing and educational requirements

3. Complete EMT-Basic and EMT-II/EMT-III training at an accredited school or medical training center

4. Obtain as much hands-on training as possible

5. Improve your knowledge and skill set in the fields of anatomy, biology, physiology and other core science subjects

6. Clear your schedule to accommodate for intensive clinical training and didactic training before enrolling in a paramedic study program

Some paramedic training programs that include extensive clinical training requirements do offer a stipend to students. This means that you don't have to serve as a volunteer for your entire educational career, and may not need to worry about juggling a part-time job while you are completing your training program.