How to Become a Paramedic

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How to Become a Paramedic. Paramedics provide emergency medical care in a pre-hospital setting. They have more skills and training than basic emergency medical technicians (EMT). Paramedics treat various types of injuries and illnesses. They may provide routine care such as stabilizing a fracture. Other times paramedics need to perform life saving procedures such as administering medications and performing CPR. Paramedics usually have standing protocols which allows them to perform certain procedures if indicated. Read on to learn more.

Become a basic emergency medical technician (EMT). Paramedic training requirements vary by state. Many paramedic schools require a student to be certified as an EMT before they can become a paramedic. Training to become an EMT can be found at community colleges, adult education programs and private vocation schools.

Apply to a paramedic program. Contact your local office of emergency services to find a list of schools in your area. Paramedic programs usually range from eight months to two years.

Learn how to perform procedures such as CPR, intubations, cardioversions and EKG's. Take classes in pharmacology, anatomy and physiology.

Complete an internship. Paramedic programs usually include a specific number of hours be completed working in an emergency room, a fire department or on an ambulance. Students will learn to recognize and treat medical conditions such as heart attacks, respiratory problems and injuries from trauma and drug overdoses.

Obtain additional certifications. Many paramedic programs will require students to take classes and pass certifications tests in advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric advanced life support.

Pass a state exam. After completing a paramedic program graduates will need to pass the licensing exam in their state. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians also offers a national exam for paramedics.

Apply for a position. Fire departments employ paramedics. Contact your county and city employment office for information. Paramedics are also hired by private ambulance companies, emergency rooms and air ambulances.


Before starting a paramedic program call your local fire department and ask to do a ride along. Many departments will allow a ride along for purposes of career exploration. This will enable you to see first hand what paramedics do.


Paramedics need to be able to assess a situation quickly and make treatment decisions. They must be able to handle witnessing tragic situations and terrible injuries. That combination makes the job physically and emotionally stressful. Paramedics work in uncontrolled environments. They may be called in to situations where a crime has just taken place or where the threat of violent behavior still exists. Paramedics are exposed to blood borne pathogens and various illnesses and viruses. Personal protective equipment should be worn to reduce the risk of infection.

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