The question is often asked – Do EMTs and Paramedics Need a College Degree? Not necessarily, not in all cases, but let’s discuss the details. Both EMTs and paramedics require specific instruction in order to receive EMT certification. The education required depends upon the level of certification you want to obtain, the region or country in which you live, and the requirements by the employer who will be hiring you. Whether or not a college degree is required depends upon the level of EMT paramedic training you wish to pursue.
Your first step
regarding the necessary education to become an Emergency Medical Technician or paramedic is, of course, a high school diploma. There are other specific requirements that must be met in order to enter EMS training programs.
“Applying for an EMT Paramedic Program“ details these requirements.
Once you complete that step in your education, your next step is EMS training which, once completed, will award you the EMT-Basic certification. This certification does not require a college degree, though it may requires some college courses in the health, sciences, math.
For EMT-B (basic) you will receive instruction in several medical scenarios, including but not limited to: airway maintenance, emergency oxygen administration, CPR, defibrillation AED, trauma assessment, splinting and bandaging, emergency childbirth and transporting patients in an ambulance. This level of training can be taken at a variety of places offering EMT or paramedic instruction, including colleges, technical schools, or medical facilities and even fire stations.
Upon completion of your EMS education, you will need to be out working in the field, gaining the important hands on experience necessary to receive certification.
Your next step, preferably, is to seek employment with the EMS field. Most employers require or prefer an EMT who has at least 6 months of experience. This will lead you into a paramedic program. Prerequisites for just such a program usually require EMT-Basic and EMT-Intermediate Certification.
The next two levels of are EMT-I/85 (lower level intermediate) and EMT-I/99 (higher level intermediate). This consists of approximately 250 hours of field work and provides instruction for patient care at the next level of assistance. Some of the skills acquired are needle-decompression of tension pneumothorax, intravenous cannulation, endotracheal intubation, nasogastric tubes, and the administering of certain medications. As with EMT basic, there are numerous institutions in which you can receive your training. This level of EMT training usually involves general education studies and college credits, though a college degree such as an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree is not required in order to receive these levels of EMT training certification.
The next and final level is paramedic certification or licensure. This education includes, in more depth, anatomy and physiology, patient assessment survey and triage, airway management, oxygen therapy, treatment of shock, and bleeding control. Care for fractures, spinal injuries, cardiac arrest, and various other medical emergencies are also taught.
Paramedic schools can be as short as 8 months (Accelerated paramedic courses) or as long as 4 years. An Associate’s degree program is 2 years, often administered through a community college or technical school. A two year paramedic program resulting with the award of an Associate’s degree is the most common, although four year Bachelor’s degree paramedic programs exist.
Upon conclusion of paramedic training you will receive college credits. Most states do not require a college degree in order to become an EMT. In fact, many EMTs work as volunteers. Furthermore, some do not require a degree to become a paramedic; however most employers place preference on hiring a paramedic who has received an Associate’s degree through an accredited paramedic school. Much like the U.S., many countries also require an advanced level of EMS training in order to receive paramedic certification or licensing. The education degree is what also differs, and you will want to explore each region carefully to be sure the level and content of the EMS school in which you have enrolled is accredited in the country, region, or state in which you wish to apply for employment.
EMT Training Can Start in High School
EMT paramedic training can begin earlier than you think. Students who are pursuing a profession as an EMS provider can begin planning and choosing the best possible paramedic school course load as early as the beginning of their high school years. EMT training starts by finding good information and seeking good advice. With the help of an informed guidance counselor and careful attention to selecting the best possible course load, young men and women can put themselves on the pathway for an EMT paramedic career. Read more…