Becoming a Paramedic

Mary Gormandy White
Becoming a Paramedic

Are you interested in finding out about what's involved in becoming a paramedic? Working in this profession requires formal field related training and state licensure. Find out more about what's involved in preparing to enter this rewarding and challenging occupation and consider whether or not it might be a good career option for you.

Becoming a Paramedic: Training

In order to become qualified to work as a paramedic, you will need to complete a formal certificate or Associate degree program that meets the training requirements specified by the state where you plan to work. Depending on where you live, you may be able to attend an occupational training program designed to provide you with the skills and educational background necessary to work as a paramedic at a local community college, career school or university.

It typically takes between one and two years to complete a program of study designed to lead to paramedic licensure, with Associate degree programs taking longer to complete than programs that provide graduates with a certificate credential. Coursework includes training in anatomy and physiology, biology, medical treatments and procedures and other important information necessary to work as a paramedic.

Beyond Paramedic Training

Paramedic Licensure Exams

Once you complete school, before being allowed to work in the field, you will need to pass the licensure test required by your state. While requirements vary from one state to another, becoming licensed often requires passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam and/or additional testing as specified by the state.

Background Screening

In some states, licensure can be denied based on criminal history. Even in states where criminal records are not checked as a condition of licensure, individuals who have certain kinds of convictions on their records may find it difficult, if not impossible, to become employed as a paramedic.

Ongoing Continuing Education

Once paramedics become licensed they must comply with state mandated continuing education requirements in order to continue to work in the field. Each state specifies a time frame for licensure renewal and sets guidelines for how many hours of continuing education are necessary and what subject matter is appropriate.

Is Becoming a Paramedic Right for You?

Completing the education and licensure requirements necessary to qualify to work as a paramedic does not guarantee that an individual will be successful in the field. Working as a paramedic is not for everyone. Many people find the work to be enormously rewarding, while others find it to be very stressful. Think carefully about what is involved in performing this type of work before deciding that becoming a paramedic is the right option for you.

Working as a paramedic can be physically and emotionally taxing. Paramedics must have the ability to apply what they know about emergency medicine to a variety of situations on a moment's notice and be able to cope with high levels of stress and uncertainty. They often work long shifts at all hours of the day and night and have to deal with life and death situations on a regular basis. However, paramedics also often have the opportunity to help people through difficult situations and can be directly responsible for saving lives.

If you feel that you will be able to handle the unique challenges of performing this type of work and you like the idea of helping people who are facing emergency medical situations, then working in this profession just might be the right choice for you. Qualified paramedics who know what they are doing and who are dedicated to the profession are certainly in high demand.

Becoming a Paramedic