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What education is needed to become a paramedic?

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What minimum degree or certification is required to become a paramedic?
Are there different educational requirements for different types of paramedics?
What steps should you take to achieve this required education?
If you are a paramedic, what educational path did you take to become one?

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William’s Answer

While there are some differences from state to state, widely the process is the same: become an EMT-Basic and then move on to Paramedic. Typically, EMT courses are around 6 months and Paramedic programs are 1-2 years depending on where you go. A high school diploma/GED is the usual requirement for starting out.
After obtaining a Paramedic license it is possible to go on for more advanced training and become board certified in Flight, Critical Care, Tactical, Community, and now Wilderness Paramedicine.
Personally, I became a Basic EMT while in my last semester of high school. After two years I moved up to an Advanced EMT. By the time I became a Paramedic I had 5 years of street experience under my belt. My Basic and Advanced EMT classes were done through hospitals, but I went through Paramedic school at the university I was already attending and got an A.S. in Emergency Medical Services. While the degree isn’t required, I advise students to get it-especially if they already have college credits that can be applied- because at the end of the day it gives you a college degree.

William recommends the following next steps:

Visit your state’s website to see requirements specific for that state. Usually found under Dept of Homeland Security or Health and Human Services
Visit www.NREMT.org to review the requirements for taking the National Registry Exam- required in many states to obtain an EMS certification/license
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David’s Answer

Basic EMT and basic CPR certification are the requirements. There are no different types of paramedics that I’m aware of. There are different types of EMT’s. Basic and advanced. Advanced is not a requirement to be a paramedic. Just a preference, for some basic EMT’s. You can go to NREMT on the internet to find out more. You can also talk to them on the phone if you have certification questions. Some programs offer two year associate degrees. Those are optional. But not a bad idea. You can go online to find local schools and even online basic EMT programs. I went just before my senior year in high school. Then I worked on a paramedic unit for a year, stationed at a hospital. This prepared me for paramedic school. The most important tip that I can give any basic EMT, planning on going to paramedic school, is to get an ACLS provider manual by the AHA. This is the cardiology part of the class. Study this before paramedic school. I did this and that portion of the class was a breeze. Many of my classmates and even my own students, have struggled through this portion. It was an honor for me to answer this question. I hope it helped.

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