No, you don’t. There are two year associate degrees, that include a paramedic course and basic college classes. I highly recommend one of those. There are many schools that offer, just paramedic classes. I went to one of those, at a hospital/trauma center. If you become a paramedic and a firefighter on your own, you will go to the top of the fire department’s list, like a rocket. I walked into a fire station, in a big city/famous department and told them of my credentials. They said that being a firefighter/paramedic, before I even apply, puts me in the top ten rank, out of about 1,500 applicants. And these are people who have already applied. A friend of mine said that he quit trying to be a firefighter. He was tired of testing all the time. If he was a firefighter/paramedic already, he wouldn’t have had to test for long. Think about it. If you were hiring people, would you want to pay for someone to go to school and take the chance that they may not pass, or would you rather hire people who already payed for it themselves and are ready to go.