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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Emergency Medical Services

Majors Overview June 20, 2014

Graduates of Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Emergency Medical Services will be able to take the national certification exam as a paramedic and be taught to react to and recognize many medical emergencies. Opportunities for career advancement will also be available with an associate degree.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Programs in Emergency Medical Services

Students enrolled in an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Emergency Medical Services are provided with the training and skills they would need to seek entry-level jobs in the emergency medical care field as a paramedic. Graduates will be employable in clinical settings, public and private ambulance services, and hospital emergency departments. Technical schools and community colleges are among the institutions that offer these two-year degree programs.

Educational Requirements

Prospective students are expected to complete high school-level science and math classes, including chemistry, biology, and algebra. In some programs, students seeking admission are required to have completed core coursework in anatomy and English composition. Certification as an emergency medical technician (EMT) is also insisted on before students are allowed to begin higher-level coursework.


Students seeking paramedic certification are taught about basic emergency care before going on to learn higher-level skills, such as administration of medicines and intubation. Coursework may include the following subject areas:

•Airway management
•Basic First Aid and CPR
•Cardiac life support
•Legal issues involving health care

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 9% has been predicted for paramedics and emergency medical technicians during the period of 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). This projection is based on the assumption that an aging population will result in an increasing number of medical emergency calls. In May 2010, paramedics and EMTs took home an average annual wage of $31,020 (BLS).

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

While licensure norms vary by state, licensure is mandatory in all states for paramedics and EMTs. They can achieve licensure either by passing a state test or a certification exam that the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) administers. This would involve the passage of a written exam and demonstration of hands-on skills in 12 areas. Some paramedics that graduate from an associate’s degree program can seek continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in health care.

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