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Paramedic School: Training Information, Programs, and Courses

Majors Overview February 7, 2013

Paramedic schools usually offer both associate degree programs and certification, which prepare students for an emergency medical service career. Once they have completed an accredited paramedic program, students are eligible to take the Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (EMT-P) certification examination that the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) administers. In this article, we will take a close look at paramedic school programs.

How to Select a Paramedic School

First, potential paramedics may select the level of study that they would like to pursue. Students have the option of completing either an associate degree or certificate program that would help ensure a job in the emergency medical service field, and guarantee qualification for national exams. Regardless of the choice made, the candidate must hold a high school diploma or equivalent qualification as well as CPR certification. An approved Emergency Medical Technician-Basic program must also be completed by them, in addition to, fulfilling an enrollment requirement. Many schools are interested in students with previous work experience in areas such as volunteer response experience, law enforcement or the military.

In some instances, the Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science program is a continuation of the certification program. Core training is completed by students first, and general education requirements are satisfied thereafter to complete coursework in the paramedic program. When the programs are being compared, students should consider if they would like the option to transfer easily from a certificate to a degree program.

Graduating from an accredited program is a mandatory requirement for paramedic candidates who want to qualify and be able to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians examination. Some states require potential paramedics to take and pass a state examination along with satisfying national tests. Students who are researching programs need to consider whether the colleges or universities prepare them to sit for and pass all relevant examinations.

After passing the national and state certification examinations; a candidate has to renew and maintain certification by completing continued education courses that support them in refreshing their skills and staying updated with new practices and information in the field. Certified paramedics that passed the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam are required to renew their license every two to three years. When students choose a paramedic college or university, prospective students must consider potential access to continued education resources after they graduate.

Overview of Paramedic Programs

Paramedic Certificate

Coursework in a paramedic certificate program combines classroom instruction and application of skills in lab settings with clinical experience in different environments such as ambulances and hospitals. The program is designed to train potential paramedics to provide advanced life support in emergency situations including drug administration and IV initiation. Coursework in certificate programs typically include:

•Airway management
•Medical care for special populations
•Patient assessment
•Medical emergency management

Paramedic Associate Degree

Advanced emergency medical skills are imparted in an associate degree program in paramedics; these include patient stabilization, trauma assessment and emergency care. The associate degree program prepares students for management level careers in health administration agencies and pre-hospital care environments. Along with core paramedic curriculum, they will complete a number of basic educational courses such as business, general psychology, mathematics and composition. Students will gain extensive clinical field experience, which will prepare them to manage, assess, and recognize medical emergencies of acutely ill or injured patients. The areas of study include:

•Cardiology
•Advanced respiratory care
•Trauma management
•EMS operations
•Pharmacology
•Anatomy and Physiology

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