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Requirements to be a Paramedic: Career Roadmap

Majors Overview February 12, 2013

In an emergency illness, including heart attacks, automobile accidents and medical emergencies, the first responder is usually a professional known as a paramedic. A paramedic will need to meet certification requirements regardless of the state that they work in; these professionals are typically employed in specialized areas. It normally takes two years to complete formal education. In this article, we will take a step-by-step look at the training requirements that a paramedic needs to satisfy in order to practice the profession.

Stage One: Qualifying for Emergency Medical Technician Training

A prospective candidate must be eighteen years old and needs to hold a GED or high school diploma in order to undergo EMT training. Apart from a physical exam, the candidate has to undergo screening for hepatitis B and tuberculosis. In many states, a check for criminal activity on the candidate’s background is also required to be completed as part of the qualification requirements, which needs to be satisfied.

Stage Two: EMT-Basic Training

EMT-Basic training is another prerequisite that paramedics have to complete for certification. Several community colleges and two-year schools offer EMT training. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed some EMT courses. Coursework focuses on topics such as patient assessment, trauma, airway management and cardiac emergencies. Completion of the program will make the technicians adept at providing advanced first aid, managing airways of chocking victims, and assessing trauma.

Stage Three: EMT Intermediate Training

Candidates can build on the skills they have learned in the EMT-B training by completing an EMT Intermediate training course. Qualification criteria to take part in an EMT intermediate course vary from state to state. There are two intermediate levels recognized nationally, namely, EMT-Intermediate 1999 and EMT-Intermediate 1985 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)). Scope of practice determines the length of training that could vary from 30-350 hours. EMT-Intermediate can make trainees adept in administering appropriate medications, analyzing heart rhythms and administering intravenous fluids.

Stage Four: Paramedic Training

An EMT-Paramedic program that takes one-two years to complete focuses on teaching physiology, anatomy and advanced medical skills and includes ambulance runs and clinical rotations. A paramedic is capable of performing lower EMT level duties. They are also capable of reading EKGs, using various sophisticated equipment and performing endotracheal intubations.

Stage Five: Become Certified

A paramedic earns certification by passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification exam. Certification exams for paramedics are offered by some states. In the majority of states, licensure needs to be renewed once in two to three years. Certain states also require candidates to complete refresher courses and fulfill continuing education requirements.

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