Of all of the emergency medical team members, paramedics are the most highly trained responders. There is a different between a paramedic and an EMT. In most states, there are many levels of emergency responders, and these vary from state to state. This job is very challenging, and it also can be dangerous; however, emergency work is a rewarding career choice if you like excitement and action.
Educational Requirements for a Paramedic Program
To become a paramedic in most states, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license. To advance past the beginning level, you must have a high school diploma or GED and a higher than 10th grade reading level. You are not required to have a degree in most states to become a paramedic, although having one will help you find a better job and some other states require it.
There are strict requirements that must be followed to advance to a paramedic. These requirements include set hours of required training in and out of the classroom. Most paramedic programs require you to earn advanced EMT status before granting a paramedic license. To find out more about this profession, visit the website of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT).
According to the state, paramedics must hold an active license as an EMT before entering a paramedic program. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) offers certification for emergency responders of all levels. Typical licensure for EMTs and paramedics includes:
- First Responder: Must be at least 18 years old, pass a first responder board examination, complete a board approved first responder program, pass a criminal background check, and hold an active CPR certification.
- EMT-IV: Must be at least 18 years old, hold a GED or HS diploma, complete a board approved EMT IV course, pass the EMT-IV board examination, and pass a criminal background check.
- Paramedic: Must meet all of the EMT-IV requirements, complete a board approved paramedic course, and pass the paramedic board examination.
- Paramedic Critical Care: Must hold a license as a paramedic, must pass a board approved critical care paramedic program, must pass the critical care paramedic board examination
Paramedic Job Duties
Paramedics are the first responders to many different medical emergencies which include car accidents, mass casualties, terrorist attacks, and victims of stroke or heart attack. The paramedic performs advanced cardiac life support measures and other pre-hospital emergency care. Job duties include monitoring patient condition, bandaging and caring for wounds, controlling shock, immobilizing fractures, stabilizing the spine, and supervising emergency personnel.
Career Opportunities and Salaries of the Paramedic
Many paramedics work for ambulatory service companies, flight and trauma centers, and emergency transport organizations. There are some hospitals that will employ paramedics and EMTs to work on site. According to most web sources, the typical salary for a paramedic lies in the range of $25,000 to $52,000 per year. The rate of pay will vary based on your education, training, experience, place of employment, and the state and city where you work.