Paramedic certification, also known as EMT-Paramedic and EMT-P, is the most advanced level of emergency medical training available. It involves a rigorous educational program and several months of on-the-job training. When you are working towards paramedic certification or want to get your paramedic license, you will need to meet all the basic requirements of an emergency medical technician (EMT) and also complete several hundred hours of instructional training, up to six months of on-the-job training and several hours of clinical training. In order to get your paramedic license, you will need to successfully pass a paramedic certification exam and meet all of your State's requirements for paramedics.

Training Required for Paramedic Certification

Most paramedic certification programs run an average of 18 to 24 months in length, and this includes clinical training at a hospital, medical center or other approved medical facility. Paramedics take several advanced courses in subjects including defibrillation, medical terminology, stress management, pulmonary emergencies and life support. Paramedic training programs build upon the skills learned during a First Responder, EMT-Basic and EMT-Intermediate training program. Students learn how to administer various types of drugs and injections during an emergency situation, how to assess injuries, how to treat internal injuries, and how to use EKG machines.

Students interested in paramedic certification must have a high school diploma or GED, and commit to completing all educational requirements that include clinical hours and practical skills training. Successful completion of all paramedic certification educational requirements allows the student to take the official EMT-Paramedic exam and get their paramedic license.

How to Get a Paramedic License

Each state has its own medical emergency services board that grants license to each level of EMT training. The state grants paramedic licenses and also sets the requirements for continuing education.

Getting certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians is the final step towards national certification. National certification can be a good option for paramedics that live in a state where NREMT certification automatically grants state licensure. You will need to check with your state's Department of Health to find out what the specific requirements are for paramedics in your state. Other paramedic license requirements may include passing a criminal background check, providing proof of immunizations and health records, and agreeing to complete a certain amount of continuing education credits.

Some state health departments do allow an EMT or aspiring paramedic to reserve their exam date and apply for a paramedic license online.

The paramedic license exam includes a comprehensive written test and a practical exam where students must demonstrate their skills. The written test is based on many of the core concepts taught in the classroom-instruction portion of the paramedic training program. The practical exam is designed to test students in seven areas, including cardiac management, IV administration and patient intake processes. If the student doesn't pass their exam the first time, they are entitled to re-take the exam up to six times per year. However, there is a waiting period between testing and this waiting period varies by state.