Paramedics typically complete emergency medical services (EMS) training at a paramedic school or other accredited medical training center. Accredited paramedic schools around the country prepare students for the paramedic certification exam and provide advanced courses in subjects including emergency response, life support, respiratory care, ambulatory services and drug administration amongst others. If you are interested in becoming a paramedic, it will take you about 18 to 24 months to complete your training program. Online paramedic school programs now make it easier for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and other health professionals to get the training they need for paramedic certification.
What Do You Learn at Paramedic School?
Paramedic schools typically offer three different levels of training: basic training (EMT-Basic), intermediate training (EMT-II or EMT-III), and advanced training (EMT-Paramedic). Most students who enroll in the EMT-Paramedic program have completed either the basic or intermediate level of EMT training. An accredited paramedic school typically offers training that builds upon the skills learned in the EMT-Basic and EMT-II/EMT-III training programs, and gives students a chance to complete several hundred hours of clinical training at a local hospital or emergency medical center.
Some of the key concepts and skills learned at paramedic school include:
- Assessing a patient's condition
- Transporting patients from the ambulance to the hospital
- Working with nurses, doctors and other medical professionals in the emergency room setting
- Administering appropriate drugs and fluids intravenously
- Using manual defibrillator devices
- Advanced airway management
- Providing advanced life support in an emergency situation
Enrolling in Accredited Paramedic Schools
In order to enroll in an accredited paramedic school, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. An educational background or strong skills in the medical field can help you with your career. Most aspiring paramedics enroll in the EMT training program before they can be admitted to a paramedic certification program. EMT training programs are readily available at many community colleges, vocational schools and private medical training centers. Most schools that offer an accredited paramedic training program grant students a certificate upon completion. All paramedics must complete a certain number of hours of lab work and hands-on training.
Those that wish to advance in their careers may consider pursuing an associate in science degree program, or working towards a bachelor's degree as a registered nurse at a later date. Paramedic schools can prepare students for a variety of attractive careers in the field of emergency response management, trauma care, nursing, and ambulance operations amongst others.
Things You Should Know About Online Paramedic School Programs
Online training for paramedics usually consists of tutorials, online lectures, simulations and videos that teach students some basic concepts. Not all online paramedic training programs are accredited, so students who do choose to enroll in these programs and pay the fee must make sure that the school has been certified and approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and other accrediting organizations.
Some states offer online paramedic school training programs that can lead to certification. In some cases, the classes taken in these programs can be used towards an associate's degree in the field, or serve as supplementary courses for an offline program.
It's important to remember that paramedics cannot complete all of their educational requirements for certification entirely online. Students must still complete didactic hours and clinical training at an approved medical facility or training center in order to be eligible for the paramedic certification exam.