Paramedic training is a multi-step process. With the hefty responsibility of arriving first on scene, deciding the appropriate course of care and then maintaining that treatment during transport, training should be extensive and thorough. Here are a few things that you should expect as you study to become a paramedic.
Before you begin your paramedic certification, you must already have you high school diploma or GED. You must have also obtained your EMT-Basic certification. Your EMT-B course lasts approximately six months, and you will learn how to perform basic life support like CPR. You will also learn about stabilizing neck and spine injuries and advanced first aid. There is also a certification test at the end of the course that you will need to pass to work as an EMT-B. The knowledge and skills you learn in EMT-B will provide the foundation that your paramedic training will build upon.
Applying to Paramedic School
The requirements of each paramedic program can vary. Some require that the applicant take college-level math, English and biology courses. Some require that the applicant submit letters of recommendation and be interviewed for a place in the program. The majority require the applicant to have at least six months of work experience as an EMT-B before they can apply. You should keep a record of the calls that you respond to while working as an EMT because some programs request this information to determine how much experience you actually received.
Because of the relationship between fire services and emergency medical services, some paramedic programs will require courses in fire science, and others will give preference to students with fire science as a background. While researching paramedic schools, be sure to compare the requirements and make sure that you meet them before applying.
Once you are accepted into a paramedic program, your training is broken up into three phases. The first phase is classroom work, which will cover pharmacology, pathophysiology, patient assessment skills, essentials of airway management, and much more. This part of the training contains a lot of information to acquire at once, so it requires a lot of studying.
The second phase is the hospital clinical portion, where you will be exposed to different areas of the hospital like pediatrics, obstetrics and the emergency room. Here you will begin to apply what you have learned to different patient populations and see what happens to patients when they get transferred to the hospital.
Phase three of a paramedic program is the ambulance clinical part. You will get to ride along with an ambulance crew and learn firsthand what they do and how to do it properly in practice. Keep in mind that some programs ask you to arrange your own ambulance clinical, so when working as an EMT, network positively with ambulance crews to make it easier.
Becoming a paramedic is not something that will happen overnight. It takes time, hard work and planning, but in the end, it's a dynamic and rewarding career that can save lives.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons