How To Become A Paramedic

Paramedics play an important role in saving the lives of people in emergency situations. They are usually the first to reach the emergency situation and provide medical attention to those who require their services.

Paramedics Job Description
Paramedics generally perform the following duties:

  • Respond to 911 calls to provide medical assistance
  • Evaluate the condition of the patient and decide the suitable course of treatment
  • Follow the specific guidelines of training and instructions given by the supervisors
  • Take safety measures to keep patient immobile, secure, and safe in an ambulance
  • Transport patients to emergency units in hospitals and healthcare facilities and report their condition to ER staffs
  • Prepare a patient care report, mentioning all medications and treatment administered to the patient
  • Replace supplies and maintain equipment used in an ambulance and in the field

How To Become A Paramedic
The prerequisites for entering paramedic training and formal education include a high school degree or a GED and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification (CPR). Paramedics require advanced level of training. They need to complete both the emergency medical technician (EMT) level and the Advanced EMT training. They are also given training to learn advanced medical skills. Paramedic training is offered by community colleges and technical schools, and students may use these credit to earn an associate's degree. Paramedics need about 1300 hours of training, and the duration of the training may be up to two years. Online education is offered by many accredited institutions that students may enroll to complete coursework. This option is allows students to complete courses from home or any place that has an internet connection, and is great for students who would like to become a paramedic while still working full-time.

License And Certification
Paramedics and emergency medical technicians are certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). The different levels of NREMT certification may only be received after the completion of a certified training or education program and by passing the national exam. National exam comprises of both written and practical assessment. All US states require paramedics to be licensed. The licensing requirements vary according to each state. In most states, a person with a NREMT certification qualifies for the license, but in others, an equivalent state exam must be passed. Licenses are given to individuals over the age of 18, and background checks are also conducted before giving the license.

Skills And Personal Qualities
Paramedics should possess the following skills and personality traits in order to be more successful in their career:

  • Compassion to support patients in distressful and life threatening situations
  • Teamwork and interpersonal skills to coordinate and manage emergency situations effectively
  • Listening skills in order to understand the patient's details about illness or injuries
  • Physical strength in order to perform tasks that require bending, kneeling, and lifting
  • Problem solving skills to identify the problem and come up with an immediate solution
  • Speaking skills in order to explain procedures, give instructions, and comfort patients

Career Outlook And Salary
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of paramedics is likely to increase by 33 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is a faster growth rate than the average of all occupations.  The average annual wage of paramedics was reported to be $30,360 in May 2010.

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