Paramedics are the first ones to reach critically ill and injured patients. They are often involved in life or death situations where they have to make crucial decisions that may be stressful. For this reason, it is essential that they possess the highest level of competency.
In order to become a paramedic, applicants will have to meet specific educational, training, and licensure requirements. Admissions requirements to paramedic programs include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and a high school diploma or equivalent. Preferably, the high school education should involve courses like anatomy and physiology. Paramedics must possess an advanced level of training. They are required to complete advanced medical skills training along with EMT-level and Advanced EMT training offered at community colleges and technical schools.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Paramedic?
Graduates are usually awarded an associate's degree. Such programs involve around 1,300 hours of training, and may take up to two years to complete. In order to be eligible to drive an ambulance, they must take a course comprising of 8 hours of training. Paramedics are required to be licensed; although, requirements may vary by state. Generally, they are required to pass a national exam which has separate written and practical parts. Paramedics are certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) which requires applicants to be at least 18 years of age.
What Do They Study?
The coursework is a combination of classroom instruction, clinical rotations, and field work. The theoretical coursework focuses on the following areas:
Anatomy and Physiology
Medical Emergencies and Operations
Illness and injury prevention
Students could hone their critical thinking skills during clinical rotations by acquiring multiple real patient care experiences. They could also practice clinical decision making while training in emergency rooms, psychiatric units, pediatric emergency areas, and intensive care units.
What Are The Job Responsibilities?
Paramedics are responsible for administering extensive out-of-hospital care to patients, and their focus is on emergency situations. They respond to calls for emergency medical assistance. While transporting patients, they assess their condition and help determine a course of treatment. They are responsible for keeping patients immobile and secure in an ambulance, and for this purpose they make use of backboards and restraints. They are also authorized to administer medications orally and intravenously. Often, they have to monitor heart function by interpreting electrocardiograms. They are then required to document this information and compile it in a report form. They may also assist the physician in the emergency rooms and intensive care units.
What Is the Employment Outlook?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted an employment increase of 33% for paramedics from 2010 to 2020. As their scope of practice expands, they are hired not just by medical offices and hospitals but also other industries. They could work in laboratories, aero medical transport services, medical departments of cruise ships, and off-shore oil drilling platforms. They could also work for fire departments, rescue organizations, and professional sports teams.