How to Become a Paramedic

How to Become a Paramedic

Medical emergencies happen every day all over the country and people’s lives depend on the quick reaction and competence of emergency medical personnel to treat them quickly and effectively. Paramedics are high training medical professionals that are responsible for this duty.

What does a paramedic do?

Paramedics care for patients at the scene of a medical emergency and while patients are being transported to a medical facility. When an emergency takes place a 911 operator dispatches paramedics to the scene. Once they arrive at the scene, paramedics assess the patient and follow medical protocols and guidelines to provide the best care possible and transport the patient to a medical facility if necessary. When a patient is being transported to a medical facility, paramedics monitor his or her vital signs and give the necessary care. When the ambulance arrives to the medical facility paramedic’s help transfer the patients to the emergency department and report their actions and observations to the emergency staff.

What kind of training does a paramedic need?

A high school diploma is typically required for individuals who are interested in entering a formal paramedic-training program. The training program is generally called Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Paramedic. It is the most advanced level of training for emergency medical technicians. The program includes training in anatomy and physiology and advanced medical skills. Individuals typically complete the training at community colleges or technical institutions within 1 to 2 years. Some people receive an associate degree in the field. The training program prepares graduates to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) examination to become certified as a paramedic. A certification is required by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Paramedics must be up to date on their medical skills, complete continuing education courses, and become recertified every 2 years.

What are the prospects for a career in paramedics?

Employment for paramedics is projected to grow faster that average for occupations, increasing 19% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Full-time paid paramedics will be required to replace unpaid volunteers. The need for paramedics is also driven by an aging population and increase in medical emergencies.

Job prospects are expected to be favorable, especially in metropolitan areas and for private ambulance services. Job opportunities will arise to replace workers who leave the occupation.

How much do paramedics make?

As of July 2009, the middle 50% of paramedics earned annual salaries between $33,885 and $43,888. The top 10% earned annual salaries of more than $48,572 (2).

A career as a paramedic is an excellent choice for individuals who can work under pressure as medical emergencies can be very stressful and time sensitive. Paramedics should be emotionally stable, have good physical coordination, agility, and dexterity, and be able to lift and carry heavy objects. They must be able to work independently as well as part of team and have flexible schedules and work long demanding hours.

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