Do you want to become a paramedic? Here is a step-by-step guide

The ability to help others is highly rewarding because you are offering selfless services to the ones in need. Being a paramedic is one of the most gratifying careers, it brings challenges not many other professions come with, but at the end of the day, you feel happy because you are able to save a life.

Are you eager to start this career?

Here is a comprehensive guide that offers detailed information on how to become a qualified EMT. Some specifics may be different, according to the state where you are living, but the following details will help you figure out the steps you have to follow to become a paramedic.


Do you know that paramedics and EMTs are different?

While many times these terms are used as synonyms, it’s important to note that they are different professions. No matter what job you will choose, you will offer great care to patients and transport them to the closest hospital when needed. But they are different professions and it’s important to know the tasks they imply.

An EMT or an emergency medical technician can offer basic health care support. By choosing this profession, you can treat fractures, wounds, burns, administer oxygen and even conduct resuscitation. Depending on the area where you operate, you may or may not be able to perform operations that imply breaking the skin of the patient. You will also administer treatment for the patients who are experiencing allergic reactions and administer other types of auto-injectors.

A paramedic is qualified to offer the highest level of emergency care outside medical facilities. If this is the career you choose, you will do everything a paramedic does and some extra operations. You can read EKGs, administer various medications, insert breathing tubes and even provide treatments that imply breaking the skin.

You need a high school diploma

Getting your high school diploma is an essential step in following this career because many training programs will require you to have it when starting the classes. When choosing the organisation that provides training, you should select one that provides complete healthcare classes. You should enrol in science, math and psychology classes. Science courses provide information on how the human body functions, math training helps you calculate the medication dosage you have to apply in different cases, and psychology courses help you better understand the patients’ mental state.

Alongside the above training, you also need physical education because many times you will have to help and transport immobilised patients, so you have to be strong enough to carry them. Sometimes you will even have to restrain people to prevent them from harming themselves, and if you are not properly physical trained, you will find difficult to do it. All paramedics and EMTs have to be able to lift around 100 pounds.

Experience is optional, but it will help you get the job of your dreams

You can work as a volunteer at your local hospital if you want to gain experience before applying for a job. An alternative is to get a lifeguard job, you will provide help to the swimmers in need. Lifeguard jobs require the candidates to be at least 15 years old, and they offer the opportunity to practice some EMT operations when you provide first aid.

It’s advisable to get an inside look before you choose your career, no matter if we are speaking about the healthcare industry or another one. Check if the local ambulance service or the fire department allow people to ride along with their experts, to better understand what the job implies. If the local department accepts you as a volunteer, you should make sure you follow their instructions and rules. This experience will offer you a real sense of the operations you will perform on a daily basis as a paramedic or EMT.  

Enrol in a training program

To get a paramedic or EMT job you must complete a training program in emergency health care. Multiple institutions and organisations offer EMT basic training in a mix of courses and training sessions in hospitals and in the lab. You should be at least 18 years old to apply for a training program. Some states allow even 16 years people to complete basic EMT training, so it’s advisable to check with your local institutions.

You will have to complete a certified training program before enrolling in additional classes to specify in a certain field. Some paramedic or EMT jobs require a certain amount of experience in the emergency room in order to apply as a candidate. The cost of education varies according to the program you choose, and you should take into consideration the expenses for buying textbooks, uniforms, equipment and getting licenses and certifications.

Get a driver’s license

While many healthcare jobs do not require the candidate to have a driver’s license, they definitely prefer the students who have one. Some healthcare institutions require their candidates to have a valid license in order to be paramedics. Each emergency institution has its own rules, so you should check the ones the healthcare facilities in your region have. Also, a clean driving license is essential if you want to get an EMT or paramedic job because your driving skills can impact your patients’ life.

When you complete the training, you should take some courses to acquire the needed skills for driving an ambulance.

You should have a clean background

Some healthcare facilities require the candidates to have a clean background to apply for a job. So you should expect them to conduct a background check when you apply for one of their open positions. Sometimes they even require applicants to provide their fingerprints.

Most of the times your criminal record is not an impediment in becoming a paramedic, but it all depends on the type of the crime. Some healthcare facilities accept candidates if the offence happened a long time ago and the applicant can show rehabilitation proof.

EMT training teaches you to save lives so you should make sure you focus on acquiring all the skills needed to help your patients and to grow a fulfilling career.  


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