How-To-Guide for Becoming a Paramedic
When you’ve decided a career in healthcare is for you, you’ve taken the first step toward pursuing your life’s calling.
That’s a big and important step, but it’s only the initial one in a long journey. The next few steps involve narrowing down that career, and if you’ve arrived at the decision to become a paramedic, these following steps are for you.
Most people decide to become paramedics because they want to help people, serve their communities, work in an important and secure field, help save lives, and experience their workdays in a high-energy, fast-paced environment. Paramedics spend hours on their feet working long shifts on unpredictable calls, never quite knowing what each day will bring.
If you’re ready to begin your journey to become a paramedic, here’s what you need to do next:
1. Meet all the prerequisites of a paramedic diploma or degree program. These requirements include being 18 years old, having a high school diploma or equivalent, valid driver’s license and clean driving record, and demonstrable standard level of English comprehension; successfully passing a background check and physical assessment, and obtaining CPR certification or BLS (Basic Life Support) certification.
2. Apply and be accepted to a paramedic diploma or degree program. At HCI, the paramedic diploma program is a three-semester, 45-credit program that grants its successful completers with skills and training plus credentials needed to sit for the NREMT Paramedic Exam. The content of this program includes all lessons of a basic EMT program, but goes further to prepare paramedics for their larger roles in emergency medical response. Topics covered include ethics and medical legal issues, communications and patient assessment, cardiology, toxicology, neurology, and more.
3. Complete necessary field work for hands-on training. The paramedic program at HCI requires candidates to complete a total of 400 hours gaining practical experience. Students must spend 240 hours on an ambulance and 160 hours in a hospital setting to earn the base amount of hands-on training needed to become a paramedic in Florida.
4. Pass the state licensing exam, NREMT. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians examination is the final step in obtaining state licensure. Learn more about testing here.