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Best Paramedic and EMT Schools + Career Information - 2020

As an EMT or paramedic, you play a direct role in helping people during emergency situations. While most training programs are relatively short, you do need to complete one before you can begin to answer emergency calls, apply first aid and transport patients to the appropriate medical facility. This list of the 5 best EMT programs is the perfect place to begin your plans to make your dream of serving in the health services field come true.

What is the Goal of an EMT Program?


EMT programs are developed to teach you the essential skills that you need to stabilize patients during emergency calls and perform lifesaving procedures such as CPR. During your course of study, you will practice EMT duties such as assessing a patient and determining the best course of treatment. You will also learn about the laws that you are required to follow to practice as an EMT in your specific state such as obtaining and maintaining your licensing and certification.

Program Cost


The cost of attending your program depends upon factors such as how long you plan to attend school. While you can obtain a position with a certificate or diploma, it is best to pursue the highest level of education that you can achieve.

TypeCost
Certificate / Diploma$2,275 - $22,726
     Associate Degree$6,808 - $44,654
Baccalaureate Degree$28,329 - $85,359


Program Length


One of the most exciting aspects of an EMT program is that you can be working within the healthcare industry in as few as six months to a year. You can also continue to pursue your higher education program while working as an EMT once you are certified.

TypeLength
Certificate / Diploma6 – 18 Months 
     Associate Degree2 Years
Baccalaureate Degree4 Years


Can I Pursue This Program Online?


EMT schools are typically traditional campuses that require you to attend classes in person. This is because many of the skills you learn such as first aid require hands-on practice. However, you may be able to complete portions of your study program online, especially if you pursue an associate or baccalaureate degree. These often require you to take core courses such as English and Science that can be done online. Certain continuing education courses that are required to maintain your EMT certification can also be taken online.

Admission Requirements


The admission requirements for an EMT or paramedic program can vary according to the specific academic facility. However, most do not require you to have any prior college credits. The primary admission requirements are as follows:

• a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma
• a current CPR certification

Curriculum


An accredited program must fit specific guidelines to provide prospective EMTs with the knowledge that they need to safely provide emergency assistance to patients out in the field. The curriculum combines hands-on experiences with lectures and private study to provide a comprehensive learning experience. Some of the courses that you will take in the program cover subjects such as common medical emergencies that you encounter as an EMT and how to assess a scene. You will also learn vital information about clearing and opening airways and treating severe injuries during a patient’s transport. You will also learn how to operate an ambulance and gain access to someone who is incapacitated.

Why Attending an EMT Program Accredited by CAAHEP Makes a Difference?


Accreditation by CAAHEP means that the EMT program you choose has proven the ability to comply with current standards and regulations that represent the best practices in your chosen field. While other programs may attempt to shorten the duration of study by leaving out elements, those that are recognized by CAAHEP go above and beyond others to provide a quality education. You will also find that attending an accredited program means that your credits can sometimes be transferred to other programs as needed. Potential employers also notice when you list your education from a CAAHEP accredited program on your job application and resume.

What are the 5 Best CAAHEP Accredited Paramedic and EMT Programs in the Nation for 2020?


1) Broward College - Davie, FL


Broward College focuses strongly on practical teaching to ensure EMT and paramedic students stay updated with the latest healthcare industry trends, thus helping them find good job placements.

Diploma in Emergency Medical Technician: This one-semester diploma course contains a total of 12 credit hours. In addition to receiving education on the basics of emergency medical services, you will also gain practical experience through clinical exercises, which form a vital part of the curriculum. Upon completion, you will eligible to take the Florida State EMT Examination and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) Examination.

Certificate in Paramedic: The 4-semester certificate program consists of 42 credit hours. In order to progress from term 1 to term 2, you must hold an active EMT license in the state of Florida. Further, you are required to maintain the active status of your license throughout the rest of your study. In addition to lab practical and clinical exercises, a four-credit hours internship helps you gain the required real-world exposure. Upon completion, you will be eligible to take Florida State Paramedic examination and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) Paramedic Examination.

Associate in Emergency Medical Services: This associate degree is a 6-semester course with a total of 73 credit hours. This program will require you to complete three milestones. The diploma and certificate course are the first and second milestones. In addition to the courses studied during first and second milestones, you will receive education in humanities, comprehension, reasoning, leadership, and psychology as part of your third milestone to earn your associate degree.

2) Fox Valley Technical College - Appleton, WI


With a strong focus on hands-on learning, Fox Valley Technical College currently offers three programs for students aspiring to enter the Emergency Medical Services industry.

Diploma in Emergency Medical Technician: The full-time technical diploma course consists of five credits, and upon completion, you become eligible to sit for National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians-Basic certification and Wisconsin licensure examinations. The curriculum contains 180 theory hours and 90 hours of outside effort training.

Certificate in Emergency Medical Technician - Advanced: The advanced certificate course (4 credits) is for those who hold a Wisconsin EMT-Basic license. It provides you training to handle patients on the advanced life support system in an ambulance. During the 170 theory hours and 60 hours of outside effort learning, you will receive education in monitoring vital signs, administrating advanced medication, providing IV therapy and keeping a tab on the pulse and oxygen levels. Upon completion, you become eligible to take Emergency Medical Technicians-Advanced certification in addition to sitting for the Wisconsin state licensure exam.

Diploma in Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic: The full-time, technical diploma program consists of 41 credits covering a range of subjects providing information on - pharmacology, cardiology, human anatomy, and emergency trauma care services. The course also provides practical exposure through two different clinical/field exercises, which are very helpful for the professional growth of students. Upon completion, you become eligible to apply for National Registry certification and Wisconsin licensure examinations.

3) Palm Beach State College - Lake Worth, FL


Working with a mission to provide the highest quality emergency medical services to the community, Palm Beach State College offers a range of courses including a certificate, diploma, and associate degree program.

Diploma in Emergency Medical Technician: The basic 12-credit program contains a combination of theoretical instructions, lab practical, and clinical exercise. In terms of program hours, this one-semester course structure is divided into 6 theory hours, 10 hours of lab, and 3 hours for clinical exercise. Students can complete their coursework in approximately 16 weeks and become eligible to take the National Registry EMT examination.

Certificate in Paramedic: The certificate course consists of 42 credits delivered over a period of three semesters. Classes are held during daytime in the fall and the spring semesters, while in the summer term, night classes are part of your schedule. After completion, you become eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification.

Associate in Emergency Medical Services: This degree program is offered in both full-time (2-year) and part-time (3-year) formats. The course consists of 73-credit which are further divided into the technical core courses (54-credit), general education courses (15-credit), and electives (4-credit). The curriculum covers a variety of subjects providing information on crucial aspects of emergency care and medical assistance.

4) Tulsa Technology Center - Tulsa, OK


Known for providing quality education, Tulsa Technology Center aims towards holistic development of its EMT and paramedic aspirants.

Emergency Medical Responder/Technician: The course curriculum contains a total of 502 hours, which are further divided into 385 theory hours and 117 lab hours. As part of the training, you will study human anatomy, medical terminology, and emergency care procedures. In addition, you will also participate in an internship to gain practical exposure. On graduation, you become eligible to take NREMT examination to become a licensed EMT practitioner in the state of Oklahoma.

Emergency Medical Technician: The program contains 502 curriculum hours out of which 385 hours are dedicated to didactic learning while the remaining 117 hours pertains to lab practical. Among major subjects, the capstone project has a weightage of 125 theoretical hours and 40 practical hours. A 36-hour clinical internship is also part of the curriculum. Upon completion, you will become eligible to apply for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) examination.

Paramedic: The 47-week program is offered in both day and evening formats. A total of 1280 hours are required to complete the course out of which 504 are theory hours, and 776 are lab hours. The curriculum contains subjects like human anatomy, basic and advanced levels of paramedic care, and externship exercises. Upon completion of the course, you become eligible to take the National Registry Examination at the Paramedic level to become a licensed paramedic practitioner in Oklahoma.

5) University of South Alabama - Mobile, AL


The University of South Alabama offers a host of programs in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), thus providing students the flexibility to choose the one that fits their needs and budget.

Certificate in Emergency Medical Technician: This program consists of 8 credits out of which 6 credits are devoted to emergency care. Rest 2 credits are equally distributed between the lab practical (1 credit) and clinical exercise (1 credit). To complete the program, you must achieve at least 80% in each course and upon completion; you will be eligible to take National Registry examination.

Certificate in Advanced Emergency Medical Technician: This advanced certificate course contains a total of 9 credits out of which 2-credit weightage is given to the clinical exercise. Enrollment in the course requires you to hold EMT licensure in Alabama in addition to completing three hours training in medical terminology and the human system and pathophysiology.

Certificate in Paramedic: The 3-semester program consists of 31 credits which are further divided into first-semester (12 credits), second-semester (12 credits), and third-semester (7 credits). The prerequisite for the course includes holding an advanced EMT licensure. To complete the program, you must attain a minimum of 80% final grade in every subject.

Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Services: The 4-year bachelor program requires students to complete 126 credit hours. You must complete general education courses (41 hours) and pre-professional courses (22 hours) before starting with the professional component of this degree program. The college also allows students from other institutions to apply for this course provided they have consistently performed well and maintained their paramedic licensure.

Bachelor of Science in Professional Health Sciences: Completing 30 credits/year will allow you to earn this bachelor program in four years. A minimum of 122 hours is required to complete the program. Before studying the health science component of the course, students are required to complete general education courses (41 semester hours) and pre-professional courses (25 semester hours).

Certification and Licensure Requirements to Work as a Paramedic and EMT


The certification and licensure requirements for EMTs and paramedics vary according to each specific state. All EMTs and paramedics must hold a license for the specific state in which they work. However, different states vary according to their laws concerning the need for certification. At the national level, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians allows you to apply for certification after you complete an approved training program and have passed the national exam.

The exam involves two portions, which are cognitive and psychomotor. You should also be aware that you must have completed your training program within the past two years. If it has been longer than that, and you have your state certification, then you will need to take a refresher course. If you are not certified in any state, then you will need to retake a course. Obtaining this certification typically places you in a position for getting your license in most states. However, you may also be required to complete a state-approved certification program. To initiate the process of obtaining your certification, you must be 18 and submit documentation to prove that you have completed the necessary course work.

Where Do Paramedics and EMTs Work?


Ambulance Services:

EMTs and paramedics act as first responders in an emergency, and you may drive the ambulance or perform services at the scene or in the back of the vehicle.

Local Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals:

Many cities and local government agencies employ paramedics and EMTs to provide services to members of the community.

Hospitals; State, Local, and Private:

An EMT can also find a position in a hospital, usually in an emergency room or intensive care unit where immediate care is often needed.

Industry Employment
Number Percent
Ambulance Services 120,89348%
Local Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals 70,52128%
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private 45,33518%
(Source: BLS)


Work Environment


EMTs work in strenuous and stressful conditions. Your work environment can change multiple times within a day, and you could be working outside, indoors and even in a moving ambulance. You may also serve alongside volunteers and other professionals within the healthcare industry. Since you are a first responder, you may work closely with police, firefighters and other law enforcement agencies during a crisis situation. Although the job is rewarding, burnout is possible. For this reason, EMTs typically work several long shifts that may range from 12 to 24 hours followed by a day or two off at a time.

What Starting Salary Can I Expect as a Paramedic and EMT?


An EMT salary varies according to your work environment and level of experience. However, you can expect to make a starting salary that falls well over minimum wage with the median in the nation being just over eleven dollars an hour. Annually, this comes out to approximately $24,180.

Type Salary
Hourly$11.63
Monthly$2,020
Annual$24,180
(Source: In-House Research)


How Much Will My Salary Grow with Experience?


Education and experience are both rewarded in this field, and you can expect to see regular pay raises as you work for certain periods of time. Over the course of your career, you can expect to see your salary more than double as you gain experience. In the meantime, you can also make yourself more of an asset to your employer by seeking continuing education opportunities and hands-on learning experiences that refine your skills.

Level of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
1-4 years$12.72 $2,210 $26,470
5-9 years$16.05 $2,780 $33,380
10-19 years$20.86 $3,620 $43,390
20 years or more$27.40 $4,750 $56,990
(Source: BLS)


How Many Job Openings are there for Paramedic and EMT Graduates?


The job outlook for paramedic and EMT graduates is increasing at a faster than average rate, and you can expect to have many employment opportunities become available throughout the course of your career. Since the majority of these positions are replacing former EMTs and paramedics, you can also expect to find employment in companies that are well-established.

New Replacement Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
3,74015,66019,400
(Source: careeronestop)


10 Year Employment Outlook


The health services field is experiencing a major boom throughout all the different sectors. EMTs and paramedics can anticipate seeing their job prospects grow by more than 15% over the next ten years. This growth can be attributed to a variety of factors. The currently aging population increases the demand for emergency responders at both local and federal levels to assist with life-threatening health problems. Technology and awareness have also made it possible for people to realize when they need emergency assistance faster, which further drives the rate of growth for this field.

Employment Employment Growth, 2016-26
2016 2026 Number Percent
248,000285,40037,40015.08%
(Source: careeronestop)


State Wise Employment, Job Openings & Salary Breakdown


State Employment Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement) Annual Average Salary
Alabama 3,920 29,720 340
Alaska 440 48,420 30
Arizona 3,460 38,330 320
Arkansas 2,400 29,850 160
California 19,660 36,370 1,580
Colorado 4,220 41,900 390
Connecticut 3,320 47,810 260
Delaware 1,310 39,970 100
District of Columbia 1,560 58,110 110
Florida 11,210 33,540 920
Georgia 9,650 33,490 770
Idaho 1,110 35,710 80
Illinois 12,110 41,460 920
Indiana 5,990 33,540 460
Iowa 2,420 34,530 180
Kansas 3,000 29,820 190
Kentucky 4,600 30,940 340
Maine 1,750 34,450 110
Maryland 4,690 46,010 370
Massachusetts 6,210 39,920 430
Michigan 6,850 32,360 550
Minnesota 5,280 40,640 420
Mississippi 2,160 37,070 140
Missouri 7,010 34,500 480
Montana 700 33,220 50
Nebraska 630 35,240 60
Nevada 1,830 37,840 140
New Hampshire 1,270 37,080 90
New Jersey 8,180 37,710 600
New Mexico 1,570 34,240 140
New York 15,290 41,930 1,420
North Carolina 9,880 35,180 820
North Dakota 950 32,470 90
Ohio 10,490 31,410 820
Oklahoma 3,270 29,940 280
Oregon 2,080 39,560 150
Pennsylvania 12,060 33,200 910
Rhode Island 590 37,550 40
South Carolina 5,180 33,470 400
South Dakota 1,000 30,080 70
Tennessee 7,040 35,590 580
Texas 20,250 36,850 1,570
Utah 1,950 35,100 240
Vermont 490 35,530 30
Virginia 5,880 34,400 440
Washington 3,570 68,970 290
West Virginia 2,160 28,320 160
Wisconsin 6,380 33,330 410
Wyoming 690 34,830 50
Puerto Rico 2,050 22,130 120
(Source: BLS & careeronestop)


Important Organizations & Associations


International Association of EMT s and Paramedics (IAEP)


This organization provides union services such as wage protection and contract enforcement to EMTs and paramedics who work in all types of environments.

International Organization of Emergency Medical Technicians


EMTs and paramedics throughout the world use this organization as an international hub, where all prehospital responders can share information and learn from each other’s experiences.

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians


This association is dedicated to advancing the profession of emergency medical services by offering members substantial benefits that include access to continuing education and training. As a member, you can also take advantage of benefits such as discounts on training courses and refinancing assistance for student loans.

National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians


Every EMT and paramedic should be aware of this organization. Not only is this where you can begin the process for national certification, but you can also use software available at their website to perform critical tasks such as tracking your continuing education hours for recertification.