Becoming a Paramedic
Being a paramedic can be a very rewarding job. It is also a very demanding job, both physically and emotionally. Being among the first responders on the scenes of accidents, child births, or any emergency can require a lot of a person.
The first step in becoming a paramedic is to take a basic certification course for EMT or Emergency Medical Technician. This course can require anywhere from 120-150 hours to complete. It is necessary in order to eventually become a paramedic. Among the first tasks in this course is to become CPR certified, a must for any paramedic. Becoming EMT certified will also teach the student how to assess medical conditions, administer basic first aid, and how to use equipment like stretchers, splints, and backboards. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) regulates the EMT exam required at the end of the course. Once the exam is passed, the student becomes a Registered EMT Basic.
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) also administers certifications at the paramedic level, and once certified, the candidate must renew their certification every 2 years. The paramedic training program can require anywhere from 750-1,500 hours to complete. At the end of the course, the student not only walks away with a paramedic certification, but also an associate’s degree. The degree most often is called Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Care Paramedic.
On average, paramedics log between 40-60 hours a week. The work is very physical in nature, with heavy lifting being a requirement. Paramedics make on average $70,000 a year, while EMT’s earn significantly less at $35,000-$50,000 a year. Paramedics can be employed by hospitals, fire departments, or privately run facilities. The medical field is ever growing, and the demand for paramedics is always high.
Becoming a paramedic requires a great deal of drive, and dedication. It is not a job for the squeamish or for anyone that is not ready to give a great deal of themselves. Often times paramedics arrive first on the scene of an accident and must be prepared to not only treat the physical requirements of a patient, but the mental ones as well. Calming a child while removing them from a car accident scene, helping a woman in labor to relax while delivering the baby safely, or communicating with someone having a heart attack while trying to halt the attack are just a few things that a paramedic may have to deal with on a daily basis.
Being a paramedic is also very rewarding. Knowing that the life of someone has been saved by your actions, and training is incredibly rewarding. A sense of giving, and helping those in need can be one of the best feelings in the world. Being able to provide a good life for your family, while helping those in need during an emergency can lift someone’s pride. It is a very honorable job, and one that people often refer to as heroic. People never forget those that helped them when they most needed it, and being a paramedic is all about helping those in need.