How to Become a Paramedic
A paramedic provides a range of medical services to an injured person in the event of an emergency. Out of all of the levels of emergency medical technicians, a paramedic is the most advanced. The first task of a paramedic is to arrive at the scene of an emergency, remove all persons form immediate danger, and treat anyone who is injured or in shock at the scene. The second part of their role is to transport any injured persons who need further help to a hospital, and to provide treatment to keep them stable on the journey there.
If you're interested in health, are able to stay calm in a crisis, and are good at thinking on your feet, then you may like to become a paramedic. Being a good communicator is also important in this role, as you will need to get people to put their trust in you, as well as follow your instructions, during difficult and traumatic times.
Education Requirements to Become a Paramedic
To qualify paramedic you will need to finish your high school diploma. Subjects in the areas of health, science, and English will all be helpful.
To become a paramedic you will need to complete a two year program at either community college or vocational school. You will also need to be in fit physical shape, with good hearing and vision. You will also benefit from good manual dexterity, as well as being a psychologically stable person since you will see some things that others may struggle with. You will also need to have or to develop skills to cope with these kinds of stressful and often times tragic situations.
During your education, you will learn a range of first aid and resuscitation techniques, medical procedures, including administering medications.
In all states, you must be licensed to become a paramedic. You will need to sit an exam, which in most places is the NREMT exam.
Paramedic Job Description
Working as a paramedic is certainly fast paced. If you are looking for a role that is never dull, then this is right for you. You will be sure to do things that many people never have the opportunity to, and also have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to health, as well as to your community.
The first part of the role of a paramedic is responding to calls about emergency situations like traffic accidents, fires, or assaults. You will often be the first person to arrive at a scene, and will need to make sure that you can make it as safe as possible for anyone there. You will then treat people for their injuries, either at the site, or if severe enough you will transport them to a hospital, administering treatment on the way.
Some of the tasks of a paramedic include:
- Radio communication
- Driving an emergency vehicle
- Communication with patients, and other bystanders
- Assessing patients conditions
- Administering first aid
- Administering CPR and other resuscitation techniques
- Administering medication
- Transporting a patient to a hospital
Paramedic Salary and Career Path
Paramedics are employed by hospitals, fire departments, and ambulance services. There are also private health companies which hire paramedics to transport patients in non-emergency situations. Some paramedics are hired by security companies to work at events like concerts and sports matches to provide care on site.
Employment prospects for paramedics are better than many other industries. While growth is average, there is a high turnover in this field. Many people only work as a paramedic for a few years, then move on to other fields in the health industry. This is thought to be because of the stressful nature of the work, the irregular hours, and a salary that is lower than other similar jobs.
The average wage for a paramedic is around $40,000 a year. There is little room for salary increase, without taking on a senior role as manger or administrator. Many use a role as a paramedic to get their start, then end up working elsewhere in health. Some examples could include:
- Medical Assistant
If you are looking for a role that is challenging and fast-paced, and also want the opportunity to help people, then you may like to become a paramedic. It's a great chance to work within medicine and health, and can also lead to many other career opportunities later on.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics