There are many programs to help paramedics train for their career, but not every one will be the right fit for each student. In order to help future paramedics choose the training program that’s right for them, EduMed has created a new Best in Class initiative. The accredited schools compiled on this list have been vetted for several factors, including their academic comprehensiveness and affordability. The following is a closer look at some of the standout schools that appear on our list.
Key Benefits of the Paramedic Degree Online?
Paramedics have a demanding job that requires a significant amount of hands-on training in order to be effective when working with patients. Since practical learning is such an important part of paramedic training, some people may be reluctant to enroll in an online program. However, much of the curriculum is based on theory, so students can actually reap many benefits from pursuing an online degree. The following are some of the reasons why online programs are a good choice.
Another important benefit of enrolling in an online program is flexibility. Many programs are asynchronous, meaning they allow students to work at their own pace so they can arrange to watch lectures and complete assignments around their individual schedules. This is a great option for students who hold down full-time jobs and raise families.
Online Paramedic School Options
There are several options that students can choose from when they study to become a paramedic. In some cases, students may select a shorter program so they can land an entry-level position right away. In other cases, students may want to get more in-depth training, so they may enroll in programs that take longer to complete. The following are descriptions of the paramedic program levels students can pursue depending on their needs and goals.
- Certificate: Certificate programs, which generally take about a year to a year and a half to complete, give students the basic training they need to get a job at hospitals, fire departments, private ambulance companies, and government agencies. Students on this level generally study areas such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, patient assessment, and trauma experiences. In addition to online classes, students are required to get hands-on experience through laboratory work, clinical experiences, and field internships.
- Diploma: Diploma programs are designed to help students hone their paramedic skills, such as emergency resuscitation, assessment, cardiac life support, and trauma care skills. In addition, students learn how to communicate effectively with patients and peers, as well as apply the field’s ethical and legal standards to their work. These programs, which take about a year and a half to complete, are made up of online coursework and hands-on training through clinical experiences and internships. In addition, students may be required to complete a capstone project to demonstrate their understanding of all the material they studied throughout the program.
- Associate degree: Those who want to dedicate more time to their degrees may choose to enroll in a two-year associate degree paramedic program. These programs are designed to give students a more advanced paramedic education, which can be attractive to employers that prefer to hire workers with at least an associate degree. When students begin associate’s programs, they complete the didactic portion of their degree where they learn the foundations of paramedics by taking courses about advanced life support, anatomy and physiology, and critical trauma care. To solidify the theories they’ve learned, they go on to complete fieldwork under the supervision of paramedicine professionals. In addition, students are required to take general education classes — like psychology, English composition, and political science — in order to develop additional skills that will ultimately make them a productive member of the workforce.
- Bachelor’s degree: Bachelor’s level paramedic science degrees can be earned by those who are entering the field for the first time or current professionals who want to advance in their careers and take leadership roles at their jobs. These programs, which take four years to complete, provide didactic coursework and clinical experiences designed to help students:
- develop the clinical and interpersonal skills needed to treat diverse groups in the community
- demonstrate a deep understanding of how emergency care works
- utilize evidence-based medical principles when providing care.
As with associate’s degree programs, students also take classes outside of their major to receive a well-rounded education. These requirements may include courses in foreign languages, sociology, mathematics, and humanities.
EMT and Paramedic Program, City College of San Francisco
Program Essentials: What to Look for
Not every paramedic studies program is created equally, so students need to ensure that the programs they consider are going to provide them with the quality training they need to prepare for their career. The following are some characteristics students should consider when looking for a school to possibly enroll in.
Important Paramedic Knowledge & Skills
Treating patients in crisis is challenging and stressful, so professionals need a toolbox of skills they can use to give people the care they need. Some of the skills can be obtained during the online portion of the program, while others are learned during practical exercises conducted on campus. The following are examples of some of the skills that paramedics can learn through the online courses offered in their programs.
While some skills can be acquired through online coursework, others require hands-on instruction. The following are examples of some of the skills students gain from their on-campus work.
Paramedic Program Details, PIMA Medical Institute
How to Pay for Your Online Paramedic Program
Students who are concerned about how they will pay for their paramedic education have several options. Scholarships are often available through the schools they attend, and students can get information about them at the financial aid office. In addition, there may be scholarships available from industry organizations that cater to medical professionals, as well as government agencies. Students may also be eligible for government grants that are issued on the federal and state levels depending on their income. In addition, taking out loans is an option for those who need additional funding.
Career Growth, Salary & Outlook for Paramedics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for paramedics between 2016 and 2026 will be 15 percent, which amounts to 37,400 additional jobs created during that time period. The agency reports that there are several factors driving this increase in available positions, including more specialized medical facilities being established and the older populations experiencing more health emergencies.
People who pursue other medical support professions can also expect similar increases in job prospects. For example, physician assistants will experience a 37 percent increase between 2016 and 2026, dental hygienists will have a 20 percent increase, and the registered nursing field will add 15 percent more positions.
How Much Do Paramedics Make?
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median annual salary of paramedics is $33,380 per year as of May 2017. In addition, the agency reports that the lowest earners in the profession make $21,880 annually, while those who are in the top 90 percent of earners make $56,990.
Are There Career Advancement Opportunities for Paramedics?
Paramedics who want to move up the ladder in the health care field have different options they can pursue, including medical assistant, firefighter, and physician assistant careers. Also, these professionals may enroll in bridge programs if they are interested in nursing. To find out about this training, visit our page covering online paramedic to rn bridge programs.