health care professionals
Jobs By Education Level

How to Become a Paramedic / EMT

If you are interested in becoming an emergency medical technician or paramedic, the following steps can get you started. They’re designed for high school students and for those who have already graduated. (If you already have a diploma or GED, you can begin with Step 2.)

  1. Take a college prep curriculum. In some places, an associate’s degree is required to earn the highest level of licensing, paramedic.

  2. Participate in career exploration activities, preferably while you’re still in high school; this is a way of confirming that you do indeed have what it takes for the job. Some paramedic departments have ride-along opportunities for those considering the career. If you are under eighteen, parent consent may be required.

  3. Jump start your career by completing CPR certification.

  4. Get your EMT-Basic certification by completing coursework, fieldwork, and licensing requirements.

  5. Find your first job. You will likely want to become familiar with your state’s EMS (Emergency Medical Services) webpage. You may find job postings there.

    You can become a member of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians for just $25 while you’re a student. It’s a great way to start networking.

  6. After a year on the job, determine what level of educational program you want to pursue next. You can move up to Emergency Technician- Intermediate or you may go straight for paramedic. The scope of duty for an intermediate level technician varies from state to state.

  7. Complete coursework and licensing requirements at the desired level. You might move into a higher position with the same employer. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians can also be a resource for finding positions.

Personality Traits: An EMT or paramedic needs a high level of stress tolerance. Physical strength and stamina are also important.