According to Wikipedia, prior to 1970, ambulances were staffed with advanced first-aid level responders who were frequently referred to as ambulance attendants. There was little regulation or standardized training for those staffing these early emergency response vehicles.
Today it is different. Ambulances are equipped with life-saving equipment and technology, and ‘paramedics’, a name that was unheard of before the seventies, are trained to respond to emergency situations, and can treat a patient right inside an ambulance that is on its way to the hospital.
People with asthmatic problems or patients suffering from heart disease, or poisoned victims, have often been saved. Paramedics are faster than a doctor making a house call, and have the equipment and life-saving medication and drips with them. In the medical professionals it is all about time; arriving too soon or too late. In the same way it can also be said that firefighters are paramedics in a way.
The education and skills required of paramedics vary state by state. There are education programs for prospective paramedics, which can be as short as 8 months or as long as 4 years. An Associate’s degree program is 2 years, often administered through a community college. The institutions offering such training vary greatly in terms of programs and requirements. Still, students must meet the same state requirements to take the certification exams, including the National Registry exams.
From research it seems that there are no online paramedic programs. The paramedic programs are hands-on programs where you learn and gain experience in the field so to speak, and in this case, a hospital or clinical setting. There is a big difference between being a registered nurse and a paramedic. The Emergency Service Training Institute in Texas, for example, offers courses in paramedic training. There are two formats to choose from. Requirements for the EMS135 Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic, which is for a total of 624 hours, are as follows.
- You must be as least 17 years old – 18 to become certified.
- You must have a high school diploma or GED
- You must have a valid driver’s license
- You must have a current Health Care Provider CPR card.
- You must have a negative tuberculosis (TB) test within six months of the class start date.
- You must have proof of two measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccinations.
- You must have had a tetanus vaccination within the past ten years.
- You must have completed the hepatitis-B vaccination three shot series.
- You must have proof of the chicken pox disease or a positive immunity.
- You must have a current criminal history background check of the last seven years.
- You must have proof of health insurance card.
- You must have a current EMT Basic certification (either Texas or National Registry.
- You will be required to submit to a drug screen.
- Proof of the EMT Basic certification must be provided before the start of class.
Two Fast Track Paramedic Formats
- The ten-week format meets three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
- The fifteen-week format meets two days a week, on Tuesday and Thursday from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The number of hours for both classes total 624 hours, which are divided into 240 didactic/lecture, 192 hospital clinical, and 192 ambulance internship.
The hospital and ambulance rotations are completed after the classroom portion of the class. The student will have up to six months after the last day of class to complete all didactic, hospital clinical, and ambulance internship requirements. Students are required to provide the student textbook and associated workbook. They will be provided with a clinical uniform shirt for clinical/internship rotations during the class.
This course meets or exceeds minimum hours and content established by the Dept of State Health Services. Students successfully completing didactic and clinical components of this program will be eligible to receive a course completion certificate and the National Registry written and skills exam.
Topics to be studied include advanced patient assessment, Haz-Mat, basic pharmacology, shock, automatic external defibrillator, advanced airway management, fluid therapy, medication administration, and cardiac monitoring.
Further Information and Requirements
- Payment and registration must be received at least fifteen business days prior to the start of class.
- All EMS students are required to wear uniforms which will consist of a light blue Class B Uniform shirt, navy blue dickies, closed-toe polished black boots, or shoes. No tennis-type shoes can be worn. A student can wear a t-shirt under a Class B uniform shirt which can be worn during skills practice. Make sure to order these items beforehand. Students are also required to have a set of scrubs for clinical rotations.
- Clinical shirts and IDs will be provided to students. This is included in their fees. Students will be required to provide navy blue dickies and black, rubber-soled shoes which can be polished.
- Students will be required to provide a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff), stethoscope, and pocket mask with a one-way valve. These are available at most medical supply stores or The HUB Store. Students will be expected to bring all three items with them to each class session.
This is by no means all the information and all the institutions out there who offer nursing diplomas. At the end of the day it is up to you to decide which programs you are interested in. Go onto the internet and search for LPN, RN, LVN, or any kind of nursing program. Write down the names of hospitals and colleges who offer the program and compare cost, how long the training will take, where your clinical work will be done, proximity to the college, and other requirements. Vary your search and come up with even more details.
There are enough institutions out there for you to make a good choice. Let cost be an important consideration, but don’t choose a program based on how inexpensive it is. Yes, you want the best deal, and that includes the best university or college for the best education.