Training to become a paramedic requires a willingness to learn everything there is to know about emergency medical treatment, and working as one requires the ability to stay calm and composed in emergency situations. Paramedics respond to 911 calls, rush to the scene in a helicopter or ambulance, assess the situation, and administer lifesaving medical assistance.
As a paramedic, you’ll determine the right course of treatment based on each situation. You may need to stop bleeding injuries and bandage wounds, administer IV medications, perform intubations, and much, much more.
If you have no problem staying composed in emergency situations and have always dreamed about working a job where you get to help people in one of the most important ways possible, then you should consider becoming a paramedic. Read on to learn about the courses needed and what you'll learn while earning your paramedic license.
Paramedic programs vary, both in scope and length of duration. Some are accelerated and take only six months to complete, whereas others can take up to two years and result in an associate degree upon completion. Some of the courses needed to become a paramedic are provided below.
One of the first classes you'll take is an introductory course on anatomy and physiology. This course will teach you about all 11 systems in the human body, so you'll learn how the body is structured and how it functions. You'll also learn pathophysiology, which is the study on how the body maintains homeostasis and responds to illness and injury.
Pharmacology is the study of drugs and medicine and how the body reacts when drugs are administered. When you take pharmacology, you'll learn about man-made, natural, and endogenous (originating in the body) drugs and medicine. You will learn how to assess patients and administer the correct medicine safely in an emergency setting, as well as how to calculate dosages and drips.
Paramedics must know how to provide basic airway management and resuscitation while on the job. They must know how to perform procedures safely and effectively on adults, children, and infants. The airway management techniques that you'll learn include orotracheal intubation, laryngoscopy, fiberoptic intubation, nasotracheal intubation, and surgical-based airway procedures, such as tracheotomy.
A paramedic course in trauma will teach you how to evaluate and treat traumatic injuries. This includes how to care for shock (the state of inadequate blood flow to tissues and organs), hemorrhages, gunshot wounds, blunt trauma to the head or another part of the body, and more.
This course will give you in-depth knowledge of the cardiovascular system; you'll learn how it functions under normal and abnormal conditions and how to administer lifesaving medicine for any injury or disease relating to the system. You'll learn how to read an electrocardiogram (ECG, sometimes called an EKG) and how to provide cardiovascular care for patients before they reach the hospital.
Your Career Is Waiting
There are many more courses paramedics have to take, but these are the basics; they provide the groundwork. Once all your coursework is completed, you will be ready to take the NREMT test to become certified as a paramedic, and your good career can begin!