Paramedic degree programs can take up to two years to complete. These programs typically include about 1,200 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction in life saving procedures.
Before applying to a degree program, students may need to complete EMT and Advanced EMT coursework, which can take up to 450 hours, or less than one year. Students may also want to complete coursework in biology, physiology and anatomy to adequately prepare for advanced life saving methods and techniques. Students should earn CPR certification before applying to a degree program. Many technical schools, community colleges and universities offer paramedic degree programs. Coursework typically includes wound care and stitching, how to give medications to patients and how to use specific medical equipment. Paramedics who want to drive an ambulance must complete an additional 8 hours of driver training.
After completing a degree program, paramedics must pass the National Registry of Medical Technicians exam to earn a license. Some states require that paramedics pass this exam only to earn a license, while other states require paramedics to also pass a state exam. In most states, students who want to take paramedic exams must be 18 years of age or over. Students must also pass a background check.