Interested in a career as a paramedic? An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) degree program could help you get there.
Whether you're an emergency medical technician (EMT), a paramedic, an emergency medical responder (EMR) or another prehospital care operative, you'll need to have thorough knowledge of the skills and equipment used in emergency situations. You'll also need to pass a certification exam administered by the National Register of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), as well as any additional state licensing requirements, before you can legally work in the field.
Online degrees for EMS and paramedic students can also be found, if you're hoping to enhance your employable skills but can't fit a traditional degree plan into your schedule. If you're looking for a study plan that gives you more flexibility, don't overlook online EMS and paramedic degrees.
Best Colleges for EMS: Paramedic Degree Programs
We looked the National Center for Education Statistics and put together a dataset on more than 250 schools in order to find out which ones were the best schools for EMS and paramedic training. Click the button to see the details of our methodology, and check out the list to learn about the ten best colleges for EMS and paramedic degree programs.
The EMS and paramedic program at our No. 1 school features coursework at all levels of prehospital emergency care, including EMR, EMT, paramedic and advanced EMT (AEMT). The EMT program at Barton County Community College requires 12 credit hours to complete and may be available to in-state high school students if they meet admission requirements.
The paramedic program at this Kansas school takes around two years of study and culminates in an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. BCCC was also one of the schools in our top ten that placed an emphasis on flexibility -- just three other institutions on our list reported a higher percentage of distance education enrollment.
Coffeyville Community College is among of the lower-enrollment institutions on our list, but the numbers suggest that its commitment to student success is anything but small. Just one other school in our top ten reported a higher graduation rate than this institution in southeastern Kansas, and the percentage of its budget committed into instructional expenses like classroom technology was higher than most other schools its size on our list.
Students at CCC can enroll in a 13-credit program in emergency medical technology that includes instruction in trauma-related injuries, medical emergency recognition and anatomy and physiology. An associate degree program for paramedics is also available, but only licensed EMTs can be admitted.
Another Kansas institution rounds out our top three, thanks in part to its commitment to flexibility for its students. Not only did it report nearly 36 percent distance education enrollment in 2015, but it also makes weekend and evening courses available for students who prefer a campus-based program but can't make it to class during the daylight hours.
The admissions requirements for the paramedic program at Kansas City Kansas Community College have both professional and academic conditions -- students must have completed college-level biology and algebra courses as well as obtaining an active EMT certification in the state. Nearly 90 percent of the 2016 graduating class at KCKCC passed the NREMT exam and found work shortly after graduation.
Three separate program tracks are available at this Fairfield, Maine, institution. The AEMT certificate consists of 12 credit hours of study and requires that prospective students meet all admission requirements before enrolling in any of its corequisite courses. The paramedic certificate has a 28-credit coursework requirement and typically takes three semesters to complete.
The associate degree plan at Kennebec Valley Community College comprises all the classes required for both the AEMT and paramedic certificates, as well as 29 credits of job-relevant general education coursework like psychology, anatomy and physiology. Each of the programs require a GPA of 2.67 or better on EMS coursework.
This institution near the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California is home to the most affordable average tuition and fees cost of any school on our list. In fact, the average of $1,142 paid by students at Crafton Hills College is lower than those posted by all but two other EMS or paramedic schools in the country.
EMS students at CHC can choose from a program portfolio that contains three common study plans -- an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree in emergency medical services and certificate programs for EMTs and paramedics -- and one less common option. The mobile intensive care nurse certificate is designed for working registered nurses who want to offer their knowledge and perspective to field paramedics via two-way radio.
This campus located about 50 miles north of the San Francisco Bay was another leader in the affordability category, posting a 2015 tuition and fees average that placed at No. 3 among our ten best schools for EMT and paramedic degree programs. It also makes an annual investment in academic support services like advising and career counseling that outranks all other schools on our list but one.
The EMT certificate program at Santa Rosa Junior College consists of one semester's worth of coursework and requires that students complete an emergency first responder (EMR) course before enrolling. The paramedic academy at SRJC typically takes 12-15 months to complete and includes a field internship section.
Prospective EMS students at the University of Arkansas Community College can start with a basic EMT certificate of proficiency that requires seven credit hours of study in just two separate courses if you enter the program already certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Paramedic students can enroll in a 42-credit technical certificate that includes clinical rotation training and a field internship.
The A.A.S. degree in paramedic available from UACC is a 60-credit program and reports a four-year track record of 100 percent job placement for its graduates. Flexibility measures such as weekend and evening courses and alternative tuition plans are available in case you need them.
Eastern New Mexico University took the No. 1 spot on our list in the distance education enrollment category, reporting to the NCES that around 48 percent of students were taking at least some of their coursework online. Although no fully online EMS or paramedic degrees were available at ENMU as of the 2017-18 school year, you may be able to take some online courses in the path to your degree.
ENMU-Roswell's approach to emergency medical training concentrates all its attention on the A.A.S. degree, which aims to prepare you for a job as an EMR, EMT, AEMT or paramedic. The program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs for the Emergency Medical Service Professions.
Our No. 9 institution, also located in eastern New Mexico, posted the second-highest percentage of distance education enrollment of any school in our top ten, and that's not its only bright spot in the numbers. Clovis Community College also ranked No. 3 on our list for its graduation rate, and reported strong numbers for the average cost of tuition and fees.
The EMS programs at CCC contain clinical sections that give students experience in ambulances and emergency rooms. The standard A.A.S. degree option is joined by three certificate programs: first responder (4 credits), EMT basic (11 credits) and EMT intermediate (6 credits). The EMT certificate programs each come with prerequisites -- check with an advisor for more details.
North Florida Community College is the smallest school to make our list, having awarded fewer than 350 total degrees in 2015, and that close-knit academic environment seems to be working for its students. No other institution in our top ten posted a higher graduation rate than this institution located about an hour east of Tallahassee.
As with most other accredited EMS and paramedic degree programs, prospective students must submit to a background check and a drug screening before enrollment can begin. Available programs consist of an A.S. in emergency medical services as well as EMT-basic and paramedic certificate plans.
EMS and Paramedic Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
The jobs available for graduates of EMS and paramedic degree programs are a vital part of the first responder system, so it's important to know what you'll be getting into once you finish your degree. Check out these quick descriptions of entry-level EMS and paramedic jobs.
Career Outlook for EMS and Paramedic Majors
Some careers in the emergency medical services field are growing faster than others. Take a look at these data points on projected EMS and paramedic employment and find out some details about the job market is expected to look once you graduate.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics||$37,760||257,210||15.1%|
Financial aid and scholarships in EMS and Paramedic
Most scholarships and grants for EMS and paramedic students are awarded at the state level, although some may be available exclusively through your institution's financial aid department. Awards may take the form of tuition assistance and may be designed to help you pay for certification. Here's a quick list of active EMS and paramedic scholarships:
Reapplication required for renewal.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed September 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- School pages, accessed October 25, 2017: Program Outcomes, EMT Paramedic AAS, Pima Community College, https://www.pima.edu/programs-courses/credit-programs-degrees/public-safety/emt/emt-paramedic-outcomes.mobi; Emergency Medical Services Education, Barton Community College, https://www.bartonccc.edu/careerprograms/ems; Emergency Services Education, Coffeyville Community College, http://www.coffeyville.edu/coffeyville-technical-campus/emergency-services-education; Emergency Medical Technology - Paramedic, Coffeyville Community College, http://www.coffeyville.edu/coffeyville-technical-campus/emergency-services-education/curriculum-guide; Paramedic, Kansas City Kansas Community College, http://www.kckcc.edu/programs/degrees-certificates/associate-in-applied-science/paramedic; Advanced Emergency Care, Kennebec Valley Community College, http://www.kvcc.me.edu/Pages/Advanced-Emergency-Care/Advanced-Emergency-Care-Home; Emergency Medical Services, Crafton Hills College, https://www.craftonhills.edu/~/Media/Files/SBCCD/CHC/Degrees%20and%20Certs/Divisions%20and%20Departments/Career%20Education%20and%20Human%20Development/Emergency%20Medical%20Services.pdf; Emergency Medical Technician, Santa Rosa Junior College, https://pstc.santarosa.edu/emergency-medical-technician; Paramedic, Santa Rosa Junior College, https://pstc.santarosa.edu/paramedic; Technical Certificate in Paramedic, University of Arkansas Community College, http://www.uacch.edu/?page_id=1310; Certificate of Proficiency - Emergency Medical Technician Basic, University of Arkansas Community College, http://www.uacch.edu/?page_id=1307; Associate of Applied Science in Paramedic, University of Arkansas Community College, http://www.uacch.edu/?page_id=1319; Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, https://www.roswell.enmu.edu/emergency-medical-services-paramedic/; Emergency Medical Services, Clovis Community College, http://www.clovis.edu/ems/index.aspx; Emergency Medical Services Certificates of Achievement, Clovis Community College, http://www.clovis.edu/degree-plans/CA_EMSTechnician.pdf; Emergency Medical Services, North Florida Community College, https://www.nfcc.edu/academics/career-and-technical/emergency-medical-services/index.html;
- EMT Certification, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, accessed October 25, 2017, https://www.nremt.org/rwd/public/document/emt
- EMTs and Paramedics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed October 25, 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/emts-and-paramedics.htm
- Professional organization pages, accessed October 25, 2017: Membership Categories, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, http://www.naemt.org/join/membership-categories; IAEP Member Information Center, International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, http://www.iaep.org/member/information/contact-iaep; About Us, International Association of Fire Fighters, http://client.prod.iaff.org/#page=AboutUs; Fire and EMS Operations, International Association of Fire Fighters, http://client.prod.iaff.org/#page=FireAndEmsOperations;
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.