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What it Takes to Be a Paramedic

Working in the field of Emergency Services Management (ESM) promises a long-term career filled with new challenges and opportunities. Whether the ultimate goal is to begin a career as a paramedic, develop and distribute public information on disaster preparedness, manage others in the ESM field or something different, the first step is to gain the education and training required to be a success in the field.

In this post, learn about the different types of ems degrees, including paramedic training and an overview of emt courses.

Emergency Services Management Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of Emergency Services Management is one of the top fields for candidates today in terms of job growth, new opportunities and advancement. With a projected field growth of 6 percent over the next decade (adding an average of 700 new jobs each year), it is clear this is a still-developing and growing field, especially in light of the recent spate of political and environmental/natural disasters that continue to occur globally.

The average nationwide salary for a candidate with an appropriate bachelor's degree is just over $67,000 per year. There is much room for growth in salary with the addition of specialized certifications and additional education or training.

How to Become a Paramedic

One of the best ways to enter the field of emergency services management is to work as a paramedic. This career is always in demand, has relatively easy entry requirements and can prepare the candidate for a rewarding career in many related fields.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for qualified paramedics is expected to grow up to 24 percent over the next decade, due in part to increased need and also to the bank of retiring medical professionals.

Paramedic training can often be completed in less than two years, and many colleges now offer night learn about our ems degreesclasses, weekend classes or online coursework to make completing the coursework faster and easier. When a candidate completes their paramedic's training, they will be qualified to work as an EMT (Emergency Response Technician) or a paramedic, which offers additional flexibility in career building.

Some programs may require that the candidate first train and become certified as an EMT, while others may offer a straight track of coursework to cover the knowledge needed to work in both areas simultaneously.

Typical courses included in a paramedic training program (certificate or associates degree plan) include these:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Trauma Management
  • Patient Assessment
  • Cardiology
  • Respiratory and Airway Management and Care
  • Medical Emergency Management and Care
  • Special Populations - Medical Needs and Care

The depth and breadth of the coursework will depend on whether the candidate enrolls in a certificate plan, which will be a shorter path to begin working in the field, or an associate’s degree plan, which may take up to 2 years to complete.

Overview of Educational Coursework to Enter the field of Emergency Services Management

For candidates aspiring to a career as a paramedic or elsewhere in the field of Emergency Services Management, there is a certain level of education required. Typically, this includes earning a bachelor's (4-year) degree in Emergency Management Services.

Depending on the desired career path, it can then be necessary to return to school to earn a Masters of Science in Emergency Services Management.

Along with a fundamental grounding in emergency response principles and medical care, here is a list of required emt courses many ems degrees will also require today:

  • Criminology
  • Terrorism
  • Toxicology
  • Weapons
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Emergency Management
  • Fire Administration
  • Homeland Security
  • Legal Issues with ESM
  • Risk Management
  • Natural and Manmade Disasters

Here, each of these courses clearly reflects a different category under the umbrella of emergency management and response. As such, additional course areas may also be required in the future as circumstances dictate.

Moving Up in the Field of Emergency Services Management

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for qualified paramedics is expected to grow up to 24 percent over the next decade

After working some time as a paramedic, many candidates desire to broaden their skills by seeking a lateral move within the greater field of emergency services management or by moving upward into a management or executive management position.

Certain additional skills will likely be required before such a move is possible. While at times on-the-job training can serve as a substitute for additional education, obtaining additional certification or an advanced degree can also aid in a successful job search.

Here are some management-level skills to enhance any candidate's resume in the field of emergency services management:

  • Emergency response communications. Knowledge of emergency response communications, including use of social media and other communications tools to re-establish communications quickly.
  • Emergency response procedures. Ability to rapidly analyze an emerging case and apply the correct emergency response procedures.
  • Legal ramifications. Understand the sometimes complex legal ramifications that can unfold in emergency response situations.
  • Emergency response cycle. Demonstrate thorough knowledge of the full emergency response cycle.

Career Paths in Emergency Services Management

Because of the recent increase in both natural and manmade disaster situations over the last several years, there is more demand than ever for qualified professionals to work as EMTs, paramedics and other roles within the greater field of emergency services management.

Exciting, lucrative careers can be found in the public, private, civilian and military sectors. Candidates with a passion for education and public policy may elect to work in government or the educational system.

Candidates with a passion for patient care can work their way up to a management or even an executive level, training and supervising the next generation of emergency services management candidates.

Because there is such strong demand and growth in the field of emergency services management, the potential exists not only for candidates to select and progress in a number of career paths, but also to literally create their own career path!