Requirements to Become a Paramedic in California
A career as a paramedic can be very rewarding and stable. The healthcare field is one of the few that thrived during the worst of the recession. Paramedics are usually one of the first professionals on the scene and are charged with saving lives. Becoming a paramedic in California requires that you:
Are at least 18 years old
Have a valid California driver’s license
Complete EMT-1 training
For advancement beyond EMT-1, a high school diploma or GED is required
Many employers require ACLS certification
Some employers prefer EMTs with at least an associate’s degree
Getting a Job
Choosing a career can be difficult in a tough job economy, but the good news is that healthcare professionals stand a better chance of getting – and keeping – a job than many other fields. Paramedic openings are expected to grow at 33%, which is much faster than many other careers. There is expected to be an additional 75,000 paramedic and EMT jobs added to the force by 2020. The median pay is right around $30,000, or $14.60 per hour, with plenty of room for advancement with additional training and experience. Having ACLS certification can give paramedics a boost up the career ladder and it’s one of the most important things employers are looking for.
So, you’re ready to be the most highly qualified paramedic in California? Follow these training and continuing education requirements to ensure that you’re the most desirable candidate.
Get your high school diploma or GED. Although this isn’t required for EMT-1, it’s an absolutely necessity to move beyond that level.
EMT-1: complete 120 hours of training that includes 110 hours of classroom work and 10 hours of clinical experience. Students receive a “Course Completion Record” which allows them to take the EMT-1 examination which must be completed within 12 months. Sign up at a local community college.
Letter of Experience: before advancing to EMT-2, students must have a signed “letter of experience” from an EMS agency, which is often achieved through a job or internship.
CPR Certification: students must have a valid CPR card to move onto EMT-2.
Ambulance Driver’s License: in addition to a California driver’s license, students must have a valid ambulance driver’s license for EMT-2.
ACLS certification: ACLS is not required for EMT training, but it is a great tool for being accepted into advanced training and for securing a job.
EMT-2: this 29 week training course involves 16 weeks of classroom training and a 9 week clinical internship. Students can sign up for EMT-2 at most community colleges
ACLS recertification: ACLS certification expires every two years and students must be recertified. Take our ACLS courses online at your convenience.