Looking At EMT Degree Program Options

To become an Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT, you will need to first obtain the appropriate EMT qualifications. There are essentially three main options open to you when it comes to being a qualified EMT. They are:

  • EMT Certificate Program
  • Associate Degree in Para-medicine
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Medical Services Management

What is important is that you take the time necessary to carefully study the various options that are open to you and make your final decision only after you have given the issue due thought. There are advantages and disadvantages to getting a certificate, just as there are advantages and disadvantages to getting a degree, so you will need to see which option better suits your particular goals and situation.

EMT Degree Programs vs. EMT Certificate Programs

There are, as has already been mentioned, a number of options open to you when considering the prospect of becoming an EMT. You can loosely split these into two categories, namely, degree programs and certificate programs. There are three main certificate programs.

However, you also have the options of rolling all three of these into one Associates degree course. This is one of the EMT degree programs that we will consider today. This allows you to get your certification after a two-year course that combines all the aspects mentioned above, making the entire process go faster. There are a number of advantages to doing it this way:

  • You will get a more well-rounded education at the end of the day
  • You will be given the opportunity to complete additional courses to the regular EMT coursework. These include things like English, Math and Biology.

You will need to weigh these advantages against the disadvantages of degree programs, namely that they tend to take longer to complete than certificate programs. They can also be more expensive. Careful consideration of the resources that you have to dedicate to your studies will be needed here.

Perhaps the most important part of an EMT degree program is that you will be required to complete hands-on practical training. This could take place in an emergency room or in an actual ambulance. This is very important as it will not only prepare you well for any exams that you have to write, but it will also provide you with valuable experience that will help you to get a job in the future. In addition it will make you a more confident EMT once you are working as you will already have a very good idea of what you need to do in order to your job to the best of your ability.

EMT Certificate Program

We will now take a good look at the different program options that are open to those students who would like to eventually qualify as EMTs. There are, as previously mentioned, three main options. The first option, which we will discuss here, is the EMT certificate program.

As mentioned previously, there are three main certificate programs, these are:

  • EMT-Basic certificate program
  • EMT-Intermediate certificate program
  • EMT-Paramedic certificate program

In addition, these can be rolled into one degree program that can be completed over a period of two years.

EMT Degree ProgramsThis program is one that combines a certain amount of field work (focusing on cardiac emergencies, respiratory emergencies, toxicological emergencies, and metabolic emergencies) with classroom lectures (focusing on human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and medical terminology). Both are equally important for preparing you for what you will be doing once you are a certified EMT. This combination also serves to prepare you effectively for the various certification exams given through the National Registry of EMT. So the advantages are twofold; you are prepared for the theory part, which is the exam that you will need to write, and you are prepared for the practical part, which will be your working life out in the field as an EMT in the future. This is a more comprehensive approach to the field, which is why many people choose this option. In total, you will have to complete about 21 to 45 credit hours in order to get a certificate of this kind.

The greatest advantage is that it is shorter than a degree program, so you will be able to get out there and embark on your new career in the field within a shorter time frame, thereby reaching your goal speedily. The disadvantages are that it is not taken quite as seriously as a degree qualification, and you will not have as comprehensive an education as if you had undergone the EMT degree program in order to become qualified. However you could consider using this as a stepping stone to a higher qualification.

Associate Degree In Para-medicine

There are two main degrees that you can obtain; the associate’s degree and the bachelor’s degree. The associate’s degree is the one we have already mentioned as the two-year degree that contains all of the certification programs in one. However, many universities will require that you already hold an EMT qualification or certification of some kind before you can enter into a degree program. More information about the various prerequisites for this program is contained in the next section. Make sure that you look into the particular prerequisites for your state as they can vary significantly, and make sure that you know what the particular school you are interested in attending requires of you before you take the time to enroll at that school. The curriculum you will follow here will be very strict and structured. It will contain a number of aspects including field work, where you will get the hands-on, practical experience that you need. Another aspect includes formal lectures, where you will learn the theory that you will have to apply on a daily basis in your job as an EMT. Lastly, hospital clinical hours will be completed, where you will learn how to apply what you know in a hospital setting in order to prepare you for your future as an EMT. The required coursework, which we have already discussed, should be adequate enough to prepare you for the examinations that you will have to write in order to attain certification. If you do not pass you will be unable to practice, so this is very important.

Bachelor Of Science Degree In Emergency Medical Services Management

The bachelor’s degree program is the longest program of all as it requires that you study for 4 years before you receive your qualification. This may seem like a long time, but it is worth it in the long run because of the career opportunities that will become available to you if you hold an advanced degree such as this one. The program essentially trains you to become an effective manager in the field of being an EMT. You will be working towards a leadership position if you get a degree of this kind, and, although this comes with a much higher load of responsibility, it also comes with a variety of benefits and perks. Some courses that you may have to do in this degree that are omitted from other qualifications are:

  • Health science
  • Clinical management
  • Clinical science
  • Business classes
  • Marketing
  • Financial management
  • Statistics

Once you have your bachelor’s degree there are a number of career options open to you, including:

  • Advanced paramedic
  • EMS instructor
  • EMS supervisor
  • Paramedic program director
  • Paramedic supervisor

In short, the degree opens up doors for you that you would have otherwise not have had access to. It is, however, time-consuming, so you will have to weigh this disadvantage against the various advantages offered.


Like any degree there are prerequisites that you will absolutely have to meet if you are to enter the degree program. This section outlines the prerequisites that you will have to fill for the two EMT degree programs that we are interested in. read through the prerequisites carefully and determine ahead of time whether or not they are something that you will be able to meet. Let’s have a look at the specifics now.

Associate Of Science Degree In Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic

In order to get an Associate of Science Degree in Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic you will need to be able to resent either a high school diploma or a GED qualification. This is the bare minimum requirement. In addition you also need to already be a registered basic EMT. You also need to be well versed in CPR and have the card that proves it. The other prerequisites are going to depend on the school that you apply at. Many require additional background checks and drug screening, but you will have to find out from the specific school what the requirements are.

Bachelor Of Science Degree In Paramedic Studies

At colleges and universities, EMT studies will fall under one of the following headings:

  • EMS programs
  • EMT programs
  • Health science programs

In order to enter a bachelor’s degree program you will need to be a credentialed professional in the EMT field. The degree is essentially an additive to an education you have already had. Again, for most of these programs you may already need to hold an EMT qualification. Several of the degree programs mentioned here are in fact aimed at those EMTs who would like to improve their knowledge and skills in the area. A CPR card is also a prerequisite for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Paramedic Studies.


There are a number of different subjects that will form part of your coursework. Firstly it is interesting to note that EMT degree programs tend to have more theoretical courses than EMT certificate programs. However there is a lot of hands-on experience to be gained from both. According to this website these are the main courses that certificate and degree programs tend to have in common with one another. Basically you can be pretty sure that you will at some point have to cover the following topics:

  • Patient assessment
  • Basic emergency equipment
  • Airway obstruction
  • Treating trauma
  • Cardiac arrests
  • Nasal incubation
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • English composition
  • Biology

If you decide to go for the Associate of Science Degree in Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic then the following coursework will be on your task list:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Assessment of patients
  • Cardiac life support
  • Hazardous materials
  • Paramedic internship
  • Para-medicine
  • Pediatric care
  • Trauma care

If you would prefer the Bachelor of Science Degree in Paramedic Studies option you will have slightly different coursework to get through:

  • Administration systems
  • Management principles
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Paramedic practicum and internship
  • Patient and situation assessment
  • Pharmacology
  • Responding to medical and trauma emergencies

In most cases you will have to complete a combination of field work, clinical hours, and lectures in order to complete your EMT degree program. As you can see above the topics covered in a Bachelor’s Degree are a little more complex and intensive than those covered in an Associate’s Degree.

The essential issue that you will have to face here is what qualification you should get as an EMT. There is a lot of information to be found on each of the qualifications that are on offer. For example, if time is an issue and you need to start working as soon as possible, a certificate program may be your best option. You can always work towards a more advanced qualification later on. If, however, you have the time and the resources to get a degree you will have a well-rounded education that is guaranteed to be of the best quality. In addition you should look into specific certificate and degree programs that are available to you in your area. There are some certificate programs that are better than others, just as there are some EMT degree programs that are worse than others. It is your responsibility to do a comprehensive assessment of the options that are actually available to you in order to make the best decision possible.

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