Should I be a paramedic?

The EMS career path requires rigorous classroom education and hands-on training


If the question 'Should I be a paramedic?' is keeping you up at night, there are some great reasons that the answer should be 'yes!' There are also reasons it might not be the right career choice for you.

On the negative side of the 'Should I be a paramedic?' question, the career choice requires rigorous classroom education and hands-on training, which might not be something you have the fortitude to undertake. Paramedic training generally takes about two years or 1,800 hours to complete. But before you can start your paramedic training, you have to undergo the 150 hours (about six months) of training to become an EMT. Plus, you have to take the test to become certified as an EMT. Some places require you to work in the field as an EMT for a period of time before you can apply to train as a paramedic.

If you're already an EMT and are pondering 'Should I become a paramedic?', chances are you like being an EMS practitioner and want to advance your skills and your rate of pay. If this is the case, becoming a paramedic is a good choice for you. In addition to being a EMS team leader with more responsibility and Advance Life Support skills, you'll earn about $40,000 a year, while an EMT averages about $33,000 a year.

Another thing to consider with the 'Should I become a paramedic?' question is whether you have the stomach for some of the extremely stressful, traumatic situations you'll encounter. You need to have a steel constitution to be able to operate quickly, efficiently and calmly under crisis situations such as car accidents, shootings, drowning and heart attacks where a slip-up can make the difference between life and death for a patient. If you're easily rattled or stressed, becoming a paramedic might not be the right choice for your personality type.

The final thing to consider with the question of 'Should I become a paramedic?' is whether you want to make a vital contribution to your community. While the stress of being a paramedic can be intense, it's also one of the most important positions you can fill in your community. When you're dispatched to the scene of a medical emergency, you'll know that you're going to use all of your skills and training to do the best you can do to save a person's life. That's the most rewarding part of becoming a paramedic.

Pondering the question of whether to become a paramedic using the above pros and cons as a guide is a good way to come up with answer that's right for you.

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