Becoming a paramedic means devoting yourself to the health and safety of those in your community. However, individuals who choose to pursue this noble profession need the right training to prepare them for the job.
Earning a paramedic associate degree online arms you with the emergency medical education needed to obtain a professional license and thrive in high-stress situations. If you're interested in earning an online paramedic associate degree, keep reading to learn more about common expectations and the earning potential for graduates.
What Are the Best Online Paramedic Associate Degree Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 5:
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|1||Lenoir Community College||Kinston, NC|
|2||Hutchinson Community College||Hutchinson, KS|
|3||Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond, KY|
|4||Davidson County Community College||Thomasville, NC|
|5||Iowa Western Community College||Council Bluffs, IA|
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2020 Best Accredited Online Paramedic Associate Degree Programs
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Lenoir Community College
|Kinston, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 18%||
Located in Kinston, North Carolina, Lenoir Community College offers an EMT associate degree in a hybrid format. The program combines in-person and online coursework and provides comprehensive training in the field. Upon graduation, students can take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and North Carolina Office of EMT exams.
The 71-credit AAS in emergency medical science includes 55 major classes, covering topics including pharmacology, advanced airway management, cardiology, trauma emergency management, and medical terminology. Learners can also take a rescue scene management course, during which they learn to manage hazardous materials, extricate patients from difficult situations, and perform incident command protocols. Coursework teaches students the skills and techniques necessary to provide lifesaving care in high-pressure scenarios.
Applicants must submit their official high school transcripts or GED test report, along with any college transcripts. The program does not require a minimum GPA.
In addition to pursuing the EMT associate degree, students can participate in the paramedic academy. The 36-week course comprises mostly online learning, with 10 weekend visits to lab sites. Additionally, the paramedic outreach track is open to students with EMT basic training or advanced EMT certification who want to advance their careers.
Lenoir's EMT associate degree is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Online learners can access services including academic advising, career coaching, counseling, library resources, and tutoring.
Hutchinson Community College
|Hutchinson, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Based in Hutchinson, Kansas, HCC offers an AAS in emergency medical service and paramedic that prepares students to deliver advanced lifesaving care in prehospital settings.
The 68-credit EMT associate degree includes courses on human anatomy, patient history gathering, patient assessments, cardiac emergencies, pharmacology, and emergency scene management. Students learn how to gather key information at an emergency scene, quickly determine the appropriate measures to take, and work as a team to deliver competent care. Students can take classes in an order and at a pace that suits their needs.
From 2016-2018, 100% of the program's graduates passed the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam. The program graduates 15-20 students each year.
Applicants must participate in an interview and submit high school transcripts or GED scores. They must also provide two letters of recommendation and a 250-word essay detailing their EMS experience and reasons for pursuing a career in the field. Prospective students may need to take a placement exam to determine their individual prerequisite requirements. Admitted students can begin coursework in August or January.
Online students benefit from personal counseling, academic advising, tutoring, and technical support. HCC offers a job board and career services, which help students find internship and job opportunities. The EMT associate degree is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Eastern Kentucky University
|Richmond, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
EKU offers a paramedicine associate degree designed for professionals with EMT certification. The program helps learners expand their career opportunities and teaches them to address a variety of urgent health concerns. The fully online program focuses on patient assessment, emergency medical techniques, and the delivery of optimal prehospital treatment.
The EMT associate degree requires 64 credits and features eight-week courses. Students can earn up to 18 credits for previous experience. Coursework covers topics including emergency operations, cardiology, advanced life support, and prehospital management of pediatric needs. Students can pursue a concentration in emergency services administration, which requires additional classes on EMS design and budgeting, legal and ethical issues in the field, and research methods.
After earning the EMT associate degree, many graduates enter EKU's bachelor's in emergency medical care program. The bachelor's program offers concentrations in EMS administration, clinical and fire services, and paramedic science.
Applicants must hold paramedic certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Students can apply up to 12 credits toward renewing their certification or state license. Transfer students can bring up to 49 earned credits from accredited institutions.
Located in Richmond, EKU offers the same low, per-credit tuition rate to in-state and out-of-state learners. Active-duty military members receive a discount. EKU waives the application fee and provides a dedicated adviser for military personnel and their families.
Davidson County Community College
|Thomasville, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
DCCC offers an online AAS in emergency medical science bridging option that allows certified EMTs and paramedics to earn 40 credits of advanced placement for their professional experience. The program comprises 66 credits, so students with sufficient experience only complete 26 additional hours to earn the associate degree.
The program includes courses on EMS management, professional research, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and general psychology. Students also take a rescue-scene management course that covers incident command, the management of hazardous materials, and the extrication of patients. To earn additional credits, students can take challenge exams. This can further reduce completion time for the EMT associate degree.
Applicants must have a credential from the National Registry or the North Carolina Medical Care Commission and must have completed an accredited EMS or paramedic certification program. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED scores, along with college transcripts, if applicable.
Online students can access DCCC's digital library and resources including tutoring, academic advising, career development services, and personal counseling resources.
Located in Mocksville, North Carolina, DCCC offers discounted tuition rates for state residents. The college also provides services to military veterans and their families, including assistance with GI Bill® benefits and the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program.
Iowa Western Community College
|Council Bluffs, IA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Based in Council Bluffs, Iowa Western Community College delivers a paramedic program in a hybrid format. Students can apply up to 30 credit hours earned through the paramedic program toward an associate of applied science in applied business from IWCC. Paramedic coursework prepares students to work in settings including ambulances and critical care units.
Students complete online coursework asynchronously and can access lectures and complete assignments at their convenience. Learners attend classroom sessions each Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., during which students gain practical experience at the university's EMT simulation center. Four courses, including pediatric advanced life support and advanced cardiac life support, comprise two consecutive days of eight-hour sessions. Paramedic students also complete an internship, which requires about 12 hours each week.
The paramedic program meets educational standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Graduates are eligible to pursue certification from the National Registry of EMTs and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
IWCC charges a flat tuition rate, the entirety of which is due at the time of registration. Tuition for the paramedic program includes textbooks, malpractice insurance, and a criminal background check. Eligible Iowa residents can qualify for tuition assistance.
New students must possess Iowa EMT or AEMT certification and must have completed a CPR class. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and must meet basic physical standards necessary to perform the duties of an EMT. The paramedic program boasts a 100% graduate placement rate for 2016-2018.
What Can I Expect From an Online Paramedic Associate Degree Program?
Whether you want to dedicate your career to emergency medical work or you're looking to lay the foundation for another healthcare profession down the line, earning an online paramedic associate degree can give you the training needed to assist those in life and death situations. The knowledge you gain while enrolled can help you feel confident when entering this high-stress field.
Students should feel confident administering lifesaving treatment and medication during health emergencies
The most common degree offered at the associate level is an associate of applied science in paramedicine. These programs can be found at two-year and four-year institutions, as well as some vocational schools. It typically takes full-time students two years to graduate. Upon graduation, students should feel confident administering lifesaving treatment and medication during health emergencies, regardless of the setting.
Depending on the program, students may need to have some basic EMT training and certification to be admitted; however, most programs tend to require only a high school diploma. While both online and in-person paramedic programs exist, even distance-based programs typically require some type of field or internship experience due to the hands-on nature of the profession.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Paramedic Associate Degree Program?
Your online paramedic associate program is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to safely and effectively assess, treat, and transport individuals to emergency medical centers. Although coursework differs slightly from program to program, the five courses described below are common among paramedic programs.
- Paramedic Fundamentals
These introductory courses are designed to provide students with basic knowledge in the areas of emergency medical services (EMS), medical terminology, medical math, and human anatomy and physiology. Paramedic fundamentals courses may also include run-throughs of possible emergency scenarios and CPR preparation and certification, depending on the program.
- Human Anatomy
A crucial class for future paramedics, human anatomy courses are designed to introduce students to the basic terminology, structure, and function of the human body. Course content typically focuses on the major organ systems and how each relates to human health and disease. Students may also gain an understanding of pathophysiology as it relates to emergency care.
- Patient Assessment for Paramedics
In these courses, students learn how to perform a comprehensive physical examination and assessment, including taking an individual's medical history. Coursework also covers clinical decision-making and proper documentation. Course content typically focuses on communication styles for paramedics and human relations as they relate to EMS.
- Cardiology for Paramedics
These courses introduce students to the cardiovascular system, cardiovascular electrophysiology, electrocardiographic monitoring, and rhythm analysis. Upon completion of this course, students should understand how to integrate assessment findings with principles of cardiovascular anatomy to implement a comprehensive treatment plan for patients with cardiovascular complaints.
- Paramedic Trauma Emergencies
This course is designed to prepare paramedic students to identify, assess, and treat different types of trauma emergencies for patients across the lifespan. Coursework covers the skills needed to recognize injuries, perform lifesaving interventions, prepare individuals for transport, and deliver trauma patients to emergency departments for further treatment.
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What Can I Do With an Online Paramedic Associate Degree?
Upon completion of your paramedicine program, you can pursue entry-level paramedic positions, working on an ambulance or in the emergency department of a hospital or other medical establishment.
Because of the growing and aging population in the U.S., individuals interested in joining the EMS field can look forward to solid job prospects in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the field will grow 6% between 2019 and 2029 — faster than the average projected growth for all occupations in the U.S.
- Emergency Room Technician
Emergency room technicians play a key support role within hospitals and other medical facilities. These professionals monitor patient blood pressure, pulse, and temperature; help collect blood, urine, and other samples; take patient medical history; dress wounds; transport patients; and communicate with patient family members.
Median Annual Salary: $35,090
Paramedics and EMTs are often the first people to respond to medical emergencies, whether it be a child choking, a sudden heart attack, or a car crash. They use their quick judgment to assess, analyze, and administer medical treatment, such as CPR, first aid, and emergency medication.
Median Annual Salary: $35,400
- Advanced Emergency Medical Technician
With advanced medical training and knowledge, these professionals are able to perform a wider variety of lifesaving procedures than basic EMTs and paramedics. They use their experience and specialized understanding to assess and treat medical emergencies quickly and safely. They may work as the head of a team of other EMS professionals.
Median Annual Salary: $52,950
- Paramedic Supervisor
Paramedic supervisors generally have the same formal training as other paramedics. However, they have years of on-the-job experience and are able to help monitor and manage newer paramedics and other medical staff, including EMTs and drivers. They maintain detailed activity logs, prepare patient reports, and help establish processes and procedures.
Median Annual Salary: $60,350
- Flight Paramedic
These paramedics work with patients who are being transported to a medical facility on an aircraft. Their main duties typically relate to providing emergency aid and stabilizing a patient so that they can get more advanced care at a hospital.
Median Annual Salary: $56,660
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Frequently Asked Questions About Paramedic Associate Degree Programs
- Should paramedics have a degree?
Due to the increasingly complex nature of paramedicine, paramedics are strongly encouraged to earn their associate degree (at a minimum). This formal training lays the foundation for a successful career and helps build the skills needed to thrive in the field as a medical professional.
- Is an online paramedic degree worth it?
The enhanced flexibility that comes with an online program can make earning an online paramedic associate degree worthwhile. Programs that cater to distance learners make it easier to get a degree while balancing other professional and personal obligations.
- What can I do with a paramedic associate degree?
Individuals who earn an online paramedic associate degree can pursue entry-level paramedic positions in hospitals and emergency rooms, on ambulances or aircraft, and in other emergency medical settings. Those who choose to earn further certifications and/or gain ample on-the-job experience may be able to go onto supervisory paramedic roles.
- How much money can I make as a paramedic with an associate degree?
According to PayScale, the average pay for an entry-level paramedic is about $40,000 per year. However, a worker's location and facility type may dictate whether they earn more or less than this amount. Having an associate degree is the minimum qualification for many roles in paramedicine.
- What is the highest salary for a paramedic?
According to the BLS, the highest 10% of paramedics and EMTs earned over $59,860 in 2019. However, these individuals are sometimes required to work more than 40 hours a week. Paramedics with more experience can expect to earn higher wages than those in entry-level positions. Additionally, professionals who take on leadership or supervisory roles and earn advanced professional credentials can also increase their earning potential.