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How to Earn a Paramedic Degree Online

written by: TanyaM•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 3/4/2010

Earning a paramedic degree online prepares students to respond to emergency medical situations and stabilize patients until they reach the hospital. Find out more about this unique online degree and how it can help you launch a career as a paramedic.

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    Paramedic and EMT Job Duties

    Paramedics and EMTs are usually the first medical professionals that respond to and treat medical emergencies. As a result, they need to be well trained on a variety of medical conditions and know how to stabilize patients until they can reach the emergency room. Paramedics also need to know how to use the latest medical equipment and respond to crisis situations.

    Earning a paramedic degree online or earning a certificate online is a great way to break into this growing career field. According to the Department of Labor, most EMTs and paramedics will need to have at least a high school degree in addition to specialized training. However, a bachelor's degree in emergency medical services can be very valuable. During an online degree emergency health services program, you can expect to take a wide variety of courses, especially in math and science. In addition to courses on anatomy, biology and chemistry, most EMT students and potential paramedics will also study emergency and crisis response and healthcare management.

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    EMT And Paramedic Job Opportunities

    Before you embark on an online degree emergency health services program, you may wonder what the job prospects are like for this career field. According to the Department of Labor, employment opportunities for paramedics and EMTs will grow faster than average -- increasing 19 percent by 2016.

    The median salary for EMTs and paramedics was $27,070 in 2006. However, the average salary will vary greatly based on training and skill level. If you decide to pursue an online bachelor’s degree in emergency medical services, you can expect to earn more than those who have just a high school diploma plus specialized training.

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    In addition to an online degree, you will need to obtain a certification in order to work as a paramedic or EMT. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians is the main certifying agency for paramedics and EMTs. They offer five levels of certification, ranging from First Responder to Paramedic. Those who obtain a Paramedic certification are the most well-trained and provide the most extensive medical care for patients before they reach the ER. They can also expect to earn more than EMTs.

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    Where to Find an Online Paramedic Degree

    Several colleges offer a paramedic degree online that will prepare you for a career as an EMT or paramedic. One well-regarded program that stands out is offered by Drexel University. This accredited university offers both a bachelor’s degree and an associate’s degree program in emergency medical services. The paramedic degree online programs focus on medical and science coursework and you will complete all the required certifications before you graduate. Some on-site courses are required, but the majority of the degree can be completed online.

    Like other online health degrees, obtaining a paramedic degree online or completing an online degree emergency health services program can open many doors and help launch your career in this growing health field.