EMT Before Paramedic? Episode 145

Mike Ward joins co-host Greg, Rob, and Bill on tonight’s EMSEduCast to discuss Mike’s recent EMS1.com article titled, “EMT experience not needed for paramedic certification.

Michael J. Ward, BS, MGA, MIFireE, NREMT-Basic, spent 12 years as an academic, ending as Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University in 2012. He treated patients as an EMT (commercial, volunteer and seasonal) and paid firefighter/paramedic and, during a 25-year career with Fairfax County (Va.) Fire and Rescue, worked in every division of the department, retiring as the acting EMS division administrator. Ward is also a textbook author and conference presenter.

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  1. Bob Sullivan September 21, 2012 1:58 pm
  2. Matt Holstein December 26, 2012 6:20 pm

    Hey guys! This was a HOT topic for me the past few months. I’m 28 and not getting any younger. I also consider myself a decently intelligent individual. I just finished my EMT-B course and I was completely disheartened by the paramedics teaching my course, stating things like “Zero to hero doesn’t work. You need to have at least one year of experience…” blah blah blah. No offense to folks to struggled with becoming an EMT, but the course itself taught me almost NOTHING. I’ve taken many first aid courses and I can say that other than backboarding and some other technical things, most, if not all the things taught in the course were common sense or first aid level medicine. Needless to say it was not what I was expecting nor what I’ve craved. My problem is the only paramedic program within my area is starting again in fall 2013 which leaves me only about 6-7 months to get hired on and get experience on an ambulance. This is totally discouraging considering they don’t make RN students spend a year as a CNA before applying to that program….


  3. Alex January 4, 2013 10:56 am

    First things first–great show! We’re happy to have just discovered it, in fact!

    This was a particularly interesting episode (and blog post by Mike, too). If you email most paramedic program directors, they’ll often tell you that EMT experience isn’t required to enter into and graduate from paramedic school.

    But they’ll also tell you that being (and most importantly, working) as a EMT before paramedic school is invaluable, because it truly gives you a better, hands-on understanding of patient assessment, as well as what to expect in regards to the day-to-day grind of being an EMT-P.

    With that said, we’ve actually run across one or two program directors who prefer their students NOT have EMT experience. In their minds, they believe that prior EMT experience shapes their minds so much that they’re unable to deprogram their students (so to speak), and mold them into being the best paramedic student they can be.

    As with anything, there’s differing opinions across the board, though we’d probably say (at least in our experience), most are in favor of EMT experience prior to paramedic school.

    Thanks for such a great show!