Experience the Challenges and Rewards of Helping People as a Paramedic

Lisa Wilson, Staff Writer

Paramedics are called on to respond during emergencies when seconds count. You may see paramedics show up in an ambulance or on a specially equipped fire engine. They offer critical medical assistance to patients both at the incident site and en route to a hospital or medical facility. This is an action-packed and humanitarian career.

Getting started on a paramedic career can be thrilling, fulfilling, and exciting. If you’re interested in a healthcare profession that demands quick thinking and provides the opportunity to deliver life-saving care, then this critical medical role might be the perfect fit for you.

Let’s dive into what paramedics do, the education you’ll need, and how to get started in this exciting field. We’ll also explore the pros and cons of pursuing this career.

Paramedics are the go-to emergency medical professionals, responding to 911 calls and providing on-scene medical assistance. They perform life-saving procedures, stabilize patients, and transport them to hospitals for further treatment. A paramedic’s role is vital, as their quick thinking and actions can greatly impact a patient’s chances of survival. As a paramedic, you will respond to medical and traumatic emergencies (accidents and injuries). At work, you may work 12, 24, or even 48-hour shifts. You may have a set or a rotating schedule. In some cases, companies also allow for part-time work which can be very flexible and great for college students.

To become a paramedic, you’ll need to complete a paramedic training program. This starts with getting an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification, followed by a more advanced paramedic course. These programs can range from weeks to months for EMTs, and often one to two years for paramedics. This training can be found at community colleges, technical schools, or even some universities. Expect courses to cover topics like advanced life support, pharmacology, and medical emergencies. You will learn Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), how to start IVs, intubation, and when to perform specialized procedures and treatments.

To get started in this field, you’ll need to earn your high school diploma or GED, and then apply for an EMT-basic course. Once you’ve gained experience as an EMT, you can take the next step and sign up for a paramedic program. Generally, the experience would come from working on an ambulance with a paramedic partner. Learning the ropes as an EMT is great preparation for paramedic school. After completing your education, taking part in clinical rotations in the hospital, completing a paramedic internship, and passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam, you’ll be a certified paramedic. It is a journey filled with many challenges but the reward is worth the hard work. Now let’s look at the pros and cons of this job.


Job Satisfaction – As a paramedic, you’ll be saving lives and making a difference in your community. This can lead to a high level of job satisfaction.
Job Security – Demand for paramedics is expected to grow, which means steady job opportunities. Companies are currently offering huge bonuses because there are not enough medics to fill the jobs.
Variety – No two days are the same, as you’ll encounter different patients, medical conditions, and emergency situations.


Stressful Work – The nature of the job can be emotionally and physically demanding, which may lead to burnout.
Long Hours – Paramedics often work long shifts and may be required to be on-call during nights, weekends, and holidays.
Dangerous – The job can be physically demanding, and there is a risk of injury when lifting patients or working in hazardous conditions. You may also be exposed to violent environments, drugs, or toxins.

When all is said and done, becoming a paramedic is a fun, noble, and challenging career choice. As a college student, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to determine if this career might fit your life. If you have long-term aspirations for working in healthcare, love helping people, are seeking a great career, and have a sense of adventure, consider becoming a paramedic.