The Paramedic Certificate Program provides a study of the information, skills, and techniques necessary to implement safe, effective, and appropriate care as an entry-level paramedic. Additionally, the program focuses on the professional demeanor necessary for the role.
A paramedic is the team leader of the Emergency Medical Services System team, delivering out-of-hospital emergency care under the direction of an emergency physician. Paramedics direct and manage patient care aspects of the Emergency Response Team. This team is commonly composed of public safety and community service agency personnel who respond to traffic accidents, fires, explosions, cave-ins, emergency rescue calls, and other life-threatening situations. The paramedic's primary responsibilities are to safely care for victims of accidents or sudden illness by stabilization of the patient's condition using advanced life support skills and equipment, and also to safely transport the patient to the hospital emergency department. The paramedic performs these duties in various settings in conjunction with other emergency service providers, including law enforcement and fire department personnel. Paramedics also assist in patient care in hospitals and doctors' offices with specific instruction and supervision. The actions of a paramedic can often mean the difference between patient survival or patient death. Successful completion of the prescribed courses and the awarding of a certificate of completion from the program makes a student eligible to take the State of Florida Paramedic Examination or the National Registry Examination for certification.
The Paramedic Program is a three-semester sequence consisting of four components each semester: lecture, lab, hospital clinical, and EMS clinical. Students are expected to demonstrate competency in advanced emergency medical care skills and to display a professional demeanor. This limited admission certificate program requires that each applicant first be admitted to the College and meet pre-admission requirements. Applicants with the best qualifications are selected during the summer of each year to begin work in the fall term. Admission requires current certification as a State of Florida Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). This is an intensive 1,200-contact-hour program that requires careful planning of school, work, and home schedules to accomplish. During the hospital and fieldwork phase, the student uses a special calendar that is not identical with the College's published calendar. Students must attend program activities as assigned. Students are advised to contact the Program Director for additional information and scheduling details. The program is offered in the daytime on an alternating (week-to-week) schedule to accommodate students who work a 24-on, 48-off work schedule.
Polk State College's Paramedic Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP). Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) 1361 Park Street Clearwater, FL 33756; telephone:727.210.2350.
The following are the minimum requirements for consideration for admission to the Paramedic Certificate Program. Applicants are chosen by a selection committee and admitted once a year.
- Students must gain acceptance to Polk State College as credit-seeking students, with all required admission documents on file.
- At the time of application and admission to the Paramedic Program, students must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 or higher.
- Students must complete all Developmental Education courses in reading and writing, as well as MAT 0018 Developmental Mathematics I, if necessary.
- Students must complete the following prerequisite course(s) before admission to the program with a grade of C or higher: EMS 2010 Body Systems for the Paramedic, or BSC 1084C Basic Anatomy and Physiology, or both BSC 2085C and BSC 2086C Anatomy and Physiology I and II.
- Students must hold State of Florida EMT certification.
- Students must submit a complete and accurate application for the Paramedic Certificate Program to Student Services by the application deadline for the incoming fall class.
Note: Prerequisites and courses that can be taken prior to admission to a program can change; students not yet admitted may be required to take additional or alternate prerequisites prior to admission.
Applications are available in the Student Services Offices. Applications must contain all the above listed requirements in order to be sent to the selection committee; therefore, it is imperative that a student wishing to be considered for a position in the Paramedic Program meet with the Program Director to assure compliance with the above requirements.
Additional Program Requirements
Additional requirements that are completed after the selection process has been finalized include:
- Completion of a physical examination and essential functions examination.
- Completion of immunizations and communicable disease screenings.
- Certification in CPR (current ARC or AHA).
The Program Director provides information regarding the completion of these additional admission requirements with the acceptance letter.
Admission to the Paramedic Certificate Program is based on the following criteria, with maximum points for each criterion indicated:
- The evaluation of a student's GPA in prerequisite courses is worth up to 30 points.
- The evaluation of a student's GPA in the AS General Education courses (indicated below) that have been completed is worth up to 10 points.
- The student's interview with the selection committee is worth up to 40 points.
- A student's demonstrated experience in EMS is worth up to 20 points. Experience in EMS may be obtained as a volunteer or employee. The hours must be documented and are verified by the Program Director.
The selection committee selects candidates for program admission based on the total points earned in the selection criteria, as indicated above, and the most qualified applicants are selected. When selected for a position in the Paramedic Program, the applicant must enter at the designated time or lose his/her position. Positions that are unclaimed are given to alternates. Previous selection does not mean automatic selection for a later class, as a new application is required.
The approximate cost of the Paramedic Program is $5,500. The cost includes course fees, books, physical exams, uniforms, and other related costs, but does not include the cost of program prerequisites.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012 lists paramedics as having a median salary of $31,020. Further information regarding salaries can be obtained through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
The program prepares students for the National Registry of EMT's Paramedic Exam and Florida's certification exam. Prospective students should be aware that a Social Security Number (SSN) is required to be issued a certificate or license by the Florida Department of Health, which is the licensing authority for healthcare licenses in Florida.