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. The paramedic directs and manages 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. A paramedic may 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 of Emergency Medical Technicians Examination for Paramedics, allowing for state-level certification.
The Paramedic Program is a three-semester sequence consisting of four components each semester: lecture, lab, hospital clinical, and EMS clinical. Each student is 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). The Paramedic Certificate Program 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. The student must attend program activities as assigned. The program is offered in the daytime on an alternating (week-to-week) schedule to accommodate the student who works 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.
- The student must gain acceptance to Polk State College as a credit-seeking student, with all required admission documents on file.
- At the time of application and admission to the Paramedic Program, the student must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 or higher.
- The student must complete all Developmental Education courses in reading and writing, as well as MAT 0018 Developmental Mathematics I, if necessary.
- The student must complete the following prerequisite course(s) before admission to the program with a grade of C or better: BSC 1084C Basic Anatomy and Physiology, or both BSC 2085C and BSC 2086C Anatomy and Physiology I and II.
- The student must hold State of Florida EMT certification.
- The student must submit a complete and accurate application for the Paramedic Certificate Program 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; a student who has not yet been admitted to the program may be required to take additional or alternate prerequisites prior to admission.
The Paramedic Program Application is available online via Higher Reach. The student must include all the above listed requirements in order to be considered by the selection committee; therefore, it is imperative that a student first meet with the Program Director to ensure compliance with the above requirements.
Additional Program Requirements
- Completion of a physical examination and essential functions examination.
- Completion of immunizations and communicable disease screenings.
- Certification in CPR (current ARC or AHA).
Admission to the Paramedic Certificate Program is based on the following criteria (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 the EMS field 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 the most qualified candidates for program admission based on the total points earned in the selection criteria, as indicated above. When selected for a position in the Paramedic Program, the applicant must enter at the designated time or lose his or her position. Positions that are unclaimed are given to alternates. Previous selection does not guarantee automatic selection for a later class, as a new application is required.
The approximate cost of the Paramedic Program is $7,500. 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 2019 lists paramedics as having a median salary of $34,320. Further information regarding salaries can be obtained through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
This program prepares the student for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Paramedic Exam and Florida's certification exam. A prospective student 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.
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
After successful completion of the program, the graduate is able to:
PLO1: Demonstrate the competency of the didactic principles and roles and responsibilities of the Paramedic within the emergency medical service (EMS) system. Understand the ideologies of advanced prehospital care necessary to fulfill the role of the entry level Paramedic.
PLO2: Identify normal and abnormal findings while demonstrating the techniques of conducting a comprehensive patient interview and physical exam.
PLO3: Integrate pathophysiological principles and assessment findings to formulate a field impression and implement the treatment plan for the trauma patient including blunt, penetrating, soft-tissue, and musculoskeletal trauma, burns, and hemorrhage and shock
PLO4: Integrate pathophysiological principles and assessment findings to formulate a field impression and implement the treatment plan for the medical patient including pulmonology, cardiology, neurology, psychiatric, and endocrine emergencies.
PLO5: Demonstrate effective verbal communication, assessment techniques, and written communication for patient-care reports using all the various formats identified in the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards.
PLO6: Demonstrate professional judgment, ethical standards, critical thinking, assessment and all other skills necessary to fulfill the role of the entry level Paramedic.