Question on EMS college degree vs Paramedic certification

Kavsuvb

Forum Crew Member
76
8
8
I have a question for ya, I am wondering or college degree in EMS better than getting a paramedic certification. What are the pros and cons to a EMS college Degree vs a paramedic certification. What is the pay difference between a college degree paramedic and a paramedic with a certification.

I am asking because I am considering going to get a college degree in EMS and I wonder what's the difference.
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
1,604
742
113
I have a question for ya, I am wondering or college degree in EMS better than getting a paramedic certification. What are the pros and cons to a EMS college Degree vs a paramedic certification. What is the pay difference between a college degree paramedic and a paramedic with a certification.

I am asking because I am considering going to get a college degree in EMS and I wonder what's the difference.
A paramedic license let's you work as a paramedic.

A degree adds onto your paramedic school education to get you a degree.

That's it. Your opportunities with a degree may increase only slightly, but very few places require a degree.

Also, most paramedic degrees are an AAS, which means they are good for very little outside EMS. For this reason I did not get my. College's AAS, instead got my standard Associates for transfer.
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Crew Member
76
8
8
A paramedic license let's you work as a paramedic.

A degree adds onto your paramedic school education to get you a degree.

That's it. Your opportunities with a degree may increase only slightly, but very few places require a degree.

Also, most paramedic degrees are an AAS, which means they are good for very little outside EMS. For this reason I did not get my. College's AAS, instead got my standard Associates for transfer.
Are they worth it because I hear rumblings that some are trying to make Paramedic an associate degree as a gold standard to work in EMS.
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
1,604
742
113
Are they worth it because I hear rumblings that some are trying to make Paramedic an associate degree as a gold standard to work in EMS.
In my opinion, no.

The movement isn't to make a paramedic degree the standard, the movement is to have a degree. Any degree would be good. Personally, I think there would be way more value in you getting an Associate of Arts, or in Biology, or Biological Clinical Sciences, or something of the sort. Any of those degrees will be more portable if you ever want to do something more.

Personally, I passed on the Paramedic AAS in favor of a Associates of Arts because I plan on transferring for an Emergency Management degree. I would have had to do a lot more work with an AAS.
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Crew Member
76
8
8
In my opinion, no.

The movement isn't to make a paramedic degree the standard, the movement is to have a degree. Any degree would be good. Personally, I think there would be way more value in you getting an Associate of Arts, or in Biology, or Biological Clinical Sciences, or something of the sort. Any of those degrees will be more portable if you ever want to do something more.

Personally, I passed on the Paramedic AAS in favor of a Associates of Arts because I plan on transferring for an Emergency Management degree. I would have had to do a lot more work with an AAS.
I have been reading in some EMS journals that have been saying that Paramedics should be an Associate degree level like the ADN Nurse's. I am wondering should I get ahead of the game and just get my Associates or Bachelors in EMS. Also, would having an EMS degree be portable enough for BSN Nursing school or even Masters in Physician Assistant school.
 

mgr22

Forum Asst. Chief
932
294
63
I suggest you think long term -- beyond any circumstances that may cause you to leave EMS -- and go for a college degree. That won't necessarily get you more money as a field medic, but it will open up some opportunities inside and outside EMS that people without degrees don't have -- e.g., jobs or promotions requiring degrees.

A few points to consider:

- Your major is less important than the degree itself. Don't limit yourself to EMS programs.
- Knowledge is good.
- Four years is better than two; two is better than none.
- Some of the knowledge you accumulate during a degree program indirectly helps your career -- e.g., written and verbal communication skills, basic math, history.
- Knowledge is good.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,653
1,089
113
As long as you have a paramedic certification, you are a paramedic. A degree will not change that, as most paramedic degrees incorporate the certification exam. A degree is typically more expensive, however many of it's components (IE, the classes you take) can be used should you want to continue your education.

A paramedic degree will never expire; however, your paramedic certificate/license will, if you don't renew it. However, you can't work as a paramedic without a valid paramedic certificate.

There is a push from certain part of the industry to raise the minimum requirement to be a paramedic to be an associate degree; there is also a push to make the requirement be a bachelors degree. There is also a part of the industry that is fighting any increases for education. My prediction is it will happen sometime in the next 3 decades; similar to the nurses, all existing paramedics will be grandfathered in their current positions, which strong encouragement for existing paramedics to get their degree.

My recommendation is to get your paramedic in the cheapest fastest way possible. Once you pass your NREMT-P exam, get a job, and while you are working and gaining experience, work on finding a paramedic cert to paramedic degree bridge program.
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Crew Member
76
8
8
As long as you have a paramedic certification, you are a paramedic. A degree will not change that, as most paramedic degrees incorporate the certification exam. A degree is typically more expensive, however many of it's components (IE, the classes you take) can be used should you want to continue your education.

A paramedic degree will never expire; however, your paramedic certificate/license will, if you don't renew it. However, you can't work as a paramedic without a valid paramedic certificate.

There is a push from certain part of the industry to raise the minimum requirement to be a paramedic to be an associate degree; there is also a push to make the requirement be a bachelors degree. There is also a part of the industry that is fighting any increases for education. My prediction is it will happen sometime in the next 3 decades; similar to the nurses, all existing paramedics will be grandfathered in their current positions, which strong encouragement for existing paramedics to get their degree.

My recommendation is to get your paramedic in the cheapest fastest way possible. Once you pass your NREMT-P exam, get a job, and while you are working and gaining experience, work on finding a paramedic cert to paramedic degree bridge program.
That's what I have been hearing is that there is a push to make Paramedic an associate degree level education as a standard to work. I was reading something like this article: https://www.ems1.com/ems-education/articles/1258102-A-college-degree-requirement-for-paramedics-Is-it-just-B-S/ & even like this https://www.ems1.com/inside-ems/articles/392758048-Should-future-paramedics-be-required-to-obtain-associate-degrees/
So I am wondering is it worth it to get an AAS in EMS to be ahead of the curve knowing that in the coming years, the EMS industry will make Paramedic an Associate degree level to work as a paramedic just like the ADN Nurses.
 

Gurby

Forum Asst. Chief
779
549
93
From your signature it looks like you have some military background - is Uncle Sam going to be paying for this? If so, you want to be very careful about how use that money to make sure you get the most of it.
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
1,604
742
113
That's what I have been hearing is that there is a push to make Paramedic an associate degree level education as a standard to work. I was reading something like this article: https://www.ems1.com/ems-education/articles/1258102-A-college-degree-requirement-for-paramedics-Is-it-just-B-S/ & even like this https://www.ems1.com/inside-ems/articles/392758048-Should-future-paramedics-be-required-to-obtain-associate-degrees/
So I am wondering is it worth it to get an AAS in EMS to be ahead of the curve knowing that in the coming years, the EMS industry will make Paramedic an Associate degree level to work as a paramedic just like the ADN Nurses.
Okay so for like the fifth time...
Yes, there is a push to make an associates degree a standard. But it doesn't have to be a paramedic or EMS related degree, that's simply an option. Any associates degree will do.

An EMS AAS will limit the amount of transferable credits if you ever want to go further than an associates.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,653
1,089
113
Okay so for like the fifth time...

Yes, there is a push to make an associates degree a standard. But it doesn't have to be a paramedic or EMS related degree, that's simply an option. Any associates degree will do.

An EMS AAS will limit the amount of transferable credits if you ever want to go further than an associates.
OK, for like the 8th time.....

Statements like this are why I think an associates degree in EMS is a waste of time and money.

1) EMS specific credits might not transfer, but all the other psych and science classes will. As will any non-specific EMS classes, just like any other class.

2) The push is to make the degree an associates in EMS. a generic associates degree does not advance the profession. nor does requiring a generic bachelors degree. Unless the degree is an EMS specific degree, it's a money making scheme for the collegiate system, and a general waste of time.

3) using the ADN example, a nurse can't get a degree in underwater basket weaving and then take the NCLEX. It doesn't work that way. They need to take NURSING classes, to get a NURSING degree. So if EMS is going to mandate degrees for providers, the the profession should mandate EMS degrees, not just any random associates or bachelors.

I am all for education (and just paid for my first graduate class for my MBA about 10 minutes ago), but the education needs to be for a purpose. Your EMS degree should be 100% focused on EMS. Your prereq classes might be more general, but EMS 101is an EMS class, just like NUR101 is a nursing class.

And don't forget, while there is a push to mandate degrees for paramedics, there are two groups (one that ride around in big red trucks and one that cram dozens of students into the paramedic class every semester and are pumping out medics as fast as they can) that are actively fighting against the requirement to have degrees.

I'm not saying it's not going to happen sooner or later, but I am saying, at the present time, I wouldn't enrolled in a degree program, but i would take a certificate course and take College level A&P 1 & 2, with lab, at the local CC before the class starts.
 

VentMonkey

Ajaw
Premium Member
4,521
3,613
113
The push is to make the degree an associates in EMS. a generic associates degree does not advance the profession. nor does requiring a generic bachelors degree.

if EMS is going to mandate degrees for providers, the the profession should mandate EMS degrees, not just any random associates or bachelors.

Your EMS degree should be 100% focused on EMS. Your prereq classes might be more general, but EMS 101is an EMS class, just like NUR101 is a nursing class.
I 100% agree with all that I have quoted. I don’t disagree with @NPO, nor his train of thought either. I’m just not a manager at heart.

I just find it difficult for a clinically-driven “career paramedic” such as myself to chase a benign degree. Unfortunately for me, much of the education I seek is not attainable in degree form for paramedics...yet (?).

Higher and further education? Absolutely, but preparing for an exit outside of this career field, or a back up plan, can be achieved in more ways than one.
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
1,604
742
113
@DrParasite I cannot quote your post for some reason. But referencing the credit transfer..perhaps my college is more guilty of this, but my finished AAS in Paramedic Studies was going to be about 60ish credits. Less than 1/3 were transferable. This meant that, yes, some would transfer, but I would be entering University at a freshman level and have to take all of the general education courses from them at a higher cost.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,653
1,089
113
@DrParasite I cannot quote your post for some reason. But referencing the credit transfer..perhaps my college is more guilty of this, but my finished AAS in Paramedic Studies was going to be about 60ish credits. Less than 1/3 were transferable. This meant that, yes, some would transfer, but I would be entering University at a freshman level and have to take all of the general education courses from them at a higher cost.
how many of them were EMS courses? All of your gen ed classes should transfer, provided the new program you are looking at has them as requirements; however if you are having issues transferring classes where equivalent classes exist in both school, than it's likely an issue between your two schools, and not with the EMS program.

That being said, I just looked up the AAS degree at the college I work for: The program is 66-67 credit hours long; all but 19 credits are EMS courses, so it's unlikely that they would transfer to anything other than an EMS program.

After looking at some other programs Robeson Community College, Pitt CC or Pikes Peak , that seems to be pretty common, with all but 20 credits being EMS only ones.

Compare that to a Bridge paramedic to AAS program such as ABT Tech and you will find only 20 credits are non-EMS ones, while 9 credits are EMS specific; you don't get hour credit for your paramedic course, but it works out to paramedic + 29 credits for an AAS (during which time your already employed and making money) vs 67 credits for AAS from scratch.

Now, compare that to the Wake Tech Nursing program, and you see that the program is 72 credit hours, of which 29 of those are not "NUR" classes; I imagine between no more than 29 credits would transfer to a non-nursing program, so if you were going for a BS in mechanical engineering, you might get some of your electives taken care of, but that's about it.

Similarly, if I have a Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering, and decide to go to nursing school, I double many of my classes are going to transfer to that particular program.

Bottom line: As someone whose bachelors degree is in Information management, and 10+ years after I graduated decided to try to explore nursing, PA or medical school, I quickly found that some of my gen ed classes would transfer; so out of 120 credits, I might get 12 that could be used towards the other programs (generally the English or math requirements). All of the rest didn't count, because they were completely unrelated to my current area of study.
 

Uclabruin103

Forum Lieutenant
187
32
28
What are you looking to do in the EMS field? Do you just want to be a medic? Do you want management, or have a position in local EMS government regulation? Getting an EMS degree really pigeon-holes you into that field. If it's the medicine aspect or EMS, then get a biochem/chemistry/biology/insert any science here degree .That way if you want to go nursing or med school you'll already have the pre-reqs done .

Undergrad doesn't really matter what you get your degree in, only when you'll need a master's or doctorate will it. Enjoy the college experience, broaden your knowledge base.
 

Virgil

Forum Crew Member
49
6
8
I've been looking at CWU's(Central Washington University) B.S. in Paramedicine. It's a traditional 4-year program, and one of the few in the US, if I recall correctly. My personal plan is to work on getting my paramedic certification in my state(CA) while completing my Associates's for transfer at my local community college. CWU also has "Advanced Standing" which allows you to be put into the final two years of the program, granted to you have completed the GE requirements and are a State certified EMT-P. This program can also be done online.

Broad plan, I just want a degree. Maybe PA school later, later down the line. Who knows.

http://www.cwu.edu/health-science/paramedicine
 

Gurby

Forum Asst. Chief
779
549
93
I've been looking at CWU's(Central Washington University) B.S. in Paramedicine. It's a traditional 4-year program, and one of the few in the US, if I recall correctly. My personal plan is to work on getting my paramedic certification in my state(CA) while completing my Associates's for transfer at my local community college. CWU also has "Advanced Standing" which allows you to be put into the final two years of the program, granted to you have completed the GE requirements and are a State certified EMT-P. This program can also be done online.

Broad plan, I just want a degree. Maybe PA school later, later down the line. Who knows.

http://www.cwu.edu/health-science/paramedicine
FWIW many medical schools turn up their noses at online courses, and I would guess PA schools are the same way.

Also, your Associate program will likely default to putting you into dumbed down science courses. Make sure the classes you are taking satisfy PA school requirements if you want to make your life easier down the road (and also if you want to learn more and be a better paramedic). For instance, make sure you take "General Chemistry with Lab for Science Majors" rather than "Chemistry for Health Science" or whatever.
 

Virgil

Forum Crew Member
49
6
8
FWIW many medical schools turn up their noses at online courses, and I would guess PA schools are the same way.

Also, your Associate program will likely default to putting you into dumbed down science courses. Make sure the classes you are taking satisfy PA school requirements if you want to make your life easier down the road (and also if you want to learn more and be a better paramedic). For instance, make sure you take "General Chemistry with Lab for Science Majors" rather than "Chemistry for Health Science" or whatever.
I'm actually considering moving up to Washington for the final two years, and doing them in person. 1) I learn much better in a brick and mortar classroom and 2)With my very limited life experience, I am sure there are far better places than Southern California for me to experience.

Thank you for the heads up on science courses, I'm going to hunt down some general PA school course requirements and try to plan from there.
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Crew Member
76
8
8
Also would a Paramedic degree lead you into a PA school
 
Top