Inside Paramedic Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"The Job Is Not All Lights And Sirens...
Most people would be surprised to learn that very few of my calls are on actual life threatening emergencies. Most of the people I take to the ER are for exacerbation of chronic problems or for very minor injuries that could be tread in a doctors office." (Paramedic; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Paramedicine at Foothill College in California; completed Certificate degree in 2010

"I Was Surprised At How Relaxed Everyone Always Is"...
It is not like TV. There are times when it is like TV, but about 99% of the calls are not like that. They may be people that still need help, a person to talk to, or a way to get to the hospital, but they aren't the full code cardiac arrest that happens on TV. The 'easy' calls are the ones you practice your people skills." (Paramedic; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Paramedicine at Hudson Valley Community College in New York; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"Impact On A Life...
I was surprised about how little time it takes to become such a huge part in a person's life and well-being. I was also surprised how little it takes to become completely devoted to a total stranger." (Paramedic; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Emergency Medicine at Sinclair Community College in Ohio; completed Certificate degree in 2011

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Emergency Medical Technician: "One major upside to the career has to be the feeling of knowing you saved a life or you improved the quality of someone's life. Another upside is you'll never have a monotonous day because every day is different and there is really no set schedule. A major downside to the job is probably the emotional toll it can take on those weak of heart, because you see some pretty disturbing stuff. Another downside is the irregular hours. Sometimes, especially as a newbie, you'll have to work the graveyard shift and you can get a pretty messed up sleep schedule." (2011)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"The Job Is Not Really Glamorous...
Be ready to get dirty, deal with disgusting things, and be patient with the elderly. The elderly are going to be your bread and butter so develop compassion and patience now." (Paramedic; 2013)

"Don't Expect A Hospital Job Out Of The Box...
When you begin hands on training, make sure you listen closely, because if you don't the course will go by very fast and you'll be completely lost. When you first finish your training program don't expect to just start out at a hospital unless you have connections. It's best to just work for a volunteer service or small organization. Also, after your probational period is over, it's best to go back to training at a local college and get your full paramedic license so you'll be making more money, and maybe even get to drive that shiny new ambulance." (Emergency Medical Technician; 2011)