Can You Be a Paramedic if You’ve Been Arrested?

Do you think it’s possible to become a paramedic if you’ve been arrested or charged with a felony?  It’s a question we see pop up online quite a bit by those interested in becoming a paramedic, so we wanted to address it, as well as a few other questions that we receive via email.

So let’s get right to it.

Q) Can I become a paramedic if I have been convicted of a felony?

A) In general, no. The NREMT has a general policy of denying certification, or revoking any current certification, to anyone who has been convicted of a felony. There is a process for appealing denial; details on the NREMT’s policy regarding felonies can be found at the NREMT’s webpage.

Questions about state certification for convicted felons should be addressed to that state’s agency responsible for EMS. Please note that these restrictions are usually for convictions, not for acquittals; being charged with these felonies is not necessarily a reason for being denied, but it is best to see your state’s specific guidelines on this issue.

Q) I’m interested in learning more before I enroll in a class to become a paramedic. Is there anything I can do or take to help me get a bit of an edge?

A) While not necessarily an “edge” in that you’re learning something others don’t have the opportunity to study, there are a few things you can do that may assist you greatly once your paramedic program begins.

First, any course you can take in human biology, or in human anatomy and physiology, will help (and in some places, is a prerequisite to get into the paramedic course).

Also, consider consulting active paramedics in your area.  Find out what medications they carry and begin to read up on them. Some states may also publish a list of medications, as well as all of the information that a paramedic might need to know about them, on the website for the state’s agency responsible for EMS oversight.

Lastly, since you must be an EMT in virtually all jurisdictions before becoming a paramedic, you will need to obtain your EMT certification at some point. You do not always have to work as an EMT, but you usually must at least be one.

Also, if your jurisdiction allows, you might consider taking ACLS and/or PALS as an EMT, in order to familiarize yourself with some of the paramedic’s most basic tools and skills.

Stay tuned for upcoming questions and answers relating to topics that typically don’t get covered about becoming a paramedic at Paramedic Training Spot.

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