Although it’s usually not a prerequisite to have work experience before enrolling in a paramedic program, it is always extremely helpful. After all, despite the quality instruction you’ll receive in the classroom, or the supervision you’ll get during clinical rotations, there’s really no substitute for actual work experience, especially when it comes to conducting patient assessments.
While it’s hard to get paramedic work experience without first becoming a licensed paramedic, there are ways you can properly prepare yourself for paramedic school before your very first semester even begins.
3 Ways to Get Work Experience Before Paramedic School
1) Work As An EMT
This is the most obvious solution to gaining work experience, but if you’re a licensed EMT and are interested in eventually becoming a paramedic, actual job experience is invaluable.
While EMTs aren’t allowed to administer medications orally and intravenously and cannot use medical equipment like an EKG, you will still gain crucial experience in assessing a patient’s condition, as well as managing a wide array of unexpected emergencies. You’ll also discover what a typical day is like for an EMT or paramedic, understand the hours in which they work, and experience the significance for making quick decisions under pressure.
2) Become a Volunteer EMT
Although earning a salary as an EMT is ideal, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have previously had some experience. And a great way to get that experience is through volunteer work.
Whether it’s a ride-along via a local fire department, or helping to provide efficient emergency medical care through an ambulance service, working as a volunteer is a priceless experience that will expand your knowledge of Pre-hospital Care management, particularly in how it works in conjunction with the Emergency Department.
3) Become a Lifeguard
If you have dreams of becoming a paramedic, but are under the age of 18, there are still a way for you to gain valuable experience when it comes to saving lives in high-pressure situations.
Become a lifeguard.
Being a lifeguard may seem like a cushy job for a teenager, but there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with the position. Not only are you responsible for the safety of countless people at a pool or beach, but a lifeguard must also work 20-40 hours per week after having been properly trained for the job.
Similar to an EMT or paramedic, a lifeguard must acquire certain certifications, too. Chief among them is valid CPR certification, as well as First Aid certification.
While a lifeguard doesn’t equate to a paramedic in terms of work schedule or overall responsibility, it’s a great job for a young person interested in the EMS field to gain valuable people skills, understand the importance of safety, and competently handle any potential medical emergency.
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