A photo of three medical professionals standing behind an ambulance, with the doors open


A Life Saving Job

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings. People’s lives often depend on their quick reaction and competent care. EMTs and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities.

A 911 operator sends EMTs and paramedics to the scene of an emergency, where they often work with police and firefighters. For more information, see the profiles on police and detectives and firefighters.


EMTs and paramedics typically do the following:

  • Respond to 911 calls for emergency medical assistance, such as
    cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or bandaging a wound
  • Assess a patient’s condition and determine a course of treatment
    Follow guidelines that they learned in training and that they receive from
    physicians who oversee their work
  • Use backboards and restraints to keep patients still and safe in an ambulance
    for transport
  • Help transfer patients to the emergency department of a healthcare facility
    and report their observations and treatment to the staff
  • Create a patient care report; documenting the medical care they gave the
  • Replace used supplies and check or clean equipment after use

Some paramedics work as part of a helicopter's flight crew to transport critically ill or injured patients to a hospital. Paramedics also take patients from one medical facility to another. Some patients may need to be transferred to a hospital that specializes in treating their injury or illness or to a facility that provides long-term care, such as a nursing home.

If a patient has a contagious disease, paramedics decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and may need to report these cases to the proper authorities.

The specific responsibilities Paramedics depend on their level of training and the state they work in. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) provides national certification of EMTs and paramedics at
four levels: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate (which has two levels, respectively called 1985 and 1999), and Paramedic.

Paramedics provide more extensive pre-hospital care than do EMTs. In addition to carrying out the procedures that EMTs use, paramedics can give medications orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs)—used to monitor heart function—and use other monitors and complex equipment.

The specific tasks or procedures EMTs and paramedics are allowed to perform at any level vary by state.

Paramedic Program

Welcome to the Southwestern College Paramedic Program. Use this site to help answer some frequently asked questions.

The goal of the Southwestern College Paramedic Program is to prepare competent entry-level Paramedics in cognitive (knowledge), Psychomotor (skills), and effective (behavior) learning domains with or without exit points at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Technician, and Emergency Medical Responder levels." 

Southwestern College will be accepting applications forthe August 2019 Paramedic training program starting March 1, 2019 to June 14, 2019.

Emergency Medical Technicians with a year of full-time work experience are encouraged to apply.

Interested EMTs may obtain an application packet from SWC Higher Education Center at Otay Mesa until the middle of May or via email from Karen Cook at kcook@swccd.edu

Classes start in mid-August. Selection into this paramedic training program will be determined based on assessment of your cognitive, psychomotor, and effective abilities. (See application for moreinformation. Please note some of the requirements have changed, effective this year.)

**We are now using new text Emergency Care on the Street by Nancy Caroline**

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Prospective Students

Suggested Preparation

Suggested Pre-Tests

The college recognizes that some students aquire knowledge and competence through non-academic settings. Prerequisites are designed to ensure students' readiness to continue in their EMS careers. A strong foundation in EMT knowledge, math, terminology, and human anatomy and physiology is critical for success in the paramedic program. The following information will help you  in meeting program prerequisites:

  • College level math and reading: Tests are arranged through the admission office. The tests are held on campus frequently and at convenient times. PAramedic students must score the following minimums on the following placements.

Paramedic Training Program Accreditation

The Southwestern College PAramedic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Service Professionals (CoAEMSP)

Our goal is "To prepare competent entry-level Paramedics in the cognitive (knowledge), Psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains with or without exit points at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Technician, and/or Emergency Medical Responder levels."

The Southwestern College Paramedic Training Program is also accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE), formerly known as Continuing Education Coordinating Board for EMS (CECBEMS)

Outcomes 2015-2016 2016-2017 2018-2019
National Registry Written Exam Pass Rates 100% 100%  100%
National Registry Skills Exam Pass Rates 100% 100% 100% 
Program Retention Rates 66.9% 25% 75%
Positive Placement 100% 100%  100%
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Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs Commission on Accreditation of Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE)

25400 US Highway 19 North Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33756
Phone: (727) 210-2350
Fax: (727) 210-2354
Email: mail@caahep.org

12300 Ford Road, Suite 350
Dallas, TX 75234-8143
(972) 247-4442

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