Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the program take?
Volunteer State Community College offers two options: an EMT Technical Certificate and a Paramedic Technical Certificate. The EMT program involves 18 course hours and can be completed in one semester. The Paramedic program involves 47 course hours and takes three concurrent semesters after completion of the basic EM coursework.
What is the difference between an EMT and a paramedic?
An EMT is trained, qualified and certified to provide basic emergency medical care. Paramedics, who also are emergency medical technicians, have much additional training that allows them to handle complex conditions and can administer intravenous drugs and use advanced devices to support breathing. In general, Basic EMTs usually receive 120 - 150 hours of training, while paramedics get anywhere from 1,200 hours to 1,800 hours of training.
Do I need math?
A math course is not required but some of the required courses for the Paramedic Technical Certificate involving administration of drugs may require math skills.
How much to EMTs and Paramedics earn?
Pay varies with experience and setting. Parademics, who have more training and experience, earn more, but most salary surveys put the two groups together. The average annual salary of EMTs and paramedics in 2009 was about $36,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local governments that run their own ambulance services pay more, as do specific industries that need emergency responders, such as mining companies. Jobs in Tennessee are plentiful the state ranks 4th in the country in terms of number of EMTs and paramedics per 1,000 workers.
Is admission automatic if I am interested?
No. For the EMT Technical Certificate Program, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and be able to handle heavy lifting and strenuous activity. Up to 16 students are admitted each semester Vol State offers the program. The Paramedic Technical Certificate program is not open to general enrollment. Applicants already must have a Tennessee EMT license and they are selected for the program through a competitive process that includes a psychological profile and a personal interview. Interested students must apply to the program by March 31. For both programs, students must pass a criminal background check.

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