Frequently Asked Questions
What is a paramedic?
A paramedic is a person who provides advanced life support to persons at the site of an illness or injury or en route to a hospital facility. While most are employed by Fire/EMS agencies, some paramedics are employed by health care facilities. They function under the direct supervision of an Emergency Department Physician or Registered Nurse and are certified by the state as an EMS provider.
What is the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic?
EMT's receive approximately 150 hours of education. Although they can use automatic external defibrillators, they do not have any advanced pharmacological training. Most treatment is protocol based.
Paramedics receive more than 1500 hours of education and are expected to utilize concepts of anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology and patient assessment to develop a field impression and create a treatment plan. Professional behavior (affective domain) and problem solving/critical thinking skills are demanded.
Is there an age requirement for EMT or Paramedic?
Yes, 18 years old. To be certified in Utah as an EMT, you must be 18 years of age at the time of certification.
Are there technical standards to being a paramedic?
Yes, please find the US Department of Labor's functional job analysis for paramedic here
Do I have to be an EMT first?
Yes. Per Utah regulation, EMT must be accomplished before taking paramedic. EMT can be taken at WSU or any state-approved location. For non-WSU courses, credit can be transferred by providing a Utah certification card and transfer fee of $10.00. Currently a student must complete 30 credit hours at WSU for EMT (PAR 1000/1001) to be applied to the transcript. Please note you must have a state certification or licensure in order to participate in paramedic education. A National Registry of EMT's card without a corresponding state certification or licensure will not be accepted.
Do I need to have a year of EMS experience to enter paramedic?
The Utah Bureau of EMS relaxed its longstanding regulation requiring a year of EMS experience. However, we have found students with EMS experience tend to have a jump start on team leadership and assessment skills. WSU provides an EMT field internship experience by taking the PAR 1005/1006 courses. Students must have completed a college advising appointment, the specified prerequisites, and departmental approval in order to take PAR 1005/1006.
- Prerequisites must be completed BEFORE starting the paramedic program!
- Entrance testing must be completed prior to May 15 for application consideration!
Students are expected to learn from instruction in the English language, plus be able to listen and communicate appropriately to other English speaking students, faculty, patients and medical personnel. Students for whom English is not their native language will demonstrate English fluency prior to admission in one of two ways.
- Achieving a 7.5 minimum "band score" on the IELTS exam, or
- Achieving a minimum score of 94 out of 120 on the TOEFL exam with no scores less than a 24 in writing, 26 in speaking, 22 in listening and a 22 in reading.
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Why does Weber require 8 credits of Anatomy and Physiology (A&P)?
In 1999, the National Standard Paramedic Curriculum moved to an assessment based management model for paramedic practice. By 2005, Weber recognized that our own, on-line, 4 credit, Survey of Anatomy and Physiology for Paramedic Practice (HTHS 1115) was no longer strong enough for this curriculum and/or the successful completion of the National Registry Paramedic Exam. Weber as a degree granting institution also recognized the HTHS 1115 did not articulate well into the AAS degree, or as a prerequisite to a student in the additional pursuit of an Allied Health or Nursing degree. Then, in 2010, the National EMS Education Standards were released with the paramedic expected to possess a "complex depth and comprehensive breadth of knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of human systems." Weber strongly believes the 8 credits of "matched set" A&P is a significant component to the fact that 97% of our graduates pass the National Registry Paramedic Exam on the first attempt with the minimum amount of questions. Students with non-conforming (such as the military) or "mismatched" A&P from other schools may competency test ("test out") of HTHS 1110/1111 by calling 801-626-6505.
Is there a selection process?
During most years the paramedic program has been able to give acceptance to all QUALIFIED applicants. In the event applicants outnumber the slots available the following selection criteria will be used:
- Initial "yes/no" ranking of students that achieved the 75% cut score on first entrance entrance exam attempt by May 15, followed by those that achieved 75% on the second attempt.
- Secondary ranking will then utilize "overall GPA" on the transcript (greater than 2.7)
Tertiary ranking will be to those that have completed AAS degree support courses
- MATH 1010, ENGL 1010, HTHS 2230, PSYC 1010, SOC 1020 and HLTH 3400
- If needed, the fourth ranking will utilize the overall grade average achieved in A&P
- Additional "tie breakers" will include number of entry test attempts and the earlier date of application
- 6 slots will be held until July 1 for Fire/EMS agency sponsored students.
- 1 slot will be held until July 1 for a qualified veteran
In the event that space is available, a student may be considered for "contractual admission." In order to be considered for contractual admission one the following may have occurred:
- GPA of 2.5 to 2.69
- Entrance exam score of 70-74
At this point the the program will evaluate the entire transcript and academic preparation of the student. Grades of "A" and "B" in the Anatomy and Physiology courses weigh heavily in the consideration for contractual admission. Students admitted to PAR 2000 must achieve an academic grade of 80%, (non-rounded or with evaluation point) in order to progress to PAR 2010). In addition, "departmental probation" in the future will not be offered. Contractual admission if offered will be highly selective. If offered contractual admission the student must recognize that significant additional time and effort will be required to succeed.
Please note, "contractual admission" will not be offered for any grades of "C-" or lower on prerequisite courses.
What are the employment opportunities?
EMT may find employment in out-of-hospital care areas such as fire, police, ambulance, ski patrol and security positions as well as hospital emergency departments. Paramedics are usually employed in fire, police, EMS agencies and health care facilities. While employment opportunities on the Wasatch Front remain good, students willing to relocate off the Interstate 15 corridor will find job opportunities outstanding.
What are starting salaries of graduates?
In Utah, starting salaries for EMT's are $12,000 to $30,000 and $35,000 to $60,000 for paramedics. Agencies in other parts of the nation have higher pay scales.
Why choose paramedic education at WSU?
WSU’s Department of Emergency Care & Rescue (EC&R) has been nationally accredited for nearly 30 years, making it the first accredited program in Utah and one of the first in the nation. More than 90 percent of WSU’s paramedics are employed upon graduation or pursuing an advanced degree. Our graduates are sought after to apply for positions throughout the nation. WSU does not require prior EMS agency experience in order to be considered for the paramedic program however for those with no experience we recommend PAR 1005. The first time pass rate on the National Registry Exam is 97%, highest in Utah and in the top tier in the nation. Weber also significantly leads the state and nation in "above passes" for each of the 5 exam content areas.
What degrees/certificates are available?
The EC&R department offers programs to obtain an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paramedic Studies, an Institutional Certificate for Paramedic, and upon successful testing a Utah Bureau of EMS certificate for EMT. Student may also consider pursuit of a Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree. http://www.weber.edu/bis/. The program is exploring a BS Degree in Emergency Healthcare Science for Fall 2017.
What will I learn in the program?
In the EMT program you will learn basic life support, patient assessment and treatment modalities following the U.S. Department of Transportation and Utah State Department of Health standards for certification. Students that successfully complete the program are eligible to take the National Registry EMT test at an additional cost.
In the paramedic program you will learn advanced life support concepts and techniques following the U.S. Department of Transportation, Utah State Department of Health, and National Registry standards for certification. WSU teaches the National Standard Paramedic Curriculum of 1999 fully integrated with the 2010 EMS Education Standards. The 2010 AHA ECC Guidelines are also taught. We believe paramedic success comes from higher order learning to include assessment based management, use of differential diagnosis and problem solving. Students that successfully complete the program will take the National Registry Paramedic exams to become eligible for Utah and other state certification or licensure.
Why do I need to visit or call for college advising?
Paramedics are rapidly becoming health care professionals. Academic advisement helps you make decisions that are best for your immediate and long-term career goals. Advisement also can save you time and money by plotting the most effective curriculum map based on your goals. Contact an Admissions Adviser at 801-626-6136; email@example.com) for an appointment.
Do I have to register (become admitted) to Weber State University?
Class starts - application deadlines?
EMT (PAR 1000 and 1001) courses start at the beginning of Fall, Spring and usually Summer semesters. The day class is Tuesday and Thursday, 1200 (noon) to 1600. First and second block night classes that run M-Tu-W-Th from 1800 - 2200 are often offered. Students may register online for BOTH PAR 1000/1001 and are accepted as long as space is available. Classes fill quickly and over-rides are not issued. Attendance of the first class is MANDATORY.
PARAMEDIC Both day and evening Paramedic courses start in Fall semester pending sufficient enrollment. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications early even if prerequisites are not completed. Applications are due May 15th. You must select your first choice of either "day" or "evening" programs. At this time the EC&R Department will make the "sufficient enrollment" decisions. After May 15th, admissions will continue over the summer on a space available basis. Due to BCI and urine drug test requirements qualified applicants must apply by July 17. Please contact the department at 801-626-6521 for details. An application may be found on the home page.
What is the cost of the program? (Tuition - Books - Uniforms - Applications - Incidentals)
In 2013, the typical cost for core paramedic education was approximately $5,500.00 for the 2 semester day course and $8,800.00* for the four semester evening course. This amount can vary greatly based on the type and number of prerequisite courses you need and your method of completion. Please see WSU's Costs & Deadlines site for a breakdown of university tuition and fees. This site contains links to financial aid and scholarship information to help find money to pay for your education.
In addition to standard WSU tuition and fees, students in paramedic program can expect some or all of the following additional expenses:
- University and college application fees (approximately $60)
- Background Criminal Check - Urine Drug Screen -
- Background Criminal Investigation - required starting 2013 (approximately $50)
- Drug Screening - required starting 2013 - (approximately $40)
- Immunization records - required starting 2014 - (approximately $20)
- Graduation application fee ($30)
- Textbooks (approximately $600)
- Uniforms (approximately $100)
- Fingerprinting (approximately $30)
- Utah State application and National Registry test fees (approximately $375)
- Clinical and Field Internship forms mailing costs ($100)
- Clinical and field travel/meals dependent on location.
Can I receive experiential credit?
Emergency Medical Technician. EMT on a formal college transcript from a regionally accredited school will transfer for credit and grade. Students that have Utah EMT certification from a non-academic source may obtain credit but no grade upon completion of 30 "in-house" WSU credits. (Military members see below)
Advanced EMT. (Old EMT-I, I-85, or I-99) WSU does not offer experiential credit or accelerated progression for AEMT, EMT-I, I-99 or IA students for three reasons: 1) the quality of the courses around Utah and the nation are so variable we cannot assume the required competencies were mastered; 2) When the 1999 National Standard Curriculum came out, EMT-I no longer meshed correctly in a "stair-step" approach. 3) Paramedic level practice involves heavy use of assessment based management and critical thinking. For these reasons WSU re-teaches the entire Advanced EMT curriculum as part of the paramedic program.
Paramedic - As a general rule, WSU does not offer experiential credit for paramedic, however each case will be reviewed on an individual basis. Grades less than B- will not be considered and competency verification testing (particularly in EKG/ACLS) may be required. Students coming from a CoAEMSP accredited program receive highest favor. Should a paramedic candidate wish to transfer paramedic credit from an incomplete course of study, a release form must be signed for WSU to contact the previous program. Students with affective domain, legal, and/or ethical issues from the previous program may not be suitable for for admission to the WSU program.
Military / Veterans - WSU considers itself a "veteran friendly" school. Military personnel with a valid National Registry EMT card can be awarded reciprocity by the Utah Bureau of EMS and then apply for WSU transcript credit as stated above. Due to the extreme variability of armed forces medical training, military/veteran candidates will be reviewed on an individual basis. Since military training at times does not closely articulate with civilian offerings, course competency testing in Anatomy, Physiology, Medical Terminology and other areas may be required. Per accreditation standards, military/veteran candidates must meet the same prerequisite requirements as civilian students prior to participating in the paramedic core courses. Due to the curriculum layout, veteran candidates may have to re-accomplish all or parts of the paramedic education sequence. Veteran students are encouraged to competency test ("test out") of the prerequisite courses. Military and veteran candidates are considered on a "case-by-case" basis.
How much time is involved with field internship?
Successful completion of field internship is a combination of 480 hours (minimum) and 50 competent ALS Team Leads. THIS REQUIRES SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT. Students may have to perform additional hours to achieve the 50 ALS Team Leads. To successfully complete field internship a student MUST commit to a standard agency standard A, B, or C shift with the same preceptor and vehicle. Field agency shifts are 12 hour day's, 24/48's and 48/96's. To achieve the best experience, students are not allowed to "mix and match" preceptors and shifts. As a general policy, field internship will not be extended past the Spring commencement for the campus class or Fall commencement for the night class.
Can I continue to work during the paramedic education sequence?
Students taking the campus (day) class will have a 17 credit load in the fall and 19 credits in the spring. Full time work or additional course load is not recommended. Limited part time work may be considered. Due to the rigorous nature of the program and limited internship availability, class, skill lab, clinical and field internship schedules will NOT be adjusted to accommodate a student's work schedule. Field internship requires a student to commit to a standard agency A, B, or C shift and complete field riding and the program as described above.
Students taking the evening (distance) course have 4 semesters to complete the program. Limited full time employment may be considered. The program is delivered in an "extended" classroom format. The program was never intended nor designed for students to attend class while on duty or to be delivered in a single student, "at home" method. Students are required to attend all of the interactive evening broadcast classes. Due to the rigorous nature of the program and limited internship availability, class, the 9 skills weekends, clinical and field internship schedules will NOT be adjusted to accommodate a student's work schedule. Students must make arrangements with their EMS agency to be freed from "first line" response to calls if attending on a working shift. Lectures are no longer placed on the internet for review. Field internship requires a student to commit to a standard agency A, B, or C shift. Field internship generally will not be extended past the Spring commencement for the campus class or Fall commencement for the night class.
Why do I need Background Criminal Investigation and Drug Screening?
The Utah Bureau of EMS, plus the clinical and field internship agencies now require EMS students to complete a Background Criminal Investigation (BCI), fingerprinting and drug screening. While a misdemeanor or felony may not prohibit a student from attending class . . . clinical and/or field participation or the awarding of certification by the Utah Bureau of EMS / National Registry of EMT's may be compromised. Students with questions on this topic must personally contact the Utah Bureau of EMS or the National Registry of EMT's prior to program application. (Since the Utah Bureau of EMS does not share it's BCI with the paramedic program, unfortunately, a second BCI must be completed through certifiedbackground.com)
Why do I need to send my immunization records to certifiedbackground.com?
All clinical and field internship sites now require full immunizations by the student. Much of this is required by the National Health Safely Network and/or Joint Commission to protect the patient, student and agency. After much thought, the paramedic program has contracted with certified background.com to collect, verify and organize the immunization records of paramedic applicants. We believe in the long run this will be a "value added" benefit for the students since they can access their immunization records for future employer.
Are there accommodations for students with disabilities?
WSU's Paramedic Program is dedicated to providing an outstanding education to all students and will diligently work with our Disability Services in providing that education. However, based on clinical and field internship agency requirements and limitations, reasonable accommodation may not be possible. Prospective students should also recognize that testing for certification and licensure is done by the National Registry of EMT's. Should a student have any concerns about testing accommodations it's the student's responsibility to contact the National Registry, or the Utah Bureau of EMS (preferably prior to pursuing this course of study). Information can be found at NREMT.ORG website or Utah BEMS
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