Becoming a paramedic can be a life changing experience. Not only can you can make a good living at it but you can have a positive impact on the lives of others while doing so. Paramedics are a breed like no other. They are there when it counts and when someone’s life is at risk. If you are thinking about this as a career, here is some information on the opportunity and assistance available through scholarships and grants to pursue your education and break into this noble profession.
There are three levels of certification required to become a fully licensed paramedic: basic, intermediate and paramedic. These are usually referred to as EMT-B, EMT-I and EMT-P. Each of these has varying levels of education and responsibilities. Salaries generally start at around $30,000 for those completing EMT-B and at $40,000 or more for fully licensed paramedics. Basic certification is easily obtained by attending a community college for around three to six months. It generally requires 120 to 150 training hours and should only cost around $500 to $1,000 depending on where you live and choose to pursue your education. The paramedic level is the most intensive certification and is required for the field’s highest paying positions. EMT-P programs usually take between one and two years to complete and require 1,200 to 1,800 total training hours. The cost to complete EMT-P can run as much as $10,000 to $15,000. While grants to cover these training programs are somewhat hard to come by, there are several scholarship programs that can help you attend paramedic school. You may also be able to make use of employer paid training programs and federal education funding to become a licensed paramedic.
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians has scholarships of various levels available to NAEMT members. First responders looking to accomplish EMT-B can receive $500. Those with EMT-B wanting to become EMT-P certified can receive $5,000. The program also offers $2,000 to fully licensed paramedics to advance their EMS education. And for those already enrolled in paramedic programs, NAEMT offers up to $2,500 to assist with degree completion. Full program guidelines are available on the association website. Applicants must be NAEMT members, show financial need and complete a letter of request. Application deadlines occur twice a year, in June for Fall and Winter semesters and in September for Spring and Summer semesters. Completed applications submitted before those deadlines are evaluated on four major factors: professional dedication, demonstration of financial need, community dedication and potential for service as a positive role model for NAEMT.
Bound Tree Medical
This scholarship began in 2004 and is unique in its own particular way. The Legacy Scholarship Program is offered to children of volunteer or career EMTs, paramedics and firefighters. These scholarships are intended to help carry on a family tradition and to ease the financial burden of the education necessary to do so. So far over 400 scholarships have been awarded through the Bound Tree program. The annual application deadline occurs in late March with funding decisions and awards made over the summer. You must attend a state approved program for EMT Basic, Intermediate or Paramedic. Funding available for EMT-B programs will pay 50% of fees up to $500. Awards for EMT-I and EMT-P will pay 50% of fees up to $2,500. In both cases, grant amounts offered are based on the cost of the program you are attending.
Employer Paid Training Program Grants
Besides these opportunities, employers in the paramedic industry often offer employer paid training programs. Usually you must complete EMT-B on your own to first become hired. There can be a waiting period after you first start depending on your particular employer. Most will want you to have been there at least six months to a year and be in good standing as an employee before they will consider making this investment. Often EMTs employed by hospitals and fully licensed paramedics fall into a critical shortage area where up to 100% of tuition is applicable for these programs. Most employer paid programs traditionally cover around 50% or so, but these are dollars you won’t have to spend yourself to improve your education and expand your career. Contact your local hospitals and independent ambulance services to inquire about these opportunities to find out what is offered in your area.
Using Federal Grants and Student Loans to Attend Paramedic School
One final possibility for financial assistance could be through the use of federal money. You may be able to apply for federal funding to attend paramedic school as long as your school is accredited and the program is considered long enough to meet federal requirements. You will need to check with the financial aid office of the school you plan to attend to see if the program they offer is eligible for a Pell Grant or other federal student grants and student loans. Financial aid counselors are very knowledgeable and can help you with any questions you may have about these funding options.