Becoming a paramedic is a considerably long process, but a very rewarding one. In involves a lot of hands-on training as well as hours of class work and in-depth medical study. If you're thinking of becoming a paramedic, here is a brief breakdown of what it takes.

Step One: Do Your Research
Before you even start signing up for classes, it's important that you do a good bit of research so that you know exactly what you'll be getting into. Be aware that paramedics have a very stressful job that involves a lot of physical and mental work. You have to learn to think quickly and efficiently under extreme circumstances. Most community colleges offer EMT-Paramedic programs. Visit your local community college and talk to one of the EMT instructors to find out what being a paramedic is really like.

EMT Basic Training
Emergency Medical Technician training is the first thing you have to go through. It requires about 120 to 150 hours to complete. Among other things, you learn to assess a patient's medical condition, respond to injured people and provide basic medical aid. It's recommended that you get a year's worth of field experience as an EMT before you go into paramedic training.

Paramedic Training
Paramedics require about 1,200 to 1,800 hours of hands-on training. Paramedic training teaches you, among other things, to give injections and medication on site, deal with gunshot wounds, fractures and emergency childbirths, and how to administer IV injections. You'll have to take in-depth anatomy and physiology classes and learn to operate complex medical machinery. EMT-Paramedic certificates are usually given at many community colleges, and an Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Care takes about two years to complete.

Exam Certification
All paramedics must pass either the state exam or the National Registry of Emergency Technicians exam, depending on the state where they live. New EMT training programs allow for online certification. Certification must be renewed every two years, so paramedics have to continuously be updating their education, as new classes become required.

The Life of a Paramedic
Unstructured, stressful environments and situations are where paramedics to their job. It certainly isn't for everyone. You have to be emotionally and psychologically fit as well as physically in shape. Hours range from 45 to 60 per week.