One of the most challenging yet thrilling medical careers has to be paramedics. Often attending to emergencies, they are a welcome sight when all hope is about to be lost.
Many felons will have had their career ambitions derailed by convictions. Especially if they were arrested when young. It will likely have interfered with their education and training.
This can be a great career option for those with the right aptitude. But can a felon become a paramedic?
Paramedics attend to all manner of medical emergencies. They administer lifesaving procedures and medications. They then safely and quickly transport the patient to medical facilities for further diagnosis and care.
It is a tough job with many responsibilities. But highly rewarding given the lives that can be saved and comfort provided.
Let’s first consider what makes this job so appealing.
Why Become a Paramedic?
As said, it can be a very rewarding career. Knowing that the work you do saves lives counts for much.
While it is a common result in many medical careers, the evidence is much clearer here. You see firsthand how having the right knowledge and equipment can make a difference between life and death.
There are constant emergencies that crop up. It makes for interesting and steady work. From helping an asthma sufferer to dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake you never know what will happen.
Those that complete training rarely have any trouble finding a job. More so at a time when aging populations are steadily growing.
It can also be a gateway to more advanced medical careers like nursing. Many nurses and doctors have had a background in paramedics. It is what reinforced their commitment to delve deeper into the medical profession.
The short training time is also appreciated. Paramedic courses can vary, requiring 1,200-1,800 hours in training. In some states, you can be qualified and working within 6-12 months.
For felons that have been out of the job market for long, this can be a good option. They can quickly earn their license and start earning quickly.
Work opportunities for paramedics can be found in a variety of places. This can include hospitals, cruise ships, and fire stations.
If you want to work on the road, you will need to earn the required driver’s license. Some states will require an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) certification.
With an average base salary of just under $38,000, it also makes for a decent living. Some states, like Washington and Hawaii, have median salaries well above $50,000.
So what is needed to become a paramedic?
Requirements to Become a Paramedic
EMT-B training is the minimum requirement for becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT). This training can take 120-150 hours to complete. Paramedic training is more advanced and can take up to 2 years to complete.
There are many skills that paramedics learn in the course of their training. This can include:
- Administering injections and IV fluids
- Perform advanced respiratory procedures
- Delivering babies
- Advanced pediatric life support
- Supporting patients suffering from heart attacks
- Treating wounds
It features a mix of lectures, clinical internships, and hands-on skills training.
To become a paramedic, one must meet the eligibility standards for the paramedic course. They must then complete the course.
They thereafter have to pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. And, the National Registry Paramedic cognitive exam.
Note that though 46 out of 50 states accept this certification, each state has its licensing standards.
You must be physically fit for this training and job. Paramedic work is physically demanding so must demonstrate strength and flexibility.
Besides meeting the academic and physical requirements, you will also need to have other soft skills. Being compassionate, cool under pressure, and quick thinking helps.
You also need to have good communication skills to get information out of patients. And have them cooperate with your efforts. Communication is also key when handing over patients at medical facilities for further treatment.
Most EMT courses do not require any medical experience. To become a paramedic, you must however qualify as an EMT. And have a minimum of 6 months’ work experience.
Some schools may have academic and medical requirements to meet. Do check on this when applying.
If a felon meets the criteria, can they become a paramedic?
Challenges Felons Face to Become Paramedics
Because each state has its own licensing standards, you will need to make inquiries. Some crimes may disqualify a person from becoming a paramedic.
In many states, violent offenses like rape and murder are often disqualified. Some may also have concerns with issuing licenses to those with drug convictions. This is because paramedics do at times have access to controlled substances.
The NREMT board may also deny certification to certain felons. This can include those convicted of:
- Child abuse
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Property crimes
- Assault with a deadly weapon
However, they do make evaluations on a case-to-case basis. Factors such as time elapsed since conviction and release and severity may be considered.
It is advisable to consult with your school before enrolling in a paramedic course. They can advise you on your chances of qualifying for this job.
Be forthcoming with the details of your criminal conviction. You can also consult the state licensing board. Review state guidelines on this as well.
Becoming a paramedic can be an amazing career choice. Besides the financial benefits, it can be very personally rewarding.
More so for a felon whose self-worth has taken a beating. Seeing the appreciation of people whose lives or loved ones you have saved is a great feeling.
The uniform and the reasonability it carries helps make you a respected member of the community. Someone others can count on for help when needed.
It can however be physically and emotionally taxing. Only consider this if you have a true passion for helping others. And the right academic aptitude and personality traits.
It is a tough job, but one that some find exciting and rewarding. If you are a felon looking to break into this field, seek advice from paramedic training schools and your state licensing board.
If you find it too difficult, consider other medical professions with less stringent requirements.