Paramedic Program

Since its inception in 1984, this nationally accredited paramedic program has graduated over 700 paramedics who work and teach throughout the United States. We boast a nationally recognized faculty and a wide range of clinical training sites within a major medical teaching university. Our affiliation with the medical school provides unique teaching opportunities such as the anatomy lab, medical library, and unlimited medical educational resources.

What is a paramedic?


A paramedic is the highest level of prehospital provider and functions as the eyes and ears of an emergency physician. Historically, paramedics work on ambulances or first response emergency vehicles, but the scope is rapidly expanding to the hospitals, medical offices, industry and sports professions. Specialty areas such as helicopter and fixed wing medical transports, off-shore drilling platforms, cruise ship medical departments and professional sports teams are just a few examples of the wide variety of employment opportunities for paramedics. The most recent expansion of the paramedic role is that of the hospital emergency department paramedic. In this case, specialized training allows the paramedic to assist the physician in the emergency department and intensive care units, thereby augmenting the critical care capabilities of these departments.

Learning Objectives

Our paramedic program is a certificate program approximately fourteen months long and follows the 1998 EMT-Paramedic National Standard Curriculum. The program consists of approximately 1200 classroom hours during which students study many areas of medicine including:

  • Trauma
  • Neonatology
  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Operations
  • Hazardous materials
  • Anatomy & physiology
  • Illness and injury prevention
  • Medical/legal issues
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical emergencies
  • Patient assessment

Clinical Rotations

Paramedic students also spend approximately 300 hours in a series of clinical rotations in the hospital setting where emergency procedures are practiced and critical thinking skills are applied to real patients. Clinical rotations offer volume and specificity. The paramedic can see a large number of patients in the hospital setting; this helps in building up a "library" of patient care experiences to draw upon in clinical decision making. Clinical Rotations are done at University Hospital (the regional trauma center at SUNY Upstate Medical University) and other local hospitals. Clinical rotations include the emergency department, operating suite, pediatric emergency department and intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, cardiac catherization lab, labor and delivery, Central New York Poison Control Center, and psychiatric units. Students also study anatomy and physiology through participation in cadaver labs.

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Field Work

Students also complete approximately 300 hours of internship working in the field under the preceptorship of experienced paramedics and apply classroom and clinical learning skills to real patients. This allows the student the opportunity to integrate all of the didactic, psychomotor skills and clinical instruction in treating real patients in the prehospital environment. Field Rotations take place primarily at Rural Metro Medical Services in Syracuse and North Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps in North Syracuse. Other local agencies also participate in the field internship.

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

Finally, after graduating, paramedics take part in continuing medical education as a part of lifelong learning. Continuing education is especially important because of the continually changing dynamics and evolution of emergency medicine. Examples of continuing education include conferences and seminars, quality-improvement reviews, recertification programs, internet based learning and case presentations. A good paramedic never stops learning.

Entrance Requirements

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • College transcripts if available
  • 18 years old
  • Current EMT-Basic certification
  • Experience working in the prehospital care environment
  • Completion of an application form
  • Submission of 3 letters of recommendation
  • A successful interview
  • Passing a written and practical examination

Graduation Requirements

To successfully complete the paramedic program students must demonstrate competency in all course knowledge and proficiency in all clinical skills. In addition they must exhibit professionalism, conscientiousness, and a genuine interest in learning. The program medical director will verify that students have demonstrated these competencies.

Career Opportunities

Job opportunities are plentiful within fire departments, private ambulance services, rescue organizations and industry. Job placement is 100%.