Paramedics to RN programs

Must know facts about Paramedics to RN programs
After the hectic work of being a paramedic/ Emergency Medical Technician (EMT); the situation where everybody expects you perform the best and save the lives of their loved ones, it could be time you are thinking of changing careers. As a Paramedic, you have certainly faced the worst traumatic situations- fire, tragic accidents, domestic violence, natural catastrophes, death and many more. With all this tucked under your eyebrows, you are well weaned to start off in another health care career as a licensed RN.

Switching from Paramedic to RN

Normally, when you switch from a paramedic to a RN, you will be awarded an Associate of Science in Nursing. Paramedics wishing to become RNs can take either of the two study paths available:

i)        EMT to RN bridging program

The study is referred to as a bridging program as you already have the basics of what a RN does.  The bridging, as the name suggest, is a simplified version of the usual Nursing degree program. The only difference between the paramedics and RNs is that they never have the opportunity to follow-up on their patient’s recovery progress. The mandate ends at the hospitals’ emergency centre reception.

ii)      Traditional nursing school

You may also choose to start the nursing degree from the lowest point like you have never set foot on a medical class. However, not many students take this route as it is seen as unnecessary repetition. If you wish to have a strong solid foundation, this could be the way to go. But that does not mean that if you took the bridging option, you will be half-baked-it is just a matter of personal preferences.

Course duration to become a RN from a Paramedic

In advancing from an emergency medical technician to RN via the bridging program, you will have to undertake two years of study. By the end of this period, you will be in a position to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) test. Upon passing this test, you will be given the license to practice as a Registered Nurse.

If you take the other option of starting from the bottom, it will take you a longer time; usually 3 to 4 years to earn your ASN degree

What are the Prerequisites of the Paramedic to RN programs?

The first requirement you need in order to enroll for a paramedic to RN program is your paramedic license. This will be proof that you have prior medical experience and knowledge of the vital roles of a RN. In addition, you will have to produce your high school diploma.

In rare instances, the school enrolling you may require you to have attained a minimum of GPA 2.5 during your EMT training. Others still, ask for ACT and SAT achievements as a pre-evaluation curtail.

Paramedics are busy people- what study options do I have

As a paramedic, you will have little or no time to attend a typical daytime classroom lesson. In this case, many paramedics to RNs programs are being offered in a flexible- easy to study way. Many schools offer the bridging course as online learning packages. This gives you space to do your day work and study whenever you have the time.

Only in few cases will be required to attend practical lessons onsite. On the other hand, you may apply for a study leave and enroll for a crush full time nursing program.

What is the major course work in the Bridging programs?

As there is no much of a difference between these two medical professions, the course work is quite easy. The most important aspect of training a paramedic to a practitioner who will be confined in a hospital setting is long-term patient care.  Paramedics must learn how to establish good patient-nurse relationships, which has been shown to aid in the healing process.

This hence, translates to too much of fundamental nursing courses like:

  • Advanced patient care concepts

Since you will spend most of the time with patients contrary to the Emergency response, you will have to learn give long-term care to patients. This includes taking daily tasks like monitoring patients’ records, deciding on care plans, advising on post-treatment patient care, nutrition and other forms of therapies, hospital rounds etc. As a RN, you will also be taught on how to educate the public on emerging health issues.

  • Psychology and Psychiatry

As part of the healing process, Registered Nurses must have a quick understanding of the psychology of patients. In this case, patient psychology must be taught as a core and fundamental course in the transition from paramedics to RNs.

  • Critical Childcare nursing

RNs have immense mandate of pediatric and neonatal care. They sometimes serve as midwives and as such, they must have the details of pediatric nursing. This is not usually taught during paramedic training. However, you will not be required to take many pediatric lessons unless you want to specialize in that medical line.

  • Special patient Nutrition

This is a vital area where paramedics need to be trained on. Normally, paramedics do not get to a point where sustained diet plans for patients are required. But in a hospital setting, RNs must have the knowledge to devise the most beneficial nutritional needs for patients during and after hospital discharge. Nutrition lessons are usually taken during the first semester of the Bridging program

  • Medical ethics

This is required for every medical staff. Keeping private and confidential of all patients’ facts, records information is one of the basic elements of being a trusted RN. You will be taught the code of medical ethics and the laws that govern patients’ rights and entitlements.

  • Microbiology

AS opposed to outdoor or mobile medical services of the paramedics, RNs are required to learn all disease causing agents. In this case, you will have to have in-depth studies of bacteriology, virology, fungi and other disease causing microorganisms. You will have to master how all these microorganisms are involved in the disease process and how to counter them.

  • Anatomy and physiology

The two courses are vital in the nursing career and their importance cannot be overemphasized. You will never be a qualified nurse if you cannot master the location of major tissues and organs.

  • Advanced laboratory methods

Registered Nurses are expected to undertake major clinical and testing procedures. As such, you will need to be trained in handling and operating laboratory equipment and the practice of safe lab methods.

  • Healthcare administration

RNs are usually given the mandate to head major departments in the hospital setting. In this case, you must undergo rigorous healthcare administrative training to gain managerial and administrative skills. These skills will help you become a senior or head nurse

Where will my Associate of science in nursing degree take me?

After completion of studies and getting the license of a RN, you will have great career opportunities in major hospitals. Many RNs also find work in hospice settings and home-care programs in addition to being employed directly in physicians’ offices.

Other RNs will want to work as occupational nurses dealing with a particular cluster of occupation-related ailments.

Salary comparison between paramedics and RNs

The major reason why paramedics shift from their careers to become fully recognized healthcare professional is the earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, paramedics have the potential of earning twice their salary when they become RNs. It is this that will be the number one reason of switching from an emergency medical technician to a registered nurse.

While emergency medical technicians earn from $19000 to $50000, Registered nurses take home a whooping $45000 to $95000. This clearly indicates the huge desire for transition from the former to the latter.

List of schools that offer paramedic to RN programs

  School Physical address Web address
1 Clark State Community college 570 East Leffel Lane
Springfield, Ohio
2 Virginia college 400 Chase Park South
Birmingham, AL
3 Trinity Valley Community College 800 W Highway 243 Kaufman, TX


4 The college network 3815 River Crossing Pkwy, IN
5 Kaplan University 550 West Van Buren Street, Chicago, IL


The examples above are just a tip of the iceberg. For more information on schools within your locality that offer EMT to RN transition programs, the local Nursing board could help you locate.

Potential RN students may also wish to locate schools that will have flexible learning modes especially if they do not plan to quit their current paramedic jobs.  Making a great choice will help you have a smooth transition to the course of your desire. Above all, the right choice comes with in depth research and wise consultations

While both stressful and rewarding, the job of a paramedic has career advancement opportunities similar to those in any other medical field. Having a Registered Nurse (RN) license can position you to earn more money and land prime jobs in your field, with average starting salaries nearly $20,000 above the average paramedic’s salary. And with several online paramedic to RN programs, you can find a degree program that fits within your busy schedule.

Moving from Paramedic to RN

In addition to earning more, an RN’s hours can be much more desirable than a paramedic’s. Statistics show that a paramedic averages only eight years on the job, with burnout very common in the field. Years of seeing such trauma can take a toll on even the most professional paramedic, prompting them to seek out other career paths after only a few years on the job.

The problem for many paramedics, however, is time. How can you squeeze classroom learning into an already hectic schedule? Thankfully, several online paramedic to RN programs exist that are both convenient and inexpensive. You can either choose a local hybrid that combines both classroom and online learning or a distance learning program that is exclusively web-based.

Great Colleges Locally and Far Away

Excelsior College has a paramedic to RN program that provides distance learning. The program uses assessments to determine a nurse’s level of knowledge in various areas of their chosen field. Excelsior specializes in providing education to working adults, billing itself as a leader in online education and distance learning. The school can even work with you to customize your learning experience to fit your needs and schedule. Headquartered in Albany, New York, the courses can be taken from anywhere in the country, but check with your state licensing board before beginning any distance learning program to make sure your degree will be accepted.

If you live in Virginia, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College offers an AAS degree in nursing to in-state residents currently holding a paramedic license. You will receive eight credits toward your 69-credit degree and the program spans four semesters. In addition to online courses, you’ll be required to purchase CDs containing your course materials. You will also have to perform clinicals at a local hospital, which will be approved by a faculty member of the school.

The Community College of Baltimore County has a paramedic to RN bridge program that can be completed online. This program is designed for paramedics with a minimum of two years of hands-on experience in the field. This is a hybrid online and classroom experience available only on CCBC’s Catonsville campus in Baltimore, Maryland, but the program is open to anyone with a valid Maryland paramedic license.

Clark State Community College also has a program for local residents. Laboratory and clinical portions of the program must be completed on Clark State’s campus, which is located in Springfield, Ohio. The courses can be completed online, however, allowing the Ohio resident to commute when necessary and do the rest from home.

If you live in Kansas, Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas has a hybrid program for registered EMT-Ps. Upon enrollment, you’ll be given thirty days to choose from during which to complete the clinical portion of the program at the Hutchinson campus. Of those dates, you’ll pick ten to twelve days that work best for you. The program takes two years to complete.

Bridging the Gap

Whether you’re planning to complete your training online or on a campus near you, it’s important to look for a bridge program designed to help paramedics become RNs. You’ll get credit for the license you already have, allowing you to receive your degree in less time at with less expense than if you were planning to go directly to Registered Nurse status.

Most nursing programs will require hands-on experience, so look for an online program that lets you complete your clinical work at a location convenient to you. Even distance learning programs will often allow you to do your work in a hospital in your hometown, as long as that hospital is located close to you.

Thanks to technology, a large number of online paramedic to RN programs are now available to help you earn your RN license in a small amount of time. Once you’ve received your RN, you’ll be ready to move on to the next phase of your career and work better hours while earning more money.