How to Become a Critical Care Paramedic

Critical care paramedics play a pivotal role in delivering advanced medical care in high-stakes situations, from cardiac emergencies to trauma cases. Their specialized skills and training make them equipped to handle complex medical emergencies with precision and expertise.

Becoming a critical care paramedic might be the right path for you if you’re passionate about making a difference in people’s lives during these critical moments. This process entails multiple steps, from becoming an EMT to completing your CCP-C certification. In this blog, we’ll explore each step.

What is a Critical Care Paramedic

A critical care paramedic is a highly skilled emergency medical services (EMS) professional trained to provide advanced medical care to critically ill or injured patients. They complete additional training and certifications that teach them and ensure they can handle a diverse range of medical emergencies, such as cardiac arrests, trauma cases, and respiratory distress.

Unlike traditional paramedics, critical care paramedics possess an expanded scope of practice and are authorized to perform complex procedures, administer advanced medications, and provide intensive care during transport to a medical facility.

How Do You Become a Critical Care Paramedic?

Becoming a critical care paramedic requires multiple steps and a long-term time commitment. These steps involve:

Complete Paramedic Course Prerequisites

Before you can begin your journey in EMS, you’ll need to complete any prerequisites your program offers. Most programs require you to have your high school diploma or GED and a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, although some courses may include the latter in the course.

Become an EMT

After completing the necessary prerequisites, you can begin your journey to becoming a critical care paramedic. It starts with becoming an EMT, which entails between six months to a year of training and schooling. During this phase of the process, you’ll gain a foundational understanding of basic medical knowledge, such as anatomy and physiology.

Once you complete your program, you must pass exams through your state’s EMT certifying agency or the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Once you pass, you can get your license and begin working as an EMT.

Become a Paramedic

To become a paramedic, you typically need to have hands-on working experience as an EMT. These requirements can vary from one program to the next. When you’ve met your program’s prerequisites, you can start your schooling to become a paramedic.

During this phase, you’ll deepen your medical knowledge and learn more advanced medical skills like endotracheal intubation. Once you complete your program, you can test out with a final exam to get your license.

Gain Hands-On Experience

Once you become a paramedic, you’re one step closer to your critical care certification. However, before you can take the critical care paramedic course, you’ll likely need to gain hands-on experience as a traditional paramedic.

The time requirement varies from program to program, but it isn’t uncommon for programs to require a minimum of one year of experience as a paramedic.

Pursue Your Critical Care Paramedic Certification

After completing your prerequisites, becoming an EMT and a paramedic, and gaining hands-on experience, you can start the course to obtain your critical care certification (CCP-C).

This course teaches you about the critical care field, hospital environments, ventilators, 12-lead ECG interpretation, surgical airways, and more. Once you complete it, take the certification exam to get your critical care paramedic certification.

The Board for Critical Care Transport Paramedic Certification offers these certifications. Paramedics must complete an exam covering applicable topics. You’ll officially be a critical care paramedic when you pass the exam!

Prepare for Your Exams With Pocket Prep

Becoming a critical care paramedic is a lengthy process that can take years, but it’s well worth the time and effort for many. Whether you’re in the first phase of the process, working toward becoming an EMT, or prepping for your paramedic exam, we’re here to help.

Our test prep is here to help you test your knowledge and prepare you for the questions and prompts you might encounter on your exam. From the Question of the Day that keeps you on your toes to the Weakest Subject Quiz that helps you strengthen your weak points, these tests are designed to help you pass your exams with flying colors!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Become a Critical Care Paramedic?

It takes anywhere from six months to two years to become a paramedic, but to become a critical care paramedic, you must complete additional certifications. Generally, several years of experience as a paramedic is necessary to begin these certifications, so it can take three to five years to become a critical care paramedic.

What is the Difference Between a Paramedic and a Critical Care Paramedic?

The difference between a paramedic and a critical care paramedic is the level of training. Critical care paramedics have more advanced training in handling patients in critical condition, which allows them to perform interfacility transports with very ill patients.

Do Critical Care Paramedics Make More Than Paramedics?

Yes. The average critical care paramedic salary in the United States is $85,334, while the average salary is approximately $67,577.