EMS Frequently Asked Questions


What is an EMT?

An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is an educated, skilled, and licensed health care worker trained in non-invasive life support techniques.

EMTs are usually dispatched by 911 operators to medical emergencies such as car crashes, childbirth, violent traumas, heart attacks and accidents. After arriving on scene, EMTs work with other first responders, such as fire fighters and police, to stabilize and transport patients to hospitals best equipped to treat them.

EMTs may work for private ambulance services, fire departments, hospitals or other rescue services. Career opportunities may also exist in areas like wilderness EMS, special operations, special events, hazardous materials, industrial safety, quality management and other fields. An EMT must pass a certification examination have a license.

What is a Paramedic?

A paramedic (NRP) is a more extensively educated, skilled, and licensed health care professional. Paramedics, knowledgeable in topics such as anatomy and physiology, cardiology, pharmacology, and medical procedures, provide advanced emergency care. Paramedics administer medications, start intravenous lines, provide advanced airway management, and resuscitate and support patients with significant problems such as heart attack and trauma.

The majority of paramedics are employed by a municipal emergency medical service such as an ambulance service or fire department.

A paramedic must possess a certificate or associate degree from an accredited educational program, pass certification examinations, and have a license.

Current information about employment prospects and earnings for EMTs and paramedics can be found in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

For additional information about the profession, visit the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

Will being an EMT help me to become a Paramedic?

EMT is the beginning level of emergency medical services licensure. It is not necessary to be an EMT prior to enrolling in paramedic school. However, experience as an EMT may reinforce the desire to work in this demanding healthcare field and you will begin paramedic school with a stronger base of BLS skills and patient assessment abilities. However, being an EMT is not essential to success in a paramedic program.

Do EMTs and Paramedics have a license?

All EMS providers are licensed. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) grants licensure to EMS providers with National Registry Certification.

Alabama Department of Public Health EMS License Information

What physical capabilities are required of emergency medical responders?

The CCC EMS Program has adopted a list of “Essential Functions” which delineates the physical, behavioral, and cognitive abilities deemed necessary to complete the EMT and/or paramedic curriculum and to competently perform as an emergency services provider upon graduation.

EMS Essential Functions

What professional expectations are required of emergency medical responders?

When choosing a profession, an individual must be willing to assume professional behavior inherent to that profession. The CCC EMS program demands academic integrity and moral, ethical, and professional behavior in the classroom and the clinical setting. Professional conduct includes:

  • Behavior and language that demonstrates respects for all persons
  • Treating all persons equally without regard to religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, beliefs, disability, or cultural differences
  • Keeping all patient, clinical facility, and student information confidential.
  • Dressing appropriately.
  • Refraining from disorderly conduct, horseplay, and/or sexual harassment. Not engaging in illegal or unethical acts.
  • Abiding by the CCC tobacco-free policy while in uniform.
  • Being prompt and prepared for all learning experiences.
When does EMT begin?

Classes for an EMT certificate are offered every semester. Students must first apply to Calhoun Community College and be unconditionally accepted. It is recommended all students meet with an advisor before registering for classes.

What classes do I need to take for EMT?

See EMT Program Information

How much will it cost to complete the EMT program?

A breakdown of estimated costs are found in the EMT Program Information Document. The following costs are approximations and your expenses will depend on which classes are needed and other variables:

  • Tuition & Fees=$1810
  • Textbooks & Testing=$280
  • Uniforms & Equipment=$120
  • Clinical Requirements (Background Check, Drug Screen, Physical)=$375
What happens when I finish the semester?

Students who successfully complete the EMT program are eligible to sit for the National Registry of EMT’s (NREMT) examination. This exam is required for any person seeking state licensure as an EMT. The examination fee is paid to the NREMT. An orientation to the application process and testing mechanisms are provided as part of the EMT course.

When does paramedic begin?

The paramedic program enrolls a new class of students every summer into the 3-semester curriculum plan.

See Parametic Program Information for program options.

What are “clinicals”?

During clinical courses the student works at agencies with EMS personnel such as an ambulance service, a fire department, or emergency department. The student is assigned to licensed personal for the opportunity to observe and put into practice the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and laboratory setting. Clinicals may take place during the day or evening, during the week or on weekends and holidays. Faculty try to arrange experiences at times convenient to the student. Generally, assignments are in the student’s home community.

Prior to assignment to a clinical facility a student must undergo a medical examination and demonstrate immunity to specified communicable diseases, submit to a background check and drug screening, purchase medical malpractice insurance, and have completed a healthcare provider CPR course.

EMT students are assigned to 40 hours of clinicals. Additional experiences cannot be scheduled. Paramedic students complete approximately 550 hours and additional as needed to accrue required competencies.

EMS students also participate in community service projects such as teaching hands-off CPR.

How many students are admitted to the paramedic program each year?

Forty new or returning students can be enrolled each summer.

How many semesters are there in the paramedic program?

After all pre-requisite coursework has been completed, the program is 3 consecutive semesters in length. Some general education courses are sequenced in the curriculum plan. Students may elect to take the general education classes in any order or complete some or all prior to enrollment in the program. (Except for BIO 201 Human Anatomy and Physiology, which must be completed prior to starting the program.)

Three semesters are required even when all general education coursework is completed prior to enrollment.

Can I start the paramedic program in the fall or spring semester?
No. A new class of students begins each summer. The three semesters of sequential EMT / paramedic courses build on the knowledge gained in the previous semester. Students are registered for paramedic courses by program faculty.
What happens when I finish the 3 semesters?

Students who successfully complete the paramedic program are eligible to sit for the National Registry of Paramedics (NREMT) examination. This exam is required for any person seeking state licensure. The examination fee is paid to the NREMT. An orientation to the application process and testing mechanisms are provided as part of the paramedic program.

What are the admission requirements of the paramedic program?

All applicants to the paramedic program must minimally:

  • Meet all admission requirements of Calhoun Community College
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or
  • Apply to the paramedic program online and submit an electronic copy of their Calhoun Community College Student ID
  • Applicants must have completed their EMT training at a regionally accredited institution and/or CAAHEP accredited EMS program.
  • Must have successfully completed BIO 201 Human Anatomy & Physiology

Meeting minimum admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance. The number of students enrolled in the paramedic program is limited and the application process is competitive. Applications are evaluated by the EMS Admissions Committee and assigned a score based solely on the defined point system.

How do I apply to the CCC paramedic program?
  • An online application is open January 1- April 1 each year.
  • At least one month before applying to the paramedic program, submit a Calhoun Community College Application for Admission and request that transcripts from all previously attended institutions are sent to CCC.
  • Make certain you have electronic copies of your CCC Student ID and, if you are an EMT, your Alabama State EMS License and NREMT certification before you begin the online application.
What if I took some or all of the general education classes at another college?

At least one month prior to application to the paramedic, you should apply for general admission to CCC and under intended academic program list “Emergency Medical Services”. Have your transcripts from all other colleges you have attended sent to the CCC Office of Admissions and Records immediately. Admissions and Records will evaluate your previous college work to determine which courses fulfill the paramedic degree requirements. This may take several weeks so it is important to have transcripts from other colleges forwarded promptly.

Note: Only the CCC Office of Admissions and Records may determine if coursework transferred from other institutions meets the general education requirements for the paramedic degree. DO NOT SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS FROM OTHER INSTITUTIONS WITH YOUR PARAMEDIC APPLICATION.

How do I know if coursework taken at another college with transfer?

The only way to know if classes taken at another institution will transfer and apply to a paramedic degree is to have your transcripts evaluated by the CCC Office of Admissions and Records. A minimum of four (4) weeks should be allowed for the evaluation of transfer credit.

What if some of my transfer credit is from Advanced Placement (AP) or CLEP?

Advanced Placement courses and CLEP credit must first be accepted in transfer by the CCC Office of Admissions and Records. Paramedic application points for AP and CLEP credit are assigned by the Admissions Committee by averaging the letter grades obtained in other completed general education courses.

What is the minimum GPA I must have to be admitted to the paramedic program?

Paramedic applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or greater. Applicants are awarded points based on the grades obtained in the required general education courses for a certificate or degree in paramedic which have been successfully completed.

What about the Information Sessions?

At least three information sessions are held periodically throughout the year to provide individuals interested in the program the opportunity to learn more details and ask questions. Dates and times of upcoming sessions are posted on the EMS Program web page. Applicants who attend an information meeting receive application points. Attendance at only ONE session is needed. You do not need to pre-register to attend a meeting.

If you are unable to attend an information session because of distance or other hardship, please contact the program director regarding the application points.

When will I be notified if I’ve been accepted into the paramedic program?

Each application is evaluated including the verification of transcripts, certification, and licensure. Final decisions are made in April and all applicants will receive notification via their Calhoun email address in late April.

Is there a waiting list for the paramedic program?

No. If you are not accepted into the program and remain interested, you must reapply the following year.

What expenses are involved in the Paramedic Program?

Approximate costs:

  • Tuition & Fees (incl. all general education courses needed for AAS degree)=$9310
  • Textbooks & Testing=$705
  • Uniforms & Equipment=$120
  • Clinical Requirements (Background Check, Drug Screen, Physical)=$375
Do I need a background check, a physical examination, drug testing, or to have taken CPR to apply to the paramedic program?

No. None of the above are required to apply to the paramedic program. However, all are needed once you are enrolled to comply with the requirements of our clinical facilities. Detailed information regarding background checks and the drug and alcohol screen is provided at program orientation. If admitted to the Paramedic Program, the date of your orientation will be included in admission email.

If a background check or a confirmed positive drug screen renders a student ineligible to participate in clinical experiences, they will be dismissed from the EMS program.

What kind of things in a background check keep a student from doing clinicals?

CCC Health Science students are accepted to participate in a clinical rotation if their background check reveals:

  • No history of criminal offenses
  • Misdemeanors for expired or failure to obtain a hunting or fishing license
  • Misdemeanors for traffic or moving violations (excluding DUI)
  • Any single misdemeanor over 2 years old

Students are not be allowed to attend clinical rotations if their background check reveals:

  • Any misdemeanor less than 2 years old that is related to crimes against the person (such as assault and battery), crimes based on dishonesty or untruthfulness (such as theft or embezzlement), or drug and other substance abuse related crimes.
  • A felony conviction less than 5 years old.
  • A felony conviction that is a crime against a person such as battery or assault.

A student will be considered for clinical rotations on a case-by-case basis if their background check reveals:

  • Any felony that is crimes based on dishonesty or untruthfulness (such as theft or embezzlement) or drug and other substance abuse related crimes AND more than 5 years old (all decisions made by the review committee are final and may not be appealed.)
  • Multiple misdemeanors regardless of length of time since offense (all decisions made by the review committee are final and may not be appealed).”
Can I get the drug screen at my doctor’s office?

No, the drug screening & background check must be performed by approved College vendors.

What is involved in the medical examination?

A physician or nurse practitioner (of your choice) must certify that you meet the EMS Program Essential Functions. Proof must be submitted that you have been immunized or are immune to measles, mumps, and chicken pox and free from tuberculosis. Students will be required to have an influenza vaccine. Students are encouraged to be immunized against Hepatitis B and must have a current tetanus vaccine.

If I had chicken pox as a child, is that proof of immunity?

No. Students must submit a physician vaccination record or a blood titer demonstrating immunity to chicken pox, mumps, and measles.

What if I have started, but not completed, all three injections for Hepatitis B immunization?

You will still be eligible for clinicals but will need to sign a waiver acknowledging your risk.

Will I be able to work and attend the paramedic program?

EMS programs requires commitment. Successful students report studying approx. two hours for each contact hour of lecture classes per week. Sound study skills and time management are critical to achievement in EMS programs. Attendance is required for classes and clinical experiences. See the CCC Catalog for Attendance Policies.

Are paramedic classes at CCC offered by distance education or in the evenings?

All paramedic classes are scheduled during daytime hours, Mondays through Thursdays on the Decatur campus only. There are no distance learning / online paramedic classes.

Is the paramedic program accredited?

The CCC Paramedic Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway 19 North Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763
727-210-2354 (fax)

Committee on Accreditation of Education Programs for the EMS Professions
8301 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 111-312
Rowlett, TX 75088
214-703-8992 (fax)

How can I find out more?

If you have a question not answered in this FAQ, contact any of the EMS faculty or staff. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have!