California EMT Programs

Find a EMT / Paramedic Program in California Today


Check current course listings for campus-based and online EMT Programs available for California students.

New graduates celebrate with their families at their nursing commencement ceremony.

How to Become an EMT-Paramedic in California and EMT-Paramedic Programs in California

"How to become an EMT-Paramedic in California" is a challenging and rewarding question to ask. EMT-paramedic programs in California provide some of the highest medical standards of any in the country. To become a fully-fledged paramedic in the state, you will have to take an approved course and apply for certification within two years after that completion. Approved training programs in California have historically tended to be longer than those in other states thanks to the high standards of conduct and professionalism required. However, the growing need for paramedics -- expected to see a 33% to 40% growth in California until 2020 -- has shortened some programs.

Most approved California EMT programs will be offered at a community college or satellite of the University of California system. During such a program, a candidate will learn life-saving medical skills, including CPR. As in most other states, EMTs are considered emergency first responders and will be expected to retain CPR skills and certification alongside their EMT certification. To be eligible for a paramedic license, candidates will complete over 1,100 hours of field training in hospital and clinical training and a field internship. At this point, they become eligible to take the NREMT California written and practical examinations, which must be completed with high marks.

The California EMT Authority uses a nationwide exam provided by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, so you will be able to study for it even if you are not a California resident at the time you seek your license. In-state EMTs will pay $250 to become licensed; out-of-state licensees will pay a slightly higher fee. Candidates must pass all of California's licensing tests and standards after no more than three retries. Once they obtain licensure, they become eligible to serve as a paramedic in the state of California. In California, EMTs and ambulance drivers are considered to be separate occupational categories that do not overlap.

In California, paramedics receive a rate of compensation higher than their counterparts in most other states. The median income for an EMT in California is $31,000. Ambulance drivers, who typically serve while handling their licensure requirements, make a mean salary of about $26,000. Starting salary for a California paramedic tends to be close to the median salary. In order to advance to higher levels of compensation, the paramedic will have to gain tenure by maintaining their licensure and professional standards. Strict continuing education requirements are involved. EMTs who serve in major metropolitan areas may also receive higher pay and a bonus on the basis of calls responded to.


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California Board of Registered Nursing
1625 North Market Boulevard, Suite N-217
Sacramento, CA 95834-1924
Phone: (916) 322-3350
Fax: (916) 574-8637

California Board of Vocational Nurse and Psychiatric Technicians
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 205
Sacramento, CA 95833
Phone: (916) 263-7800
Fax: (916) 263-7859

California Nurses Association

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