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Heartland Community College

Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (Certificate)

This certificate is a 37-credit hour, three-semester program, inclusive of general education course(s), EMT courses, and clinical and field experiences.

Students completing the Heartland Community College Paramedic Program are eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) paramedic certification examination. 

National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification serves as a validation of your basic competencies in emergency medical services (EMS). However, it’s essential to understand that NREMT certification alone does not grant you a license to practice in any state.

  1. NREMT Certification:
    • The NREMT was established to create a standardized training and certification process across the United States. If you pass the NREMT exam and become certified, you demonstrate that you’ve met the minimum competencies required for EMS practice.
    • It’s a national certification, but it doesn’t automatically allow you to work in any state.
  2. State Licensure:
    • To work as an EMS professional in a specific state, you must obtain a state license from the Office of EMS in that state.
    • Each state has its own requirements, regulations, and licensing process.
    • The state license is what legally permits you to practice within that state’s boundaries.
  3. Reciprocity:
    • While NREMT certification doesn’t directly grant you the right to work anywhere, it does facilitate reciprocity in many states.
    • Approximately 40 states recognize NREMT certification and allow for reciprocity.
    • However, even in these states, you may need to fulfill additional requirements (such as continuing education or state-specific exams) to meet their standards.

In summary, NREMT certification provides a foundation, but you’ll still need to obtain a state license to practice as an EMS professional in a specific state. Always check with the state EMS office where you plan to work for accurate and up-to-date information on licensure requirements.  

Enrollment Requirements

To register for the EMT-245 Paramedic I, the first course in the program sequence, students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Age 17 or older*
  • High school diploma or equivalent**
  • Show proof of an active Illinois EMT-Basic or EMT-Intermediate license
  • Completion of BIOL 121 with a "C" or higher OR concurrent enrollment
  • OR completion of BIOL 181 & BIOL 182 with a "C" or higher or be currently enrolled
  • OR completion of BIOL 181 with a "C" or higher AND concurrent enrollment in BIOL 182
  • Have current CPR Certification at the Healthcare Provider Level (American Heart Association) or Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (American Red Cross) CPR courses are offered at Heartland Community College through our Continuing Education department and at area hospitals.

*Per Illinois law, students who complete the program prior to turning 18 years of age will be eligible to test but will not be eligible for licensure until their 18th birthday.

**Students must possess a high school diploma or equivalent at the time of licensure application.

Enrollment Considerations

EMT-Paramedic Curriculum

View the EMT Paramedic Curriculum

EMT-Paramedic Courses

The EMT-Paramedic certificate program consists of general education course(s) and three EMT-Paramedic courses (EMT 245, EMT 246 & EMT 247). EMT 245, the first course in the sequence, begins each fall semester. Students must pass each course with a "C "or higher to enroll in the next course in the sequence. Students must have taken all courses consecutively, within a continuous three-semester sequence, and have earned a final average of a "B" or higher to be considered passing and eligible for licensure.

The EMT-Paramedic curriculum consists of classroom lecture, lab, and clinical & field experience. Clinical experiences occur in the hospital setting (e.g. Emergency Department, Cardiac Cath Lab, Intensive Care Unit, Operating Room) and field experiences occur on an ALS ambulance.

Time Commitment

EMT-Paramedic courses meet for a total of 10 hours per week over two days, typically 9:00-2:00pm.  Meeting time includes lecture and lab content. In addition, students will complete an average of 200 hours of clinical time outside of each class, with the time split between hospital clinical areas and an ambulance.

Review the Essential Functions of the Job

Students enrolled in the EMT program must be able to perform the essential functions (PDF) of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. Any applicants or enrolled students are encouraged to contact Student Access and Accommodation Services to discuss any concerns associated with the program.

Program Cost

The cost sheet (PDF)  is a reference to provide information related to potential expenses incurred by the prospective HCC EMT paramedic student. The totals may vary depending on previous completion of general education courses and immunizations.

Clinical Requirements

Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks are required to participate in the clinical experience portion of the course. Students will be required to complete an Authorization to Conduct Background Check form during the first week of class. Students with questions regarding background checks or questions on eligibility for EMT licensure may contact the McLean County Area EMS Office at 309-827-4348. A list of potentially disqualifying convictions and information on a waiver process can be found here.

Students with results triggering disqualification will be referred to the waiver process. Students will not be allowed into the clinical environment until their waiver has been approved.

Health Requirements & Immunizations

Proof of the following current immunizations are required prior to being allowed into the clinical environment:

  • TDaP (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis) - Proof of TDaP administration within the past 10 years OR a TDaP vaccine administered within your lifetime and Td booster administered within the past 10 years
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) - Proof of 2 MMR vaccinations OR a positive MMR antibody titer for all 3 components
  • Varicella (Chicken Pox) - Proof of 2 vaccinations OR a positive Varicella antibody titer
  • Hepatitis B Vaccination - Proof of completed vaccination series AND a positive Hepatitis B antibody titer
  • TB Test - A 2-step TB test with negative results (If positive, contact faculty for additional guidance)
  • Influenza - Proof of influenza vaccination (current year) OR a signed vaccine declination form
  • COVID - Proof of COVID vaccination OR a signed vaccine declination form
  • Health Insurance Coverage - Proof of current personal health insurance
  • Student Background Check - A completed criminal background check through Viewpoint Screening (Program faculty will provide information on how to complete the background check upon registration)
  • State Identification Card - State driver's license OR State identification card OR passport
Emergency Medical Services Video

Emergency Medical Services Video

Video Transcription: Emergency Medical Services Video Transcription (PDF)