A lot of people have asked me over the years; “Hey doc, how do I, an average Joe, become a high speed medic much like yourself?” After I stop blushing, I tell them, “It’s really pretty easy, there are basically two ways. The first is the civilian route and the second is the military route.”
Let’s talk about the civilian route first. This is how I initially got involved with pre-hospital Para-medicine way back in 1986. First off, a little background, there’s an organization called the (NREMT) National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (www.nremt.org) that has, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, set national standards for emergency medical responders.
The four levels of certification are; First Responder (FR), EMT-Basic (EMT-B, “basic”), EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I, “intermediate”) and EMT-Paramedic (AKA EMT-P, EMT-Advanced, paramedic, (“paramagic”, “medic”, etc). These certifications are recognized by a majority of the United States (right now there are five states that do not recognize NREMT certification. As of 31 Dec 2009 they are NY, MA, NC, IL, and WY. When in doubt, check with your state health department to find out which certification is required.