Frequently Asked Questions

For individuals wishing to become credentialed as EMS providers in North Carolina, the Wake Tech EMS Department offers two options: (1) a two-year degree (A.A.S.) program in Emergency Medical Science and (2) Workforce Continuing Education non-degree courses, which include EMT.  The following are some Frequently Asked Questions concerning our EMS programs.


Do I have to be an EMT before I can take paramedic training?

No, the AAS degree program includes EMT instruction

How long does it take to complete the EMS degree program?

The EMS degree program spans five semesters (two years) to prepare graduates to enter the workforce as paramedics, with the advantage of having an A.A.S. degree to enhance career opportunities. The time it takes to complete the program may vary, however, depending on placement test scores and how quickly prerequisites can be met. If placement test scores indicate a need for developmental coursework, it may take longer than two years.

How long will it take me to earn credentials through Workforce Continuing Education?

CE EMT is a 200-hour course generally completed within one semester. This course is offered each semester to the public. Agencies that are interested in sponsoring a CE Paramedic course for their employees or volunteers should contact the EMS department head.

I'm interested! How can I get started in an EMS program?

For additional information about the A.A.S. degree program in EMS, contact the admissions counselor at 919-747-0101 or [email protected] For a schedule of Continuing Education classes in EMS, call 919-866-5800.To obtain an application, schedule placement tests, or find other administrative services, contact the Office of Admissions, Advising, and Outreach at 919-866-5500.

Is financial aid available for students in these programs?

Students in the EMS curriculum programs may be eligible for financial aid; the Continuing Education classes are not covered by financial aid. Students should consult with a Financial Aid Advisor for more information.

If you are an active volunteer or career EMS provider, your department representative, company officer, or supervisor may have information about other financial aid opportunities. Some companies will purchase students' textbooks or reimburse some expenses upon successful completion of the program.

Is there an age requirement?

Yes. You must be 18 years of age.

What are the advantages of completing the A.A.S. degree?

The degree program can be completed in a shorter amount of time than it takes to complete the Continuing Education credentials, and several states require an A.A.S. degree in EMS to practice as a paramedic.

Having a degree gives you an advantage in hiring situations and often means a higher starting salary. A degree is often important for EMS providers to move up or into other aspects of the field, such as management and administration, or into state or federal EMS (and related) positions.

What are the advantages of taking the Workforce Continuing Education classes?

Classes cost less, and they are offered in the evening and on weekends.

What are the requirements for starting the AAS degree program?

In a nutshell, you need to take the ACCUPLACER placement test and test out of developmental English and math. (Students who have been out of school for some time often find they need to take developmental courses to polish their skills; these courses can be an important step on the way to your goal of becoming a paramedic.) The national Paramedic curriculum requires Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) as well. At Wake Tech, in order to complete all the objectives listed in the national standard curriculum, you will need to take two semesters of A&P.

Students should have college entry-level reading and writing skills (at least), good basic math skills, and the ability to think critically and solve problems. Paramedics are health care professionals who interact with all members of the health care team and must be able to communicate in a professional way. They are responsible for handling drugs and must be able to quickly calculate patient weight and appropriate drug dosages in emergency situations. They have more autonomy every day, requiring problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Students should talk with a Health Sciences counselor to get the most up-to-date information on admissions requirements.

What are the requirements for starting the Workforce Continuing Education EMS classes?

Candidates for the EMT course must show English competency at postsecondary level by college transcript or placement test. Paramedics candidates must show English competency at postsecondary level AND math competency at 10th-grade level by college transcript or placement test.

What career opportunities are available in the EMS field?

The field of EMS is expanding every day. In addition to a career as a field paramedic on an ambulance, you may consider working toward a career as a flight medic, hospital paramedic, or fire medic for a municipal agency; working in EMS management or administration as a supervisor, administrator, or policy maker; serving as an EMS educator, instructor, research, or author; working in disaster health services; working in state or federal EMS programs, including HCFA, NHTSA, FEMA, or DOT. Emergency medical services can also serve as a stepping stone into other allied health professions, including CVT, RN, MD, PA, RT, and PT.

What is the difference between EMS, EMT, AEMT, and a Paramedic?

  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the collective name for the care provided by those who ride in ambulances (and those who support them, such as dispatchers and firefighters) and those who provide various levels of pre-hospital (or out-of-hospital) care to the sick or injured.
  • EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) is trained to care for patients at the scene of an accident and during ambulance transport, under medical direction. The EMT has the skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies.
  • AEMT (Advanced Emergency Medical Technician) has more advanced training that allows the administration of intravenous fluids, the use of manual defibrillators to give lifesaving shocks to a stopped heart, and the application of advanced airway techniques and equipment to assist patients experiencing respiratory emergencies.
  • Paramedic is currently the highest level of training for EMS providers. Paramedics provide the most extensive pre-hospital care. In addition to carrying out the procedures already described, paramedics may administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations, and use monitors and other complex equipment.

Will I receive credit for any of my EMT credentials?

Students may receive advanced standing in EMS classes based on current NC credentials. A student with a current EMT credential will receive credit for EMS 110. Students with a NC Paramedic credential are eligible for additional credit. Contact the EMS department head for specific advanced placement credit questions.