If you want to explore the field of emergency medicine, attending the best paramedic schools in California is essential. Not only will you learn how to adapt to a quick-paced medical field, but you will also diversify your community outreach schools. There’s no doubt this is an essential career field to enter, especially in highly populated states such as California.
This guide explores five of the top-ranked paramedic schools you’ll find in California. We’ve ranked them from the lowest to the highest average annual cost. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of less than $18,000
- An expected median starting salary of no lower than $30,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
5 Best Paramedic Schools in California
1. Irvine Valley College
2 to 4 Year; Irvine, CA
Average Annual Cost: $3,097
The Irvine Valley College is a fantastic program for those looking to enter the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) field.
During your studies, you’ll gather the skills to administer emergency medical care, assess injuries, and extricate trapped individuals. Of course, another fundamental tenet of the program is transporting injured and sick persons to hospitals and other medical facilities.
Students can expect to refine their skills and learn new essential lifesaving measures during their studies. These fundamental skills include:
- Advanced life support
- Operating lifesaving equipment
- Administering first aid or life support treatment in prehospital settings
- Administering injection or oral drugs
- Performing intravenous procedures
- Driving mobile intensive care unit vehicles
- Decontamination procedures
- Coordinating with treatment centers
Undoubtedly, the list of responsibilities of a paramedic is extensive. At Irvine Valley College, their curriculum ensures you’ll graduate as a well-prepared medical professional.
Outside of administering emergency medicine, your courses will also help you learn essential functions of patient care, such as:
- Checking the patient’s vital statistics
- Comforting and reassuring patients
- Immobilizing patients for stretcher and ambulance transport
2. San Diego Miramar College
2 to 4 Year; San Diego, CA
Average Annual Cost: $4,886
The EMT program at San Diego Miramar College is one of the best in the state.
Students will get skills training and in-class instruction to offer top-tier prehospital emergency care. You can expect to learn several essential concepts in the field, including:
- Basic life support
- Working with hazardous materials
- Disease processes
- Trauma medicine administration
When you graduate and pass your examinations, you’ll be a certified Emergency Medical Technician. Being awarded this status means you have met all of the learning outcomes in this field, including:
- Understanding the responsibilities and legal tenets of EMT practices
- Applying skills to assist with the psychosocial, physical, and development needs of patients
- Administering CPR, defibrillation, and airway management
- Identifying the body systems involved in trauma and assessing medical emergencies
There are multiple careers to explore when you graduate from the EMT program at San Diego Miramar College. The vast majority of students continue to become paramedics, but some other opportunities include:
- Law enforcement
- Emergency department technician
- Physician assistant
3. El Camino Community College District
2 to 4 Year; Torrance, CA
Average Annual Cost: $11,095
Training to become a paramedic at El Camino Community College District is a fantastic opportunity.
The program coordinates with the Paramedic Training Institute, Emergency Medical Services Agency, and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Students will learn in an assortment of environments to help reinforce their learning.
For example, all of your in-class learning will be held at the Paramedic Training Institute. You’ll also complete hospital rounds at local area hospitals.
Closer to graduation, students will also have field internships at different fire departments in the area.
The paramedic program offered by El Camino Community College District spans over six months. For the first 13 weeks, you’ll have in-class instruction followed by five weeks of clinical training. The remaining eight to 12 weeks include fieldwork at a local fire station.
Upon completing the program, you’ll be required to sit for the National or State Credentialing Examinations.
With a passing grade, you can then move on to proper job placements, allowing you to start helping your community. You can expect to spend 1090 hours in training to become a paramedic in this program.
There is a multitude of fantastic courses students will take during their training, including:
- Basic Prehospital Care Principles
- Special Patient Emergencies
- Basic and Advanced Life Support
- EMS/Legal Aspects/Documentation
- Traumatic Emergencies
- Field Assessing and Reporting
4. Napa Valley College
2 to 4 Year; Napa, CA
Average Annual Cost: $14,155
What makes Napa Valley College one of the best paramedic schools California is its curriculum is designated as a paramedic academy.
With that said, you’ll find your training will be slightly longer than with other programs. In total, students can expect to spend 15 months in training.
With your first course, you’ll have in-class learning. The second course exposes you to field and clinical internships, starting in the summer and spanning to winter. Depending on your performance, call volume, and internship type, the length of both courses may vary.
It’s important to note that it’s not ideal for entry-level students looking to enter the field as this is a paramedic academy. In fact, before applying to Napa Valley College, you need 2000 of EMT experience.
After acquiring these hours, you can submit your application to be considered for further learning opportunities. There are other prequalifications prospective applicants need to consider as well, including:
- Current and valid EMT-I certification
- AHA BLS CPR certification
- Verified 2000 hours of prehospital volunteer or work experience
- Verified passing score on NVC Paramedic Academy Entrance Exam
5. Crafton Hills College
2 to 4 Year; Yucaipa, CA
Average Annual Cost: $17,587
Crafton Hills College is an excellent option for prospective paramedic students.
After completing this program, you’ll receive a paramedic certificate to help further your career. There are 39 units in this program that allow you to sit for the skills examinations at both state and national levels.
One of the fundamental aspects of this program is to develop career-ready medical professionals. You’ll find the skills you’ll learn can assist you with working as an EMT, firefighter, or even in law enforcement.
With a well-rounded curriculum, you’ll explore several essential tenets of emergency medicine. Some of the most common courses students sign up for include:
- Skills Development for Paramedics
- Pharmacology for the EMT
- Introduction to EMS
- Emergency Medical Services Theory
- Cardiology for the Paramedic
- Patient Assessment for Paramedics
- Clinical Internship for the Paramedic