EMS professionals transporting a stretcher

How to Become a Rescue Paramedic

A comprehensive career guide for Rescue Paramedics

EMS professionals transporting a stretcher

Rescue Paramedic Definition

What is a Rescue Paramedic?

When it comes to emergency response, Rescue Paramedics are among the most highly trained and skilled professionals in the field. As the first responders to medical emergencies, these individuals must be able to act quickly and decisively to provide life-saving care to those in need. Rescue Paramedics have specialized training in a variety of rescue techniques, including high-angle rescue, technical rope rescue, and water rescue, in addition to their expertise in emergency medical care. They work in a range of settings, from ambulance services and hospitals to fire departments and search and rescue teams.

We are going to provide an in-depth look at the Rescue Paramedic career. We’ll explain what Rescue Paramedics do, where they work, how much they earn, and how you can become one.

The two most common paths to becoming a Rescue Paramedic include training to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or a traditional Paramedic. To learn more about these career paths, check out our articles on how to become an EMT and how to become a paramedic.

Rescue Paramedic: Job Description

What Does a Rescue Paramedic Do?

The role of a Rescue Paramedic is complex and challenging, involving a blend of medical knowledge, specialized rescue abilities, and the capacity to stay composed during high-pressure situations. In addition to responding to medical emergencies, Rescue Paramedics may also be called upon to perform rescue operations in challenging environments, such as in the aftermath of a natural disaster or in a high-rise building. They must be able to quickly assess a situation and make decisions about the best course of action, often in situations where time is of the essence.

What sets Rescue Paramedics apart from traditional paramedics is their additional training in technical rescue skills. While a traditional paramedic is trained to provide medical care in emergency situations, a Rescue Paramedic also has the ability to perform a high-angle rescue, water rescues, and other specialized rescue techniques. This additional training is critical in situations where a patient may be trapped or in a difficult-to-reach location. In these scenarios, Rescue Paramedics must be able to utilize specific tools and methods to carefully remove the patient and provide proper medical attention.

On a day-to-day basis, Rescue Paramedics are responsible for providing advanced medical care to patients in emergency situations. Rescue Paramedics aid individuals facing critical medical emergencies, such as cardiac arrest, severe trauma, and respiratory distress. Rescue Paramedics are essential first responders who provide advanced medical care to people in emergency situations. Their duties include administering medication, managing airways, performing CPR, and communicating with patients, families, and other emergency response teams. They must be able to work quickly and efficiently under high-pressure conditions and make split-second decisions to save lives.

Rescue Paramedic Duties

Some of the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of a rescue paramedic include:

  • Helping people in emergency situations, like heart attacks or serious injuries
  • Giving medicine to help patients feel better
  • Helping patients breathe properly using specialized tools
  • Working with other emergency workers like police and firefighters
  • Communicating with patients and their families
  • Driving quickly and safely to get to the emergency
  • Keeping records of what happened during the emergency
  • Keeping their equipment clean and ready to use
  • Learning new skills and training regularly to stay good at their job
  • Staying calm under pressure and working well as part of a team

Students practicing on a medical mannequin

Rescue Paramedic Skills

Rescue Paramedics must possess a wide range of skills in order to provide the highest level of care to their patients. One of the most important skills is communication. Rescue Paramedics must be able to communicate effectively with patients, family members, and other members of the emergency response team. They must also be able to remain calm and provide reassurance in high-stress situations, as well as explain medical procedures and treatments in a clear and concise manner.

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are also essential for Rescue Paramedics. They must be able to quickly assess a patient’s condition and make decisions about the appropriate course of action. In emergency situations, they must be able to think on their feet and adapt to changing circumstances, all while keeping the patient’s safety and well-being as their top priority. In addition, Rescue Paramedics must be able to work well under pressure, remain focused, and maintain a high level of professionalism at all times. These skills are developed through extensive training and real-world experience and are essential for a successful career as a Rescue Paramedic.

A rescue paramedic needs to be brave and willing to step outside of their comfort zone. They must be able to adapt to challenging situations and think on their feet in order to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Where Do Rescue Paramedics Work?

Rescue Paramedics work in a variety of settings, including ambulances, hospitals, and air medical transport services. In addition, some Rescue Paramedics work in fire departments and law enforcement agencies, providing advanced medical care in emergency situations.

Rescue Paramedics play a critical role in the healthcare system, responding to medical emergencies and providing life-saving care to those in need. They work in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, requiring quick thinking and the ability to make decisions under stress. Whether responding to a car accident on the side of the road or providing care to a critically ill patient in a hospital, Rescue Paramedics are dedicated to providing the highest level of care to their patients.

Rescue Paramedic Schooling & Certification

The educational requirements to become a Rescue Paramedic typically include completing a high school diploma or equivalent, followed by completing an accredited paramedic program. In addition, aspiring Rescue Paramedics may need to complete additional training and certification in specialized rescue techniques, such as technical rescue or wilderness rescue.

Here are the general steps to becoming a Rescue Paramedic:

1. Earn a High School Diploma or Equivalent

Rescue Paramedics typically require a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED.

2. Complete an Accredited Paramedic Program

This typically involves completing a paramedic program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP). These programs usually take between 1-2 years to complete and involve both classroom and clinical experience.

Close up of replica hearts and a stethoscope

3. Obtain National Certification

Upon completing a paramedic program, aspiring Rescue Paramedics will need to obtain national certification by passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) paramedic exam.

4. Obtain State Certification

Once national certification is obtained, the candidate must obtain state certification to work as a Rescue Paramedic. Requirements may vary by state but typically involve passing a state-specific exam and meeting other state-specific requirements.

5. Complete Additional Specialized Training

Depending on the specific requirements of the rescue team, aspiring Rescue Paramedics may need to complete additional specialized training in areas such as technical rescue, wilderness rescue, or hazardous materials response.

It’s important to note that becoming a rescue paramedic can be a physically and mentally demanding career, and candidates should be prepared to meet the rigorous training and physical requirements of the job.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Rescue Paramedic?

What Certification Do You Need to Be a Rescue Paramedic?

Becoming a Rescue Paramedic requires a significant investment of time and effort. Typically, it takes around two years to complete the necessary training and education, which includes completing an EMT program, obtaining a paramedic certification, and gaining experience through on-the-job training. However, the exact timeline can vary depending on the individual’s level of education and experience. Once the necessary training and certifications are obtained, Rescue Paramedics must also undergo ongoing professional development and training to maintain their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in emergency medical care.

Rescue Paramedic Salary

How Much Do Rescue Paramedics Make?

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary* information for specifically Rescue Paramedics, the salary* can be approximated by looking at the income of Paramedics. According to the BLS, the mean hourly wage for a Paramedic is about $24.00, and the average annual salary* is around $50,000. Many factors, such as location, level of education, and experience, can affect a Paramedic’s salary.

Here are the top-paying states for Rescue Paramedics according to the BLS:

State Mean Annual Wage
Washington $82,810
New Jersey $71,180
District of Columbia $64,940
Connecticut $62,210
Maryland $59,520

Here are the top-paying metropolitan areas for Rescue Paramedics according to the BLS:

Metro Area Average Annual Wage
Seattle, WA $94,290
Longview, WA $85,940
Olympia-Tumwater, WA $85,530
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA $85,400
Bellingham, WA $84,930
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA $76,790
Barnstable Town, MA $75,860
Kennewick-Richland, WA $75,120
Fond du Lac, WI $74,990
Portland, OR $74,960

Close up of a female paramedic

Rescue Paramedic Job Outlook

What is the Job Outlook for Rescue Paramedics?

When it comes to job outlook, Rescue Paramedics will still be grouped with traditional Paramedics. According to the BLS, employment for Paramedics will see a 7% increase through 2031. This is better than the average growth for all occupations, which is 5%.

Start Your Career as a Rescue Paramedic

Becoming a Rescue Paramedic is a process that requires time, effort, and focus. The career takes bravery, energy, and intelligence to be done effectively. However, the profession is rewarding and meaningful, offering unique experiences and growing opportunity to any willing to work towards it. Proper education and training from certified professionals from places like Unitek EMT are invaluable when you first get started. To get started as a Rescue Paramedic you will need to become a certified EMT first. While many programs can take from six months to a year to complete, Unitek EMT offers a comprehensive 14-day EMT Boot Camp.