Inside an ambulance

13 Best Paramedic Schools in Arizona

Inside an ambulance

There are three levels of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs): EMTs, Advanced EMTs, and Paramedic. Paramedics require the highest level of training as they are certified to perform the most advanced emergency medical procedures. To become a paramedic, EMS workers are required to have both EMT and Advanced EMT certification, along with other prerequisites.

What Is a Paramedic?

A paramedic is trained and certified to perform advanced life support (ALS), which can include administering IV fluids, injections, medications and performing advanced respiratory procedures. A paramedic also performs the same functions as EMTs, such as assessing the patient’s condition, treating wounds, performing CPR, defibrillation, and delivering babies.

Paramedics must be confident professionals who can overcome challenges, maintain high levels of responsibility, and provide the highest quality of care to patients in life-threatening emergency situations. Paramedics use their knowledge, skills, and abilities to assess each patient, provide patient care, and properly document information to prevent legal consequences. Paramedics also participate in community health, safety, education programs, and EMS research.

Paramedics are often the leaders of their rescue teams. This requires them to have strong leadership, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. A paramedic must be able to perform complex life-saving functions under extremely stressful conditions while simultaneously managing other team members. They must communicate effectively with a diverse group of populations, and develop a positive rapport with patients. A paramedic must also be able to remain calm and maintain safety, while treating hostile patients or dealing with hostile family members.

Arizona Paramedic Jobs

Paramedics in Arizona may be employed by ambulance companies, fire departments, hospitals, clinics, air medical transport, search and rescue, and law enforcement.

According to indeed.com, the average salary for a paramedic in Arizona with 2 to 3 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree is $50,713, which is 34% higher than the national average.

Furthermore, EMTs and paramedics in Arizona benefit from working in a highly active job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for paramedics is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, and employment for EMTs and paramedics in Arizona is greater than the average for all states. In short, the demand for highly trained paramedics is growing, fast.

How to Become a Paramedic in Arizona

The first step to becoming a paramedic is to earn certification as an EMT or AEMT.

EMT training is available through many community colleges, colleges and universities, and vocational training institutions. It typically takes about 13 weeks or a semester to complete a traditional EMT class before you take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification exam.

As an EMT, you can provide emergency medical services for hospitals, ambulance companies, fire department, or private EMS agencies. Most people work as EMTs for several months to gain some experience before taking the additional 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training required to become a paramedic. In fact, some paramedic schools require that you work as an EMT for at least 6 months before you can enroll in their  program.

(Click here to learn more about becoming a Paramedic).

Arizona Paramedic Schools

Paramedic training programs are offered at several different types of schools in Arizona, including community colleges and vocational schools. Programs at these schools can vary in terms of cost, program length, format, job placement assistance, graduate satisfaction, and pass rates for certification exams. Based on those variables, we curated a list of the best paramedic programs in Arizona.

It was particularly challenging to rank these programs, as prospective students may have differing views on the most important features of their ideal training program. If you’re thinking of enrolling into an Arizona paramedic school, we advise that you identify the program features that matter most to you. For example, a short program length may be more important to you than cost. For some students, financial aid and tuition assistance could take priority over job placement support. Regardless, this guide is meant to serve as a starting point in your search for the best paramedic programs in your area. You must decide which combination of features is most valuable to you.

For this ranking of top Arizona colleges, we listed 13 schools that offer the best combination of features. In many cases, we favored the schools that published the most relevant data on their websites. Unfortunately, many of the colleges we reviewed do not provide enough of the vital information that’s required to inform the enrollment decision.

The educational requirements to be a paramedic are rigorous. Many Arizona colleges offer two-year degree programs in Paramedicine. The curriculum consists of both classroom training and clinical training at an EMS agency, such as a fire department or ambulance company. Some of the more rigorous programs will have pre-requisites of college-level courses in Biology, Math, or English. The programs themselves, will cover subjects like anatomy, physiology, advanced life support, advanced pediatric life support, and basic trauma life support.

As a certified paramedic, you’ll have more job opportunities and responsibilities than an EMT or AEMT, plus you’ll earn a higher salary. Paramedics are needed in a wide range of venues, including ambulance companies, hospitals and clinics, fire departments, life support helicopters, cruise ships, ocean rescue, S.W.A.T. teams, as well as any number of special locations or events, such as amusement parks, large resorts, or large music festivals.

Top Paramedic Programs in Arizona

The purpose of the following review is to show you the range of features offered at the best paramedic training programs in Arizona.

The good news is Arizona is home to several top tier paramedic programs. Many of the schools listed below are accredited institutions that offer a quality education with transferable college credits at a very reasonable tuition, typically around $2,000 per year.

1. Paradise Valley Community College

Paradise Valley Community College

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The Paramedicine Education Program at Paradise Valley Community College engages the student with classroom and laboratory instruction, hospital clinical rotations, and field internships. They offer an Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) in Paramedicine, which is a nationally accredited program designed to prepare students to become Paramedics. In additional, they also offer a Certificate of Completion in Advanced Emergency Medical Technology (Paramedic) which provides instruction in advanced techniques of emergency care.

Paradise Valley’s program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students there learn multiple assessment techniques, including electrocardiograph rhythm identification, administration of oxygen, defibrillation, synchronized cardioversion, transcutaneous pacing, and advanced airway techniques.

Why We Chose PVCC

Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) ranks #1 for its exceptional numbers. Their tuition cost is highly affordable, and their program length is among the shortest for an Associate degree. Furthermore, their graduation rate, NREMT pass rate, and job placement scores are all stellar. Of all the schools, the PVCC website was the most forthcoming in providing the most relevant program information for their prospective students.

Location:

Phoenix, AZ.

Paradise Valley Community College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • County Residents – $85 per credit hour
  • Out-of-State Residents – $326 per credit hour

More information about Paradise Valley Community College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

14 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

100% NREMT pass rate.

Graduate Satisfaction:

92% graduation.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

N/A.

Other:

Credits you receive through the Paramedicine Education Program can be applied to an associates degree in a number of related disciplines. With more than 130 years of combined firefighting and emergency medical service experience, the program directors and faculty at Paradise Valley Community College bring a wealth of knowledge to their programs and are a great asset to students pursuing Fire Science, EMT, and Paramedic Education degrees and professional certifications.

2. Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College

The Paramedic program at Glendale Community College is a 14-month program that builds upon the knowledge obtained in the EMT curriculum with an emphasis on patient assessment, fluid resuscitation, cardiac monitoring, specialized medication administration and life-saving techniques.

Why We Chose Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College (GCC) ranks #2 for its exceptional results. Like PVCC, GCC features low tuition fees and a relatively short program length for an Associate degree. It also features high rates of retention, job placement, and passing scores on the NREMT exam. The GCC website is equally forthcoming with its information for prospective students.

Location:

Glendale, AZ.

Glendale Community College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Maricopa County Residents – $85 per credit hour (Flat Rate of $1,020.00 for 12 credit hours or more. The tuition discount only applies to tuition.)
  • Out-of-State Residents – $326 per credit hour

More information about Glendale Community College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

14 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

97% NREMT pass rate.

Graduate Satisfaction:

85% retention.

College Credit:

Yes. Associate’s of Applied Science, Emergency Response, and Operations (Paramedicine).

Prerequisites:

Current Arizona EMT certification, driver’s license, DPS Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance card.

Other:

With an advanced lab space, simulators, and mannequins, students learn in a case-based environment that prepares them for actual patient care by emulating real-world settings. Most of the faculty in the paramedic program still work in pre-hospital settings and all actively maintain certification and licensure.

3. Phoenix College

Phoenix College

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The Phoenix College Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) in Paramedicine is a nationally accredited program designed to prepare students to become Paramedics. This program is a formal education in such paramedicine topics as anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, cardiology, pulmonary, pharmacology, pediatrics, geriatrics hematology, and toxicology.

Why We Chose Phoenix College

Phoenix College (PC) ranks #3 for its low cost and relatively short associates degree program. Program retention is high at Phoenix College, and as part of the Maricopa Community Colleges district, Phoenix offers a similar quality of education as PVCC and GCC.

Location:

Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Maricopa County Residents – $85 per credit hour ($1,020 flat rate per semester for 12 credits or more – does not include registration fee and course fees)
  • Out-of-State Residents – $326 per credit hour

More information about Phoenix College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

14 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

N/A

Graduate Satisfaction:

100% retention.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

EMT certification.

Other:

Phoenix College is a public community college in Phoenix, Arizona. Founded in 1920, it is one of the oldest community colleges in the country.

4. Pima Community College

Pima Community College

This picture was taken from Tucson.com.

Graduates of the Pima Community College EMT-Paramedic Associate of Applied Science learn how to assess medical situations, provide high-level emergency medical care, and stabilize emergency patients. They also learn endotracheal intubation, cardiac arrhythmia intervention, drug therapy, invasive procedures, advanced airway management, and I.V. therapy.

Why We Chose Pima Community College

Pima Community College’s (EMT-Paramedic) Associate of Applied Science program ranks #4 for its relatively low cost and short program length. Pima can also boast a high rate of student retention and NREMT pass-rate.

Location:

Tucson, AZ.

Pima Community College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • In-State Resident Tuition – $87 per credit hour
  • Non-Resident Tuition – $306 per credit hour

More information about Pima Community College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

14 months.

Format:

Hybrid-online and on-campus program.

Quality of Instruction:

100% NREMT pass rate.

Graduate Satisfaction:

81% retention.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

American Heart Association Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Provider certification,  and EMT certification.

Other:

In addition to classroom time, the student must complete at least 604 hours of clinical and vehicular rotations. The student is required to schedule these hours outside of class time throughout the paramedic course.

5. Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College

The Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) in Paramedicine program at Mesa Community College is nationally accredited and designed to prepare students to become Paramedics. Topics include anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, cardiology, pulmonary, pharmacology, pediatrics, geriatrics hematology, toxicology. Paramedicine is integrated with fire service, law enforcement, ground transport services, flight transport services, search and rescue, hospitals, clinical setting, community paramedicine, and EMS education. There is also a Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Paramedicine that is available.

Why We Chose Mesa Community College

The Paramedicine Associates degree program at Mesa Community College (MCC) ranks #5 for its low cost and short program length. Furthermore, program retention and NREMT pass rates are also remarkably high at this college.

Location:

Mesa, AZ

Mesa Community College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Maricopa County Residents – $85 per credit hour
  • Out-of-State Residents – $326 per credit hour

More information about Mesa Community College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

14 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

100% NREMT pass rate.

Graduate Satisfaction:

63% retention

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

EMT certification.

Other:

The Paramedic Program at Mesa Community College is taught by knowledgeable practicing instructors and specialized content experts. It features hands-on learning and a comprehensive curriculum that immerses the student in the emergency medical services field. The program prepares students for ALS Paramedic certification and enables them to earn an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science (AAS).

6. Yavapai College

Yavapai College

The Paramedicine certificate program at Yavapai College prepares students for direct entry as paramedics. Topics include emergency care, stabilization, and immobilization of victims of illness and injury: recognizing and documenting symptoms of illness and injury, intervening, evaluating the intervention, administration of oxygen and medications, advanced airway techniques, immobilization devices, peripheral, defibrillation, synchronized cardioversion, transcutaneous pacing; and preparing for transportation.

Why We Chose Yavapai College

Yavapai College (YC) ranks #6. Among the top paramedic schools in Arizona, YC offers a mid-level cost and length of program, and their NREMT pass rates are high. Yavapai’s small town location could result in less robust field training than a larger metro area, but there may be other advantages to this as well.

Location:

Prescott, AZ.

Yavapai College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Estimated total program tuition – $5,300

More information about Yavapai College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

18 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

92% NREMT pass rate.

Graduate Satisfaction:

60% retention.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

Current EMT certification.

Other:

The Paramedic program acquires 43 of the 62 credits needed for an Associate of Applied Science Degree.

7. Eastern Arizona College

Eastern Arizona College

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Eastern Arizona College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Paramedicine. The program prepares graduates for employment as paramedics who are qualified to give emergency care to patients. After successfully completing the degree, graduates are eligible to take the required National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams at the Paramedic level.

Why We Chose Eastern Arizona College

Eastern Arizona College (EAC) ranks #7 in our list of top paramedic colleges in Arizona for several reasons. Their Paramedicine program is offered at a reasonable mid-level price and their retention rate is within acceptable industry standards.

Location:

Thatcher, AZ

Eastern Arizona College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Arizona Residents – $1,350 per semester
  • Out-of-State Residents – $5,700 per semester

More information about Eastern Arizona College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

2 years.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

N/A

Graduate Satisfaction:

65% retention.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

Current EMT certification, college level Math and English, and current Arizona DPS fingerprint clearance card.

Other:

Eastern Arizona College’s Paramedic Program is designed to prepare competent entry-level Paramedics for the fast-paced and dynamic field of pre-hospital emergency medicine. The program is continually updated to reflect changes in the world of EMS.

8. Arizona Western College

Arizona Western College

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Founded in 1963, Arizona Western College is an accredited college serving students in Yuma and LaPaz counties. The EMT-Paramedic Academy is a training institution certified by the state of Arizona since 1985. All EMS instructors are certified by the State of Arizona and are currently working in basic and advanced life support services in Yuma and LaPaz counties.

Why We Chose Arizona Western College

Among the top paramedic schools in Arizona, AWC offers a lower program tuition than other colleges in the area. Their retention rate is average, and the length of their paramedic training program is slightly longer than average.  However, Arizona Western College can do more to provide greater information on their website for prospective students.

Location:

Yuma, AZ.

Arizona Western College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Estimated total program tuition – $2,200

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

18 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

N/A.

Graduate Satisfaction:

64% retention rate

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

CPR card, no misdemeanor or felony convictions, negative drug screening.

Other:

Arizona Western College has 12 locations across their 2-county service area. They host all three state universities on their main campus for face-to-face classes.

9. Cochise College

Cochise College

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The Paramedicine Associate of Applied Science degree at Cochise College prepares students to become Nationally Registered Paramedics. Paramedics work for fire departments, law enforcement agencies, private ambulance services, industrial companies, clinics, and hospitals.

Why We Chose Cochise College

Among the top paramedic schools in Arizona, Cochise College offers a lower program tuition than many of the schools we researched. Their retention rate is average, and their program length is slightly longer than average. Important prospective student information was missing from their website but that should not prevent you from reaching out and learning more about their academic performance.

Location:

Sierra Vista, AZ.

Cochise College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • In-state Residents – $91 per credit hour
  • Out-of-State Residents – $260 per credit hour

More information about Cochise College’s tuition rates can be found here.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

18 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

N/A

Graduate Satisfaction:

66% retention.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

N/A

Other:

Cochise College has been nationally recognized for its cost, return on investment, and high success rate. Cochise College graduates can transfer seamlessly to all three Arizona four-year universities.

10. Arizona Academy of Emergency Services

Arizona Academy of Emergency Services

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Graduates of the Paramedic Program at Arizona Academy of Emergency Services are prepared to be excellent healthcare providers. Students receive extensive training in Airway Management, Cardiology, Pharmacology, Medical and Trauma Emergencies, Pediatric Emergencies, and much more.

Why We Chose Arizona Academy of Emergency Services

Among the top paramedic schools in Arizona, tuition rates at AAES are a bit higher than many of the schools we reviewed. Incidentally, their program length is slightly shorter than average, which may offer a partial explanation to their higher cost. AAES also grades well for their high student retention and NREMT pass rates. Unfortunately, AAES is the only school on our list that offers no college credit.

Location:

Mesa, AZ

Arizona Academy of Emergency Services – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Estimated total program tuition – $6,000

Click here for more information.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

13 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

89% NREMT pass rate.

Graduate Satisfaction:

70% retention.

College Credit:

No.

Prerequisites:

N/A

Other:

This program offers experiential and expansive education, featuring vehicular shifts and time in the burn unit, trauma room, pediatric, labor & delivery, and more.

11. Central Arizona College

Central Arizona College

This picture was taken from Central Arizona College.

Graduates of the Associate of Applied Science in Paramedicine program at Central Arizona College enjoy careers with fire departments, ambulance companies, government agencies, and hospitals. The program offers state-of-the-art technology, a mix of classroom, simulation laboratory, and clinical and field experiences. The program consists of over 500 classroom hours, 320 hours of vehicular experience, 186 hours of hospital clinical experiences, and a cadaver lab.

Why We Chose Central Arizona College

Among the top paramedic schools in Arizona, Central Arizona College charges  higher-than-average tuition fees, but the length of their Paramedicine Program is shorter than most. Although their student retention rates are below average, we included Central Arizona College for their robust curriculum and training facility.

Location:

Coolidge, AZ.

Central Arizona College – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Estimated total program tuition – $6,444

Click here for more information.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

11 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

N/A

Graduate Satisfaction:

55% retention.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

Current EMT certification, one year of experience as an EMT, two letters of recommendation.

12. Wizard Education

Wizard Education

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The Paramedic Program at Wizard Education is a 10-month, high performance program that prepares graduates to seek Paramedic certification through the National Registry of EMTs and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Why We Chose Wizard Education

Among the top paramedic schools in Arizona, Wizard Education charges one of the highest tuition rates, though unlike other schools, their tuition fees also cover books and supplies. This is a huge plus for student who need to follow a strict budget and avoid unforeseen expenses while enrolled. We also chose Wizard Education because of the incredibly short length of their 10-month Paramedic Program. Of all the colleges in our list, Wizard Education’s paramedic training program is the shortest.

Location:

Peoria, AZ.

Wizard Education – Cost/ Tuition:

  • Estimated total program tuition (with books & supplies) – $8,450

For more information, scroll to page 15 of this document.

Financial Aid:

Wizard Education does not provide any form of student financial aid and does not participate in any federal or state financial aid programs.

Length of Program:

10 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, remote classrooms, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums

Quality of Instruction:

N/A

Graduate Satisfaction:

N/A

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

Current EMT certification, American Heart Association Healthcare Provider–CPR card, 2 years experience as an EMT preferred, but not required.

Other:

Wizard Education was established in 2003 for the sole purpose of providing advanced medical education and continuing education in the medical field. All instructional faculty members have professional EMS experience in addition to their knowledge of instructional methodologies.

13. Pima Medical Institute

Pima Medical Institute

This picture was taken from Pima Medical Institute.

Graduates of the Paramedic program at Pima Medical Institute will gain the skills and knowledge needed for advanced life support level care in pre-hospital environments. Topics covered include: anatomy and physiology, patient assessment, traumatic injuries, airway management and more.

Why We Chose Pima Medical Institute

Among the top Arizona paramedic schools in our list, PMI charges the highest tuition rate. However, the paramedic program at Pima Medical Institute is relatively short and their student retention rate ranked among the highest in the state.

Location:

Mesa, AZ.

Pima Medical Institute – Cost/ Tuition:

Approximately $14,335 per year. Click here for more information.

Financial Aid:

Financing and financial aid is available to qualified students.

Length of Program:

15 months.

Format:

Classroom lecture, labs, clinical rotations, and field practicums.

Quality of Instruction:

N/A

Graduate Satisfaction:

84% retention.

College Credit:

Yes.

Prerequisites:

Pass math exam, interview with college program director.

Other:

The Pima Medical Institute career services team, along with members of their staff and faculty, work to help students obtain positions in their chosen fields upon graduation. They assist students with job search, including updating resumes, interview tips and identifying current job openings.

Arizona Paramedic is More Than a Job

Requirements to be a paramedic are rigorous, the job is challenging, and the work environment is stressful and sometimes dangerous, but most paramedics find the work extremely rewarding. Being a paramedic requires a dedication to patient care. For many people, it’s not just a career, it’s a calling. Paramedic service isn’t for everyone, but for those who want to make a positive difference, it’s the job of a lifetime!

About Unitek EMT

Unitek EMT is a premier EMT training provider in Arizona. Our mission is simple: training the next wave of EMT professionals. We offer a variety of training options to fit your needs. Unitek EMT instructors are experienced leaders in their fields, and our ultra-real-world training scenarios are ideal for both new and seasoned students, with training the covers all major aspects of emergency medical services.

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