I use to have very strong opinions regarding prerequisites for a paramedic program. I thought that an EMT certification plus one year experience should be required.
Now I have to wonder why would we require paramedics to be EMTs prior to being paramedics? Do nursing programs require a LPN certification before becoming an RN (Yes, actually there are some nursing programs out there that make you sit for your LPN before moving on to the RN)? Are doctors or physician assistants required to be paramedics, nurses or medical assistants before enrolling in medical school or a PA program? Not that I know of, you can have no experience in medicine and still get in to med school, so why are EMS educational programs sticking with the antiquated EMT before paramedic path?
I believe that the right paramedic program can take someone with no medical experience and turn out paramedics. That is the catch, the right program. Most paramedic programs around me assume that the potential students are all EMTs and they take the knowledge that the EMTs are suppose to have for granted, although not every EMT has maintained their knowledge base to make it practical. The instructors spend time reviewing information that the EMT should know, so what was the purpose of requiring EMT certification for entry to the paramedic program?
Some EMTs want to become paramedics, but not all. We need to rethink how we educate the providers, paramedics are doing more and we need to be able to educate them to be able to provide out of hospital care in to the future.