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Welcome to the Polk State College Emergency Medical Services (EMS) website. We hope this website provides answers to your questions regarding this program. The intent of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program is to ensure that its participants receive adequate training and instruction to begin and enjoy a career in the out-of-hospital emergency medicine field. Various healthcare providers work in the fast-paced EMS environment.

The Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) is the first-tier EMS care provider that provides the initial, hands-on emergency care until the next level of EMS provider arrives on the scene. EMR students are trained in all facets of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and choking emergencies, according to most current American Heart Association guidelines, and various other aspects of basic life support (BLS) measures.

The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is the second-tier care provider on the EMS career ladder. EMT students learn additional basic life support (BLS) measures, which include patient assessment, oxygen therapy, shock management, spinal immobilization, vehicle extrication, and medication administration/assistance. In addition, since EMTs often work alongside the paramedic, various advanced life support measures are discussed and the means by which the EMT can assist with these measures is obtained.

The Paramedic is the third-tier care provider on the EMS career ladder. The paramedic arrives at the emergency scene in an advanced life support ambulance and assumes patient care duties from the EMT and/or EMR. The paramedic functions as the out-of-hospital team leader by coordinating care provided by EMRs and EMTs. Paramedics are trained in advanced life support measures such as venipuncture, intravenous therapy, endotracheal intubation, medication administration, EKG interpretation, electrical therapy, and defibrillation.

The EMS degree program is designed as an option for anyone seeking a career in the EMS, fire, and/or public safety arenas. Even though a career in this field can be obtained via certificate programs, future promotion in these fields requires individuals to obtain an AS degree. Polk State’s AS degree in EMS requires successful completion of the Emergency Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Technology, and Paramedic certificate programs in addition to the general education requirements. Potential employment for those trained in the EMS career tiers are available in both the public and private industries and include fire departments, non-emergency patient transportation companies, ambulance services, hospital emergency departments, industrial health and safety organizations, and various other public safety related companies or agencies. Typically, EMS professionals who have attained an AS degree, promote to work in educational, administrative, or advanced clinical settings.


In order to apply for graduation, participants must complete both the Emergency Medical Technology, A.T.D. and the Paramedic Certificate programs. Each of these certificate programs has individual entrance requirements. Thus, students are advised to review the Emergency Medical Technology, A.T.D. (Program # B8130) and the Paramedic Certificate (Program # 68160) information located within this catalog for specific prerequisite information. In addition, since the Paramedic Certificate is a limited admission program prospective students should review the admission procedures and information page.

Potential Earnings

Salary varies based on the certification tier attained, amount of experience, and other job-related qualifications. The range of salaries typically ranges from $25,000 – $48,000 annually.

Program Cost

The approximate cost to complete the degree program is $8,700. This includes course fees, lab fees, books, uniforms, and other estimated costs.