UCHealth offers 12-month program to become a paramedic


A new 12-month program, Medical Education on the Delivery of Innovative Care (MEDIC), is being offered by UCHealth, designed for certified and experienced EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) who want to become paramedics. The advantage of this program over others is that it is provided at the University of Colorado Hospital, offering opportunities for hands-on training in a variety of hospital settings, including the emergency department and intensive care units because the program is administered by the hospital’s Department of Prehospital Care.

According to the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care, EMTs are trained to assess a patient to determine if there are any life-threatening injuries or illnesses. They can administer CPR to a patient in cardiac arrest, oxygen if required to assist breathing, some medications, and even deliver a baby if necessary. Typical training is around 170 hours. 

Paramedic training builds on EMT training, usually consisting of 1,200 to 1,800 hours over six to 12 months. The training includes courses in cardiology, anatomy & physiology, starting intravenous lines, interpreting EKG results, and administering life-saving medical treatment at the scene of accidents and traumatic emergencies. 

Professional firefighters are typically certified EMTs because, the National Fire Protection Association tells us, two-thirds of all fire department calls across the country are for medical assistance. To be even more effective at treating patients in the field before or in lieu of admitting them to the hospital, fire departments everywhere, including Colorado, are seeking more certified paramedics.

The MEDIC program was created by the University of Colorado Hospital in partnership with the Aurora Fire Department and opened its doors in April 2023. Its first group of future paramedics are Aurora firefighters who began their 12-month training program, designed around firefighters’ schedules, in May. 

The next paramedic class will begin September 5. To be eligible, students must hold current EMT certification. Classes meet weekly on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 pm, plus one Saturday each month. Applications are being accepted through September 1. Tuition for the yearlong program is $11,000. Financial assistance sources are available. 

In addition to working as first responders on ambulances, S.W.A.T. teams, and with fire departments, paramedics can provide services in hospital emergency departments, at special events, and even on cruise ships.