Many felons feel that time in prison has upset their prospects. Certainly, with longer sentences, this can be the case. But for those with ambition in medicine, there are still options.
One of the best medical jobs for felons is being a paramedic. But, can a felon become a paramedic?
While it can be hard for a felon to join the medical field, it is not impossible.
Let’s begin by looking at what a paramedic’s job entails
What Is a Paramedic?
A paramedic is a healthcare professional. They attend to medical emergencies. They are skilled pre-hospital service providers. Paramedics are trained up to the same level as those that attend hospital emergency rooms.
They are qualified to cater to acute cases of sickness or injuries. People rely on the swiftness and care of paramedics to save them.
The role primarily involves:
1 Responding to emergency calls
2 Assessing the patient’s condition and providing on-site medical assistance
3 Transporting patients to medical facilities
4 Generate patient care reports detailing medical care provided
5 Sanitizing the vehicle and ensuring sufficient stock of medical supplies
Being a paramedic can be difficult work. Often, the cases can require going into deadly situations. Also, paramedics have to be on call no matter the weather. They can end up attending to patients either outdoors or indoors.
Paramedics typically work in pairs. One does the driving while the other attends to the patient in the back. This is when in transit.
Paramedics are often seen operating from ambulances. They can also work as helicopter crews.
There are some differences between paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).
Paramedics vs EMTs
Paramedics are more qualified than EMTs. They can provide more extensive patient care that EMTs cannot. This can include:
- Administering of intravenous or oral medications
- Analysis of electrocardiograms (EKGs)
- Inserting IV lines
- Applying pacemakers
The key difference between the two is their level of education. And, what they are allowed to do.
EMTs tend to be many more than paramedics. Hence, it is not unusual to see a paramedic paired with an EMT. Also, you can have just two EMTs working in the same ambulance.
How to Become a Paramedic?
A paramedic is the topmost level of EMT certification. They provide advanced life support to patients.
Besides basic and advanced EMT training, they also pursue other education. They go into such areas as:
- Medical procedures
- Drug administration
Many paramedics will first train as EMTs and work for one to two years in this role. They then take up more college training to become a paramedic. Paramedic courses will take anywhere between 1,200-1,800 hours.
After training, a candidate must sit the National Paramedic Certification (NPC) exam. They then become certified via the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
Some states may have extra exams that must be done to become certified. These will have to be passed to earn the state license needed to practice.
To take up most paramedic courses, a student must:
1 Be at least 18 years old
2 Have graduated high school or earned their GED
3 Possess a valid driver’s license
4 Have passed CPR certification
They will also need to pass certain eligibility tests. These include fitness, color vision, and manual dexterity.
Once a paramedic has their license, they need to keep it up. This means renewing it every two years.
This may require taking certain cognitive exams or pursuing continuing education. At least 60 hours of continuing education is a must for recertification.
Can A Felon Become a Paramedic?
State laws can vary on who is allowed to become a paramedic. However, the NREMT does outline certain disqualifiers. Their Criminal Conviction Policy covers this.
The NREMT notes that EMTs have unsupervised contact with patients at their most vulnerable. As such, through their Criminal Conviction Policy, they disqualify:
- Those convicted of felonies involving sexual or physical assault, child or elderly abuse
- Felonies involving crimes against property including theft, robbery, and burglary
- Those that entered a plea of guilty, made a plea agreement, or no contest
It is a must for applicants sitting exams to divulge any convictions. Failure to do so may result in denial to sit the exam.
When reviewing a felon applicant’s application, NREMT will consider:
- Nature and severity of the crime
- If the crimes relate to the duties of an EMT
- Time elapsed since the crime was committed
- If the applicant is a repeat offender
- If the applicant’s history is in line with a person bestowed public trust
- Whether the applicant has completed the entirety of their sentence
If denied by the NREMT, an applicant may file an appeal. Note that passing NREMT exams does not assure one can work as a paramedic. State licensing boards may differ on this.
Also, most paramedic jobs come from hospitals and ambulance services. These bodies may have policies against hiring felons. This can make it hard to find work.
Tips to Getting Hired
Having a record expunged is the best option. You do not have to reveal your record if you have earned this relief. You will need to consult a lawyer to find out if you qualify for this.
Some states are also allowing for a reduction of charges. This means you can have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor. More so if it was a one-time offense and quite old.
You may also want to check on state laws on licensing of felons. If you find the state you reside in is stringent, consider moving. Check out our list of most felon friendly states where you can find better chances.
Joining the medical field can be tough for those with criminal records. There are strict licensing rules that apply.
Not to mention, employers that are wary of being sued. Do hospitals run background checks? Yes, they do.
Carry out research into the licensing requirements in your state. If it does not pan out, do not be discouraged.
There are other options. Check out our list of highest paying jobs for felons. Here you can find other rewarding careers to pursue.
Building a career can be hard but possible. Many people switch to entirely new fields in their midlife. Dig into your options and pursue what sparks your interest most. Focus on those jobs you have real chances of succeeding.