Every student has their own list of highlights, but some that we hear over and over again when we ask students about their favorite parts of training include:

  • Our "Sick/Not Sick" drill early on in Shoreline where students hone their ability to make quick decisions with limited information.
  • Our Code Drill series, with it's MegaCode final on Bainbridge Island where students lead crews through a prolonged cardiac arrest scenario, including (hopefully) saving the patient, transporting and delivering him/her to the "emergency room", and presenting that patient to a waiting "staff" of physicians and fellow students.
  • Our Pediatrics drill in Redmond where students get invaluble reps taking care of the smallest of patients.
  • Our Trauma Rodeo series, with it's capstone day in Bellevue where students lead fire crews in the care and transport of terrifically moulaged actors in various high-fidelity trauma scenarios.
  • The daily, nearly unlimited access to the Seattle Fire Department and to Harborview Medical Center that provides for countless interactions with patients and professionals alike, laying the foundation of experience for a long and satisfying career in Paramedicine.

It costs approximately $25,000 to train one paramedic student in our program.  In other programs, the student pays their own tuition. However, student tuition for our program is provided via the Medic One Foundation.  Students need only cover their own personal expenses (housing, food, etc.). Some agencies assist with some of these costs. The ability of students to focus solely on the material and their training without the distraction of student debt at the end of the program is a truly unique gift provided by generous donors who give to the Medic One Foundation.  

The 1975 King County Council resolution mandates that all Paramedics practicing in King County go through our training program, so even previously trained paramedics with extensive history practicing elsewhere are required to successfully complete this program to work here.  Students with prior classroom and field experience will have the benefit of that training, but there is still plenty to learn!  Many previously-trained Paramedics tell us this program pushed them to grow in their medicine, leadership, and teamwork.  

Our program is unique. We require every student entering our training program be employed by a paramedic agency, on salary while in the program, and guaranteed a paramedic position upon successful completion of this program. This ensures 100% job placement for all of our students once they have graduated.

Currently the University of Washington does not offer college credits for the Paramedic Training Program. We hope to someday offer a Bachelors degree in Paramedicine. However, with an articulation agreement in place, a student who graduates from our program is eligible for 39 credits towards a Bachelor's degree in Paramedicine with the University of Pittsburgh.

Students must be employed by a Fire Department or EMS agency and nominated for the upcoming class by that agency.

Additional prerequisites for the class are:

  • A current EMT certification.
  • A college level Math and English class.
  • A valid Washington State driver's license.

Students are chosen for the program by their own fire department through a highly competitive selection process. The civilian pathway, equally as rigorous, is through King County EMS. For details on King County EMS's hiring policy and process, please contact them directly.

Each agency is responsible for selecting their own candidates for training, and generally do so based on minimum standards of EMT competence and experience working as an EMT-Basic. Testing processes vary by department, but generally include written, psychomotor, and oral exams (testing EMT-B level skills and knowledge) and may include psychological exam and/or medical screening. Once selected by the agency, the candidate is then interviewed by Paramedic Training prior to final acceptance into the program.

Previous patient contacts are critical to success in the program; we suggest at least 5000 patient contacts as an EMT will make for smoother learning the leadership & medicine of becoming a Paramedic.

Please see "Our Partners" page and contact individual departments for details.

The Paramedic program is a 10-month competency-based program; each of the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning domain's building blocks must be mastered before the student is allowed to advance to the next level. Because pre-hospital Paramedicine ultimately deals with life and death decisions, it is imperative that each student be trained to the highest of standards.  In some situations, students may not progress at the same rate as the rest of the class, as some individuals will require additional time or practice to become skilled in particular areas.

This number varies from year to year, based on the needs of the agencies we serve.  Typical class sizes are 16 to 18 with a maximum of 24 students. This means lots of experience and individual attention for each student. 

The answer to this varies by department, but once a student has graduated from our program, they return home newly-minted Paramedics.  Many departments require a period of agency- or county-specific training or re-entry procedures before the new Paramedic can fully begin their new job.  You should expect a period of additional study of drugs, protocols and policies that are specific to your home agency, and which may be different than what you learned in Seattle.  Many students will be assigned a more senior partner to work with initially, and may have a probationary period while the department continues to observe and develop the new Paramedic. 

As a graduate of this program, many paramedics return to the Paramedic Training classroom as guest instructors, mentors and evaluators.  It's a great way to further develop your skills, and to keep in touch with the program that helped form your practice.     

Evaluations come in many forms during training.  You can expect regular written tests (fill in the blank, multiple choice, essay, calculation, etc) along with a variety of practical assessments.  Practical assessment may be informal, such as discussion after a call with your senior paramedics, or it may be the more formalized written Paramedic and Physician Evaluations that occur towards the end of the program.  We'll use video recall, peer feedback, and checklists during classroom labs to help evaluate areas of strength and weakness.  You'll be expected to be self-critical in discussions of your performance in regular meetings with the Program Director and Paramedic training staff.  Near the end of the program, students will complete the National Registry Paramedic Test, a multiphase scenario, practical and oral board process. 

While not mandatory during training, many students find living in or near Seattle to be very important to their success during training.  Hours are long, and the schedule sometimes chaotic, and every bit of time commuting is time that might be better spent studying or sleeping!  A number of departments do offer assistance with or provide accommodation near Harborview for their students.  Check with your agency for details.  Even if yours doesn't, consider exploring options with fellow students.  While time away from your home and family is an understandably challenging part of Paramedic Training, the benefits of not having to worry about the notoriously bad Seattle traffic and have the opportunity to sneak "home" for a few hours between classes are well worth it for many students.

Yes. Some benefits may help service members and eligible veterans cover costs associated with this education and training program. The GI Bill has several programs and each is administrated differently -- depending on a person's eligibility and duty status.

Please see https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/ for more details. 

Washington State Paramedic, National Registry EMT Paramedic

Classes are taught by a variety of subject matter experts.  Regular lecturers include the Program Director, Seattle Fire Department's Medical Director, and Paramedic Training staff (all former Harborview-trained paramedics).  Guest lectures include currently practicing paramedics from various departments in the region, physicians, nurses, and other experts in their specialty fields.  You'll learn from neurologists, pediatricians, cardiologists, internal medicine and critical care physicians, trauma surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, OB/GYNs, and anesthesiologists, as you study each of their areas of expertise.  You'll be taught ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) and other standardized courses by certified trainers.  You'll have individual education in clinical rotations with anesthesia professionals in the OR, nurses and physicians in the various ICUs, nurses and physicians at Seattle Children's Hospital ED & OR, social workers at DESC (Downtown Emergency Services Center) and more.  On the rigs, you'll be partnered with an experienced pair of Seattle Fire Department paramedics to work alongside as you care for patients.

Busy!  This is an immersive experience, so prepare to jump in to a full and complex schedule as a student.  Our educational model incorporates both didactic classroom experience and field internship in parallel rather than in serially.  This means weeks can be as long as 60 hours in the week, typically less.  Students will be assigned to one of four groups for Medic Unit/field rotations; two day shifts (0730-1730) and two night shifts (1730-0730) per eight day rotation.  For example, a student might work A shift days and C shift nights.  Early on, when classroom sessions are plentiful, you may be released from the rig early to get a good night's sleep at home before a full day of classroom learning, but eventually, you'll transition to riding on the rigs all night-- and filling the down hours with caring for patients in the Harborview ED.  Being able to think clearly and practice medicine efficiently at all hours of the day and night is one of the trademarks of an exceptional Paramedic.