Can a felon become a paramedic?

What is a paramedic?

A paramedic provides immediate medical care to patients at the scene of an accident, injury, or emergency.

A paramedic is a licensed medical professional who can give basic medical treatment and administer drugs to patients before they are transferred to a hospital. A paramedic can also immobilize the victim to prevent further injury. 

Paramedics are supposed to be excellent navigators as they are the first responders at the accident spot and they transport the patient to the nearest hospital.

They respond to 911 and emergency calls from citizens and give basic care to patients on the field and it often plays an important role in saving their lives.

A paramedic usually works at places where emergency medical services are required such as an ambulance service or a hospital. They can also work in fire departments.

A paramedic is responsible for

  • Respond to 911
  • Access patient and administer medications
  • Drive ambulance and transport patient to the hospital.
  • Provide Basic emergency medical care on the field.
  • Perform some basic medical procedures if required.
  • Have a good understanding of anatomy and physiology.
  • Communicating patient information to Doctors and Nurses.

What education/training does a paramedic need?

In order to become a paramedic, the applicant must be

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must have a valid driving license
  • Must have a High School Diploma or GED
  • Must have a clean driving record

A paramedic has to complete a state-approved EMT course and also a CAAHEP-accredited paramedic program. EMT course usually takes less than 6 months whereas paramedic courses may take a year to complete.

Can a felon become a paramedic?

Paramedics are part of rescue teams. They are one of the first responders to a patient. A paramedic attends patients during the time of extreme physical and mental vulnerability and also have access to their personal belongings.

So a paramedic is expected to have high moral standards. Having a felony record does not make you ineligible automatically.

A lot of factors like the seriousness of the crime, whether or not it was a violent crime, the amount of time passed after the crime was committed, whether the nature of felony can obstruct you from performing your duties as a paramedic, and the nature of the crime itself play a deciding role.

There is a criminal conviction policy set by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) that states that people who have committed certain felonies like physical assault, sexual assault, burglary, theft, etc may be denied eligibility to take the certification exam.

Those who wish to apply for a paramedic certification exam must disclose all their felony convictions. 

Even after getting licensed as a paramedic, you still have to find employment with a hospital or ambulance service. Sometimes, your criminal history can come in way of getting a job as a paramedic.

Like in the case of any other job, this too is subject to rules set by employers. So make sure you research your potential employers and check how your offense can impact your job prospects before putting in the time and effort to become a paramedic.

Paramedic vs EMT

A paramedic and an EMT work in similar roles but there are a few differences in the kind of task they are allowed to do. Both are frontline workers providing emergency services.

EMT stands for Emergency Medical Technician. EMTs are entry-level patient care providers who provide basic emergency medical services that do not involve any invasive procedures. They usually work in ambulances and are also known as ambulance technicians. 

Paramedics are advanced than EMTs and are the highest level of emergency medical care professionals. They are highly educated on topics such as anatomy, physiology, cardiology, and medical procedures. They require much more advanced training than becoming an EMT.


If you are really passionate about becoming a paramedic and you get denied on the basis of your felony, you can appeal to the NREMT.

In some states, you can get your felony records sealed or expunged usually after a period of 8-10 years with the help of an attorney. Such records do not show up in background checks and it can boost your chances of securing employment as a paramedic.