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Paramedic or Emergency Medical Services Certificate or Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services

Our Program  Licensure/Certification Rates  How to Apply  Background Preparation     Clinical Experience     Faculty    
Job Outlook     Gainful Employment

Emergency Medical Services

Become a Paramedic. A paramedic provides the highest level of advanced pre-hospital care available, with critical skills to intervene in life-threatening emergencies. As a paramedic you will provide care and compassion as you help individuals and families through life-threatening situations. You will be part of the patient’s emergency team, and you’ll use cardiac monitoring, defibrillation, medication administration and many other advanced medical procedures.

Our Program

Mercy has provided EMS education in Central Iowa for over 30 years. Our EMS program has held National Accreditation for over 20 years. Only a handful of EMS Programs in Iowa have national accreditation. Even fewer have maintained this standard of excellence for over 20 years. Currently, our EMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Our program includes classroom instruction, practice in skills lab, and clinical experience in a variety of hospital, clinic, and ambulance service-based care settings. You'll receive the academic and clinical experiences needed to become a caring, ethical and competent health care worker effective in high stress situations. We will prepare you for patient care, leadership, and administrative roles.

We have one of the highest retention rates of any EMS education program in Iowa (90%), and our certification exam success rate is also one of the highest among EMS education programs.

At Mercy, we have the only Associate of Science degree out of all EMS programs in Iowa. Upon completion of either the Paramedic or EMS certificate, students may take an additional 35 credit hours (including coursework in liberal arts and sciences) to earn an Associate of Science Completion degree. Paramedic certificate students will also need to complete BIO 133 and BIO 134 as prerequisites to the ASEMS degree.

Once you successfully complete these programs, you have the opportunity to advance into the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration or Health Science degree programs at Mercy College. 

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Licensure and Certification First Time Pass Rates

National Percent (2011)

Mercy 3-year average

Number who passed exam or certification (last 3 years)

Number who took exam or certification (last 3 years)





How to Apply

Our paramedic program is conducted during fall, spring, and summer semesters each year. Once you have completed that curriculum, you may be admitted into the Associate of Science Completion degree program and take one or more courses per semester--choose the pace that's right for you.

Applications to the certificate programs must be received by the Office of Admissions for fall admission by June 15; for spring admission by October 15; for summer admission by March 15. Your admission into this program is on a competitive basis, so early application is encouraged. Following general College admission, students may enroll in Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) courses in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences prior to admission into the EMS program.

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Background Preparation

You need to complete an approved Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic training program before applying for either our certificate or associate of science EMS programs followed by a Mercy College EMT-Basic comprehensive written and skills exam. For admission into our EMS Certificate or Associate of Science Completion degree, you will also need to complete one year high school (or college equivalent) algebra I, biology and English coursework. Additionaly, applicants for admission to the Associate of Science degree also need to provide proof of working toward certification/licensure as a national registered paramedic or Iowa paramedic specialist, or have completed the Mercy College Paramedic Certification Program. Students are encouraged to take LAS courses at Mercy College to meet any unmet program requirements above.

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Clinical Experience

In addition to classroom instruction, our program puts you on the front lines of emergency care, where you will be taught by seasoned professionals in real-world critical situations. You will also work at Mercy affiliate locations and at many other leading health care organizations in central Iowa to gain hands-on learning throughout your course of study. Our students perform during clinical rotations in emergency departments, surgery, intensive care units, obstetrical units and pediatric intensive care units. Field internships are provided for you through local EMS departments and paramedic-level EMS crews.

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Overseen by our dedicated program chair, our staff inlcudes local trauma center physicians and specialized experts with over 60 years of EMS experience. They bring experience in flight medicine, EMS and Fire department administration, tactical EMS, and offer a wealth of knowledge ot the classroom.

Job Outlook

Once you’ve completed your paramedic certification or EMS degree, you’ll have the knowledge and exposure to become nationally certified and employable. EMS personnel can work in a variety of settings including 911 ambulance services, non-emergency transfer services, flight medicine, hospital emergency departments, fire departments, occupational safety departments and many other fields. Check out http://www.naemt.org/ for more information on EMS careers.

Gainful Employment

To view the graduation, employment, tuition, and debt information referred to as the "Gainful Employment Disclosures", please click here for the 8 month program or click here for the 12 month program.


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