Become a Paramedic | Mercy College of Health Sciences
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Our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) major prepares competent entry-level paramedics at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Responder levels. With a wide range of class formats (online, hybrid, and face-to-face), you can become a life-saving paramedic and earn a certificate or associate degree from Mercy College of Health Sciences. We also offer skills labs in Clinton, Creston, and Des Moines, Iowa!

Need to complete your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course? We can help with that, too!

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Median Wage1


Success Rate: National Registry of EMT Paramedic/State Cognitive Exam


Positive Placement


Retention Rate


Projected Job Growth from 2018 – 20281



Our EMS major includes classroom instruction, practice in skills labs, and clinical experiences in a variety of hospital, clinic, and ambulance service-based care settings. You’ll receive the academic and clinical experiences necessary to become a caring, ethical, and competent healthcare worker effective in high stress situations. Our EMS major will prepare you for patient care, leadership, and administrative roles. The goal of our EMS major is to prepare competent entry-level paramedics in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains with or without exit points at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), or Emergency Medical Responder levels.

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

Background Preparation

You will need to complete an approved Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training program before applying for our certificate or Associate of Science in EMS majors. Following your EMT course, you will be required to complete a Mercy College EMT comprehensive written and skills exam. If you’re interested in our Associate of Science in EMS degree, you will also need to have completed the Mercy College Paramedic Certification Program, or provide proof of working toward certification/licensure as a national registered paramedic or Iowa paramedic specialist.


Clinical Experience

In addition to classroom instruction, our students participate in 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.


Skills labs are available in Clinton, Creston, and Des Moines, Iowa, and contain hybrid learning formats consisting of online lectures and in-person skills labs.

Are you a Military Medic 68W? If so, you may be eligible to receive five academic credits toward your paramedic license!




The Emergency Medical Services program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. ( upon recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions  (CoAEMSP).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
9355 – 113th St. N, #7709
Seminole, FL 33775

To contact CoAEMSP:
8301 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 111-312
Rowlett, TX 75088
Phone: 214.703.8445
Fax: 214.703.8992


Our full-time faculty’s credentials and experiences reflect our unique position as the only paramedic training program offered by a four-year college in Iowa. Each of our full-time EMS faculty have earned at least a four-year degree and possess over 75 years of combined EMS experience. Our dedicated team also includes adjunct EMS faculty and trauma center physicians with backgrounds in flight medicine, military medicine, forensics, and EMS department administration, resulting in a wealth of knowledge of the classroom.

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Paramedic tuition only applies to EMS-### courses. Students taking additional coursework may incur additional charges.

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English isn’t my parents’ first language, but everyone at Mercy College went above and beyond to make sure we understood the admissions and financial aid processes. The hands-on learning opportunities in my classes have been a huge help in preparing me for my licensure exams and setting me on my path to a successful career.

Irma S., Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Healthcare Administration Candidate, 2021

The Emergency Medical Sciences program is a direct admit program. When you are admitted to Mercy College of Health Sciences, you are admitted into the Paramedic major! To get started, complete the FREE online Mercy College application. If you are transferring credits, please visit our transfer page to learn more.

Once you have been admitted to the major, you will need to provide evidence of your current Iowa EMT certification to be eligible to register for courses in the paramedic curriculum. You will also participate in a program success orientation to determine what resources currently offered by Mercy College may be of benefit to you.

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The following courses are required to earn your Paramedic Certificate and Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services.

EMS 110 – Foundations of Paramedic Practice I (4 cr)

EMS 111 – Foundations of Paramedic Practice II (3 cr)

EMS 112 – EMS Skills Lab I of Paramedic Practice II (2 cr)

EMS 113 – Clinical I (2 cr)

EMS 114 – Field Practicum I (1 cr)

EMS 130 – Management of Medical Emergencies (4 cr)

EMS 131 – Management of Traumatic Emergencies (3 cr)

EMS 132 – EMS Skills Lab II (1 cr)

EMS 133 – Clinical II (2 cr)

EMS 134 – Field Practicum II (2 cr)

EMS 160 – Care of Special Populations (3 cr)

EMS 161 – EMS Operations (3 cr)

EMS 162 – Transition to EMS Team Leader (2 cr)

EMS 163 – Clinical III (2 cr)

EMS 164 – Field Practicum III (2 cr)


To earn your Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services, you must complete an additional 30 credits to satisfy the Core requirements.


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The Emergency Medical Services major has one start date per year in the fall. View our full academic calendar for exact semester start dates. Pre-requisites and Core requirements may be completed at Mercy College of Health Sciences year-round.

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National Registry of EMT Paramedic/State
Cognitive Success Rate Exam

Positive Placement

Retention Rate

National Registry of EMT Paramedic/State
Cognitive Success Rate Exam


Positive Placement


Retention Rate


1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, EMTs and Paramedics.

†The most current CoAEMSP Annual Report was for the calendar year 2022.

†The most recent success rate for the National Registry of EMT Paramedic/State Written exam was 74.2%.

†The most recent positive placement rate for graduates was 72.7%. Positive placement is defined by the CoAEMSP as ‘Employed full or part-time in a related field and/or continuing his/her education and/or serving in the military. Positive placement is measured at the completion of the program. The most recent retention rate was 78.6%.


Next step before transforming into a life-saving hero: complete the form below. Our admissions team will get you all the info you need to know.

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Admissions: (515) 635-1133
General: (515) 643-3180


Mercy College of Health Sciences has been transforming students into healthcare professionals since 1899. Located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, we offer master’s degreesbachelor’s degreesassociate degreescertificate programs, and continuing education courses.

Mercy College is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), in addition to numerous programmatic accreditors.

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