Battle of the subject matter experts!
Since the adoption of the 1999 DOT National EMT-Paramedic Curricula most training programs for paramedicine have been forced into the community colleges, teaching hospitals or universities. The National Association of EMS Educators were contracted by the Department of Transportation (NHTSA) to update the curricula and that was one of their goals.
A paramedic program that is accredited by CoAEMSP (http://www.coaemsp.org) represents about 28 semester hours of a 60 semester associate degree.
Add four to six semester hours to obtain EMT-Basic and CPR.
Add four to eight semester hours for Anatomy and Physiology (Science with Lab) - required class for the paramedic program
Add six semester hours for English Composition
Add three semester hours for a math class
Add three to nine semester hours for social science and humanities
And you have accumulated 45 to 53 semester hours of a 60 semester hour associate of applied science.
Passion and dedication aside, firefighter candidates with a National Registry EMT-Paramedic certification will receive preferential consideration.
In some departments it is a mandatory pre-employment requirement. In many other departments it will trump all other preferential employment considerations or mandates. The only exception is when the preferential consideration is a component of a court consent decree.
My recommendation: Obtain an EMT-Paramedic certfication if it significantly improves your attractiveness to the employer of your choice. Obtaining the associate degree is generally not as critical.
Passing the mandated paramedic and science classes completes more than 60% of the work to get the degree. Be aware that some colleges will not allow you to sit for the national registry paramedic exam until you have completed all of the associate degree requirements.
This is what I posted for the northern Virginia firefighter candidates:
Michael Ward is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University, where he runs the undergraduate distance education programs for Emergency Paramedicine and EMS Management. http://www.gwumc.edu/healthsci/Programs/EHS/ehs_bs.htm
A retired firefighter/paramedic from a large urban county fire department, Ward also has twenty years experience as a community college educator, including five years as the fire science program head. http://www.nvcc.edu/home/mward/index.html
Ward is the primary author of Fire Officer: Principles and Practice that was published by Jones and Bartlett for NFPA and IAFC in 2005. http://www.nvcc.edu/home/mward/hmtl%...ook%20info.htm