Paramedic FAQs
Paramedic Program Images

Additional Contact Information

If you have questions regarding course requirements, you may contact:
  • Howard Michaels, M.D, Paramedic Director, (650) 949-6972
  • Charlie McKellar, Program Coordinator (650) 949-6955
  • Middlefield counseling: (650)949-6959.
    Or, you may schedule an appointment online by visiting the counseling site.
  • BH Division office, (650) 949-7249
  • Paramedic Job Posting Board
  • Foothill College
    Main Campus: (650) 949-7777


Q: What is a Paramedic?

A: The paramedic is a health care provider in the emergent out-of-hospital setting. The paramedic rapidly, continuously and systematically assesses patients, then renders treatment. Communication to a base hospital to receive treatment orders was once a common practice in the delivery of care to a patient in the out-of-hospital setting. Today, paramedics are licensed professionals who are more often than not, expected to work independently to assess and treat patients prior to arriving at an emergency department.

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Q: Where is the Paramedic Program held?

A: The Paramedic Program is held at the Middlefield Campus: 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, California, 94303 (one block north of San Antonio Road) in room C-2.

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Q: How long is the program?

A: The Paramedic Program runs 12 to 18 months in length. During the Fall quarter, students meet for 8-hour lectures on Tuesdays and 8-hour labs on Wednesdays. Lecture/labs begin at the end of September and finish at the end of June. During Winter quarter, students will also attend specialty rotations. During Spring quarter, students will also attend ED rotations. During Summer quarter, students will attend their Field Internship for their final phase of the program. The Field Internship requires between 480 and 720 hours of patient care, which accounts for the variable length of time in finishing the program.

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Q: When does the program begin and what do I have to do to be able to enroll?

A: Our paramedic program begins in September of every year. Please click here for a 2015 Paramedic Application. The application deadline is May 1, 2015, with classes starting in September 2015.

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Q: Are there prerequisites?

A: Yes. You must be a working EMT before applying to the Paramedic Program. Prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED certificate, a current BLS (CPR) certificate, a current EMT Basic Certificate, a minimum of six months full-time experience with an EMS provider agency, Anatomy & Physiology (minimum one quarter or one Semester) and meet technical standards.

MATH 220 or equivalent college level or placement into MATH 105 on the Foothill College placement test (Contact testing office 650/949-7230.) Eligible for ESL 25 or ENGL 110. (Contact testing office 650/949-7230.)

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Q: What are the rules if I am accepted into the program?

A: Here are the Criteria For Successful Completion. Updates and changes will occur during the summer for the next academic year, but this should give you an idea of general and specific program rules.

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Q: How do I get an application?

A: Please click here for a 2015 Paramedic Application. The application deadline is May 1, 2015, with classes starting in September 2015.

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Q: What is required as supporting documentation?

A: When submitting your application, you should include a copy of your high school diploma or GED certificate, a copy of a valid (current) EMT card, and a copy of a valid (current) CPR certificate. Also, you will need to submit official transcripts from any colleges you have attended, as well as proof of high school graduation (copy of diploma) or equivalent. If the Math and English prerequisites are not met through college courses, we will need to see official transcripts from high school, or Math/English placement test results. Call (650) 949-6958 for placement test information.

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Q: How much does the program cost?

A: Here's the approximate breakdown of Foothill's charges:
Enrollment & Basic Fees: please visit the fees page.
Books: $400 - $500
Materials/misc. costs: $500 - $600
Background/drug/fingerprinting costs: $150.

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Q: When are the classes held?

A: For Fall 2014, lectures are on Tuesdays from 8 am to 4:30 pm, and Labs are on Wednesdays from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

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Q: What certificate or degree can I earn?

A: Students can receive a Certificate of Completion after successful completion of the didactic, clinical and internship courses. Students may choose to continue their education and earn an Associate of Science Paramedic.

Also, Foothill College paramedic units may be applied to the San Jose State University Health Science program so that students can earn a B.S. in Health Science. Call SJSU at (408) 924-2976 for more information.

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Q: How can I better prepare myself for admission to Foothill's program?

A: The paramedic curriculum is intense and demanding. Many students find it difficult to keep up with the amount of information given to them on a weekly basis due to lack of previous experience with intense course work demands in a short period of time. Students are strongly encouraged to successfully complete college level courses that require a similar level of intensity and difficulty before applying to the program. Courses that are most similar and helpful are: mathematics (algebra, statistics, calculus), anatomy & physiology with a lab, chemistry with a lab, biology with a lab, physics with a lab. Courses in the Arts and Humanities departments are helpful but do not replicate the paramedic experience as well.

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Q: Can I work in other states as a paramedic?

A: A Paramedic who earns National Registry may work in other states that accept national registration as their reciprocity. Call the National Registry at (614) 888-4484 for more information.

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Q: What makes the Foothill College Paramedic Program different from other schools?

A: The Paramedic Program at Foothill College is quite unique with a long history dating back to 1974 through Stanford Hospital and then jointly through Foothill College in 1984. Because of the community college setting students at Foothill College enjoy access to computer labs, library, on site counseling, electronic classrooms, and inexpensive health care through Student Health Services. Additionally the community college setting allows the student to pursue an Associate of Science degree in Paramedic; most paramedic schools in California are private post secondary institutions without the ability to offer college credit.

Students attending the Paramedic Program at Foothill College visit the Stanford cadaver labs twice during the course to participate in a gross anatomy lesson and then again to perform procedures such as endotracheal intubation, intraosseous infusion, cricothyroidotomy, and pleural decompression.

The program is inexpensive with a philosophy of small class size and high quality education. The laboratory sessions are highly structured with procedures quantified and qualified. The program also has a high level of medical director involvement. Dr. Levis provides lectures and lab instruction frequently, so that the paramedic students have a great deal of interaction with a physician. The program has received four years of grant monies and has purchased lab equipment which is the exact equipment carried on an ambulance.

Each lab group of six students has a full compliment of ambulance equipment including but not limited to fully equipped respiratory bag, medication box, EKG and mannequin. The staff and faculty of the program are enthusiastic and committed to the program. The program continually strives to improve.

Q: Is there financial aid available for the paramedic program?

A: Yes! Foothill college offers a wide variety of fee waivers, scholarships and grants! Students applying for financial aid who are also enrolled in the paramedic program should be aware that the aid disbursement schedule and requirements differs from other programs. We strongly recommend you speak with a representative from the Financial Aid Office to fully understand the differences so there are no surprises with your funding during the program. Please contact Financial Aid at (650) 949-7245, (650) 949-6987, or email at

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