EMS students practicing CPR

Paramedic Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Paramedic?

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.

Q: Where is the Paramedic Program held?

The Paramedic Program is currently held at the new Foothill College Sunnyvale Center, 1070 Innovation Way, Sunnyvale, CA  94089.  For more information on our campus, click here: Sunnyvale Campus

Q: How are applicants selected into the program?

Currently, we select students via a lottery system, provided that applicants have met all the prerequisites.  Applications and all supporting documents must be received by the deadline.  Although we do not select students on a first-come, first serve basis, we do recommend that applicants submit their application package early.

Q: How long is the program?

The Paramedic Program runs 15 to 18 months in length. During the first, second and third quarters, students meet for lectures and labs. The second quarter will also attend specialty rotations and attend cadaver labs. During the fourth quarter, students will attend ED rotations. In the fifth and sixth quarters, 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.

Q: Are there prerequisites?

Yes. You must be a working EMT before applying to the Paramedic Program.

Prerequisites include

  • high school diploma or GED certificate
  • current BLS (CPR) certificate
  • current EMT Basic Certificate
  • minimum of three months full-time experience with an EMS provider agency (480 hours)
  • Anatomy & Physiology (minimum one quarter or one Semester) and meet technical standards.
  • Elementary Algebra (formerly MATH 220) or higher, high school Algebra, or placing into Math 105 on the Foothill College placement test (Contact testing office 408.745.8025.)
  • Eligible for ESL 25 or ENGL 110. (Contact testing office 408.745-8025.)

Note that Anatomy & Physiology does not need to be completed by the application deadline.  As long as you start the A&P class before the deadline and provide proof you are enrolled, you are allowed to finish the class even if the class finishes after the deadline.  Other prerequisites (Math, English, 480 hours of EMT work, etc) must be completed by the application deadline.

Also, the program only needs to see the front of  your EMT and CPR cards.  Please do not make copies of the backs of your cards when you submit an application.

Q: What are the rules for meeting the Anatomy/Physiology requirement?

You must take a minimum one quarter or one semester of Anatomy & Physiology.  You may take either a combined A&P class, or separate Anatomy and Physiology classes.  We do not accept online-only A&P classes, but a hybrid class is acceptable.  Foothill also accepts the NCTI Anatomy/Physiology class, although we recommend taking an A&P class that is more in-depth.   To allow flexibility, the class does not need to be finished by the application deadline, but you do need to show proof (official trancripts) that you have at least started the A&P class by the deadline.

Foothill College does offer a 3-quarter A&P series, Biology 40A, 40B and 40C.  Should you take your A&P classes through Foothill, only Bio 40A would be required.  However, we encourage students to take/complete the entire 3-class series as there is a lot of Anatomy/Physiology in the paramedic curriculum and a greater knowledge of A&P would be more beneficial.

Q: How do I get an application?

Please go to our  Application Web Page to download the current application. 

Q: When will applications be available?

Generally, online applications will be available around the beginning of January, with an application deadline of May 15th for classes that start in the Fall.

Q: What is required as supporting documentation?

When submitting your application, you should include

  • copy of your high school diploma or GED certificate.  Note that regardless of any college degrees you may of obtained, you still need to provide proof of high school graduation.  We will accept either high school transcripts or a copy of your diploma.
  • copy of a valid (current) EMT card (front only)
  • copy of a valid (current) CPR cert. (front only)
  • official transcripts from any colleges you have attended
  • Copy of your Drivers License (front only)







 If the Math and English prerequisites are not met through college courses,  we will need official transcripts from high school, or Math/English placement test results.  Call 408.745.8025 for placement test information

Q: Can I turn in other documents (additional certifications, letters of recommendation, etc...) with my application?

We don't require any additional documents other than what is required for the prerequisites, but feel free to turn in any additional items that you feel is important in letting us know who our applicants are!

Q: How much does the program cost?

The entire program is approximately $4,500 (CA residents).  Internship fees are extra and set by the internship site.  Please refer to the paramedic program application process for more detailed information.  Prices are subject to change without prior notification.

Q: When are the classes held?

Our next cohort startnig Fall 2019 will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, beginning September 24th.  We have a new paramedic program starting every 12 months.

Q: What certificate or degree can I earn?

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.

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

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 include:

  • mathematics (algebra, statistics, calculus)
  • anatomy & physiology with a lab
  • chemistry with a lab
  • biology with a lab

Courses in the Arts and Humanities departments are helpful but do not replicate the paramedic experience as well.

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

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

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

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?

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 and that financial aid may not be available during the internship phase of the program should your internship extend past your last quarter of registration.  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 or go to their website at foothill.edu/financialaid.

Foothill College is also proud to offer the Christopher Meadows Memorial EMS Education Fund to qualified paramedic students. This is to honor the memory of Christopher Meadows who was killed while responding to a medical call at Oceano Dunes in Southern California. For more information and to apply for this scholarship, please go to charitysmith.org/memorial-funds/christopher-meadows

Sunnvyale Center Building

We're Here to Help!

Tracy Villanueva, EMS Program Director


Sunnyvale Center, 1070 Innovation Way, Sunnyvale, 94089