Can a Felon Become a Paramedic?

You’ve served your sentence and completed all terms of your conviction. You’re ready to do something meaningful with your life.

Finding the perfect job right out of prison may seem a little overwhelming. It will be important to your success to have a lot of support as you move forward in your path.

It may be appealing to you to become a Paramedic. This job will give you the opportunity to save lives and help people in need.

What Do Paramedics Do?

Paramedics are the first responders to incidents. They generally deal with people on the worst days of their lives.

A Paramedic takes care of people in the field. From psychiatric care to medical care you will help them survive. Paramedics have to be compassionate and empathetic when dealing with patients.

You must also be trustworthy and reliable. Lives are in your hands and it’s important to do a good job.

Paramedics have to drive an ambulance in stressful conditions. They have to know what medicine and how much to administer depending on what’s wrong with the patient. In this line of work quick and accurate decisions save lives.

Your ability to do this job well depends on your skills. If you think it is right for you then don’t give up hope yet, your conviction may not stop you in some circumstances.

What are the Qualifications and Licenses?

The answer to this question depends on which state you live in. The standard process is similar throughout:

  • Complete basic training. This can take 6 months – 2 years.
  • 120-150 hours of course work. This means you’ll have to enroll in a Community College. There are grants and programs that you can apply for to pay your tuition.
  • National or State Exams. You can retake the tests, or you’ll have to do more course work.

Paramedic training teaches you the skills you’ll need to work in the field. The criteria may vary depending on the state you live in.

Getting the Job

Your success in earning the job will depend on the nature of your crime. Felonies range from murder to theft. It may not be as hard to get the job if your felony was non-violent and it was a long time ago. If you’ve completed rehabilitation and your sentence you can get the job.

Due to the closeness with vulnerable patients and unsupervised role. It is vital to protect the public from any person who may cause harm to someone in need of care.

For hiring managers, it will be important to prove that you will not harm someone. Being an upstanding citizen for a long time will be a great step in pushing you to your goals.

Becoming a paramedic means taking tests for your certifications. You will have to apply, a review process takes place before you can try to test.

Several factors play into your ability to test:

  • What was your crime? A serious crime that involved someone getting hurt may disqualify you. The review board wants to make sure your patients will be safe.
  • Does your conviction affect your ability to do your job? This can be a charge for drug possession or alcohol-related crime. If the review board thinks you won’t be sober or that you’ll take narcotics you may not get the chance to test.
  • When was the last time you got in trouble? You’ll have to give it some time before you apply. This will show that you are no longer a person who commits crimes.
  • Did your crime hurt someone who was underage or particularly vulnerable? Your patients may be vulnerable and need someone who won’t take advantage of that.
  • How have you behaved since your release? You will have to prove consistent rehabilitated qualities to qualify.
  • Did you have one drug possession charge or several? The number of times you committed your crime will also affect how the board sees you.
  • Did you complete all the requirements of your conviction? If you have lingering fines or are still on parole, you may want to hold off until those you’ve finished them.

Depending on the crime you committed you may still qualify to do the work of a paramedic. If you fail to meet any of the above-listed criteria there’s still hope for you to meet your goals.

A paramedic is a job that requires individuals to be sober. You will have to be able to handle stressful situations and be in charge of what happens. You can’t do this if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

An expungement, should you qualify, will remove the felony conviction from your record. Once the felony is gone, you are free to apply like everyone else.

Once your felony is gone you will still need to test and get certifications. Getting an expungement only makes the application process easier. You still have to take the tests and get proper training.

The Tests and Certifications

You will have to take a cognitive test. This means that you know how to take care of someone in a specific situation.

The test will ask you a lot of questions like how to use a respirator. What do you do if someone is bleeding?

You are given six opportunities to pass the cognitive test. There is a 15-day waiting period between the tests if you fail.

The Psychomotor test will look at your ability to communicate with dispatchers. It will also examine your ability to assess a situation when you arrive. What is the problem? What should you do first to save someone’s life?

You have two opportunities to pass this test. If you fail the second time, you will have to take more training.


Becoming a paramedic is difficult to work for anyone. Make sure you can handle the job stresses and have the ability to make accurate decisions. These things may be while you’re under a lot of pressure too.

The job isn’t out of reach for anyone willing to work for it. People with certain felonies or recent convictions may have difficulty passing the exams. You may have trouble getting your certifications depending on your crime.

It is important to research your state’s guidelines before pursuing this career path. It will also be important to have the support of family as going to school and working isn’t going to be easy for anyone.

Going to school and working to become a medical provider is not easy. With the help of friends and family, the process will be smoother. If this isn’t an option for you, look into local non-profit agencies that help felons.



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