Admission Requirements

To be accepted into the Paramedic Certification Program, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age by course completion date
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Show successful completion of an Anatomy & Physiology course or enroll and successfully complete our pre-paramedic A&P course
  • Have completed EMT training
  • Submit a completed application packet

You must also meet physical ability, CPR certification, assessment testing, insurance, immunization, background check, drug screening, and fingerprinting requirements.

Veterans of all branches of service are honored by faculty and classmates on Veteran's Day.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology for EMS providers is required before the Paramedic Certification Program begins, unless you have anatomy and physiology with a minimum grade of C on your college transcript. UT Southwestern teaches A&P for EMS providers before paramedic classes begin. The 10-day course is held from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for two weeks. The cost is approximately $200, plus $95 for the textbook.

Physical Ability

The Paramedic Certification Program's clinical rotations require that you be physically able to care for patients. This involves lifting, moving, extricating adult and pediatric patients from entrapment, and transferring patients to an ambulance. You will be on your feet for at least eight hours each clinical day. You must be able to auscultate breath and heart sounds, and respond aloud to emergency calls.

You must also be able to read fine print for medication administration purposes and may be exposed to patients with infectious diseases. Manual dexterity is required for starting IVs, administering medications, and other skills. In the event you have or acquire a medical condition that may compromise your ability to care for patients, we may require a medical release from your physician. For more details about physical requirements, read the functional job analysis.


All students must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the health care provider level as designated by the American Heart Association. Your instructor will ask you for a copy of your current CPR card on the first day of class. CPR classes are available through the El Centro College Continuing Education Division, the American Heart Association, and various hospitals and health organizations.

Assessment Testing

All applicants to the EMT and Paramedic Certificate program must achieve specialized admission requirements including minimum assessment scores in reading comprehension and math skills. Although students entering the paramedic course are TSI exempt, they must demonstrate reading and math ability. This can be demonstrated by any of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree awarded from an accredited college
  • An associate’s degree awarded from an accredited college
  • Successful completion of an English 1301 course or Math 1300 level course with a minimum grade of C
  • 3 years of documented active duty in the U.S. armed forces or Texas National Guard with retirement or honorable discharge
  • Scoring at or above the minimum on the following tests:
Reading Comprehension TestsMinimum ScoreMath Skills TestsMinimum Score
TSI Reading 351 TSI Math 336
SAT Verbal (Critical Reading) 500 SAT Math 500
ACT English (Reading) 19 ACT Math 19
Texas Learning Index (TLI) 89 Texas Learning Index (TLI) 86
TAKS (ELA) 2200 TAKS Math 2200
STAAR EOC (ENG III) meet level 2 minimum 1875 STAAR EOC (Algebra II) meet level 2 minimum 3500
Accuplacer Reading 78 Accuplacer Math I/II 66/63
Compass Reading 81 Compass Algebra 39

An appointment to test is not necessary. Prior to testing, applicants who have never enrolled in credit courses at one of the colleges of the Dallas County Community College District should complete an online college application. Those applicants who have previously enrolled in a Dallas County Community college but who have not attended within the last 12 months, should complete the paper college application.

Applicants for the EMT-Basic certification must obtain a testing referral slip from the El Centro College Continuing Education Office, Room A-260.  Applicants for the Paramedic certification must obtain a referral slip from the Counselor’s Office (214-860-2084).  Please contact the Assessment Center at 214-860-2178 for hours of operation. For further assistance regarding assessment testing, please consult the El Centro College Health Occupations Admissions Office at

Students may present any combination from the reading and math test columns below to fulfill the assessment testing requirement for application to the Paramedic Certification Program. Minimum acceptable scores for each test are indicated. SAT, ACT, TAKS, and STAAR scores have a 5-year expiration date from the date of testing. The TLI expires three years after testing date. All other tests are only good for two years.

Retesting Policy

Applicants to the Paramedic Certificate program who do not achieve minimum scores in reading and math assessment testing may retest one time for a $10 fee with permission from the El Centro College Counselor’s Office. If the applicant does not achieve minimum required scores on the retest, the applicant must complete one of the following options before being granted a third and final testing opportunity during that application filing period.

The three options are: a) enrolling in developmental coursework; b) submit documented proof of obtaining tutoring; or c) enrolling in the Continuing Education course "College Fresh Start" which grants access to the College Learning Center for self-remediation utilizing computer programs, video/audio tapes, etc. If the applicant does not achieve minimum scores on the final retest, the applicant will not be allowed to submit an application during the current filing period and cannot test again until the following semester.


A uniform is required as part of the EMT course. Navy blue or black pants are required (purchased on your own). It is recommended that you purchase an approved uniform shirt with the school logo. An order form for the shirt will be distributed the first day of class providing the information needed to purchase the suggested shirt. The estimated cost of the shirt is $25. (Uniform shirts with the school logo are required.)

Malpractice Liability Insurance

EMT students are required to have medical malpractice liability insurance, either through their city or through an individual policy. Insurance is available through El Centro and can be purchased when you pay your registration fees.

Health Care Insurance

All students functioning in a clinical setting are required to provide proof of personal health insurance coverage before beginning their clinical rotations. El Centro College maintains a helpful list of health care coverage options.

Physical Exam and Immunizations

Before your course begins, you’ll need to verify that you’ve had immunizations and/or diseases through your own records, school records or parents. We’ll provide a form you can use to document a medical history, physical examination, and current record of these immunizations:

  • Tuberculin skin test within the last six months. (If positive, chest X-ray required within last two years)
  • Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (TDaP) current within the last two years.
  • Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR). Two doses of measles are required either separately or in combination with MMR.
  • Two varicella vaccinations or verification of having the diseasethrough titer (serologic confirmation).
  • Hepatitis B series. You must complete the Hep B series before the start of direct patient care or show serologic confirmation of immunity to the hepatitis virus. To meet this requirement, you must complete the first two injections before applying to the program and submit documentation that you’ve completed all three injections before class begins. The third dose must be four to six months after the first dose. If you have a health situation (e.g., pregnancy, allergies, nursing mothers) that may prohibit the use of the hepatitis vaccine, you must provide documentation from your doctor and sign a waiver.
  • Influenza vaccination (current flu season; August/September-March/April)
  • Meningitis vaccination (current within 5 years; exempt if you are 22 and over)
    (On January 1, 2014, the age requirement changed to those who are under the age of 22, instead of 30.)

You can visit a private physician, clinic, or medical center for the physical examination. The immunizations are available through the El Centro College Health Center at a reduced cost. Please call 214-860-2113 to make an appointment for immunizations. The El Centro College Health Center does not provide chest X-rays or physical exams.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening

Once you’ve been accepted to the program, you need to complete a criminal background check and drug screening so you can participate in hospital and field rotations. If you work for a fire department, we may be able to accept previous documentation from fire department personnel records. If you’re a civilian, you need to initiate the background check and screening process within the date range indicated in your acceptance letter. The cost is approximately $84.

Results are forwarded to the El Centro College Health Occupations Division and reviewed El Centro College Health/Legal/Distance and Workforce/Continuing Education Division.This initial procedure will be honored by all hospitals for the duration of your enrollment, as long as you haven’t had a break in enrollment (one fall or spring semester) during the program. Please be aware that criminal background and drug screening results are the property of El Centro College and are not released to students.

The drug screening follows National Institute on Drug Abuse guidelines and screens for 10 substances in the Substance Abuse Panel 10: amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines (Valium), cocaine, cannabis, methadone, methaqualone (Quaaludes), opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), and propoxyphene (Darvon). SAP 10 test results that fall outside of acceptable ranges are considered positive test results and are automatically sent for a separate confirmatory test by gas chromatography mass spectrometry.

If these results remain positive, the test results are sent to a medical review officer, who will contact the student to determine if there is a valid prescription for the drug in question. If a valid prescription exists and is verified, the test result will be deemed to be negative and acceptable. The MRO review has an additional cost of $25-$75 to the student.

The criminal background check reviews your criminal history seven years previous to the date of program application. The check will include all cities and counties of your residency during that time period. The following histories will disqualify you from consideration for a clinical rotation:

  • Felony conviction
  • Misdemeanor conviction or felony deferred adjudication involving crimes against persons (physical or sexual abuse)
  • Misdemeanor conviction related to moral turpitude (prostitution, public lewdness/exposure, etc.)
  • Felony deferred adjudication for the sale, possession, distribution, or transfer of narcotics or controlled substances
  • Registration as a sex offender

The program may request an exception from the first clinical agency for a student with a felony deferred adjudication and no alternate recourse through a licensing/registry authority, i.e., Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas. If the licensing/registry body approves the individual to take the licensing/credential exam, the individual may participate in the clinical rotation. For more information, contact Kanora Jackson, Division Coordinator, at or 972-860-5095.

Right of Removal

A clinical agency reserves the right to remove a student from the facility for suspicion of substance use or abuse including alcohol. The clinical agency will notify the El Centro College Health Occupations administration to facilitate immediate removal of the student and request that the student submit to a repeat drug screening procedure at the student's expense on the same day of removal from the clinical agency.

Failure to comply will result in immediate expulsion from the clinical agency. Further, regardless of testing or test results, the agency reserves the right to expel any student from its facility. The agency will provide El Centro College Health Occupations administration with written documentation of the student's behavior(s) by two or more agency representatives.

If a student accepted to a health occupations program is prohibited from attending a clinical rotation experience due to findings of a criminal background check and/or drug screening, the student may be dismissed from the health occupations program.

For more information about criminal background check and drug screening requirements, please contact Dr. LaCheeta McPherson, El Centro associate dean of allied health, at 214-860-2271.


Although fingerprinting isn’t required for admission to the Paramedic Certification Program, the Texas Department of State Health Services now requires it for EMT certification. All initial EMS applicants not currently certified by the department at any EMS level, are required to submit their fingerprints through the Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) for Texas/FBI criminal history.

You’ll be required to indicate if you have any previous criminal activity on your record when submitting a TDSHS application. You must report all convictions, arrests, and deferred adjudications higher than a Class C misdemeanor (Class A, B, and felonies), regardless of the state in which they occurred or how much time has elapsed. If you have any offenses or incidents you need to report, be sure to gather your information the course begins to avoid delay with your certification.