Can You Pass a Paramedic Certification Exam?


By: Brian Whitney

6 Min Quiz

Image: Phil Fisk/Cultura/Getty Images

About This Quiz

A paramedic is the type of person you never really think about until you actually need them, and then you're really glad that they're around. These people are the unsung heroes of the medical profession. Their job is to respond to medical emergencies as fast as they possibly can and make sure they treat the person well enough so they can bring them to the hospital alive. They see things every day and deal with things constantly that the rest of us couldn't even imagine. While they get paid decently, they don't get rich despite doing such an important job.

Paramedics need to know all sorts of thing. They need to know an enormous amount of information about the human body, how it works and how it operates. They need to know all sorts of things about techniques used to keep someone alive that may be close to death. They need to know how to understand complex medical jargon as well as slang no one else could understand but other paramedics. They also need to be able to drive an ambulance through difficult city streets safely. 

Could you pass a paramedic certification and save lives? Take this quiz and find out.

When things get dire, a paramedic will have to do A.L.S. What does that stand for?

While the paramedic has numerous different functions on the job, first and foremost is keeping the patient alive until they can get them to a hospital. One of the methods they use to do this is A.L.S.


What are the types of things that could cause anaphylactic shock?

Anaphylactic shock can be sudden, potentially severe and life-threatening. Symptoms include generalized itching and hives, swelling, wheezing and difficulty breathing, fainting, and/or other allergy symptoms.


Paramedics have to triage a lot. What does that mean?

The definition of triage is the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties. This is an important part of a paramedic's job.


Atrial tachycardia is when a paramedic has to work on what part of the body?

Paramedics need to know all sorts of medical conditions. Atrial tachycardia, which is also known as AT, is a type of abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia which causes the heart to beat quickly.


What might be a patient that has "googlechondria"?

The act of "googlechondria" is probably more common than you think. People have symptoms all the time and once they google them think that they're actually worse than they really are.


Emergency rooms can be busy, what is the meaning of "treat and street"?

Just like other jobs that deal with emergencies, there is a lot of dark humor that comes with being a paramedic. A "treat and street" is when a patient is treated quickly then discharged.


Where would you be responding to a "Code Blue"?

A Code Blue isn't all that common for a paramedic, because it exists in the actual hospital itself. Still, this can occur in certain situations. A paramedic has to be prepared for anything.


What condition do paramedics use Narcan to treat?

Narcan is a bit controversial, but there is no doubt that it saves lives. As opioid use is an epidemic at this point, there is no doubt that all paramedics have used it more than once.


How important is it for a paramedic to be non-judgmental?

Just like police officers and firemen, paramedics have to go everywhere, from the nicest of neighborhoods to the worst neighborhoods. A good paramedic treats everyone exactly the same.


Collapsed lungs are serious. What would be the most likely cause of them a paramedic would see?

Cars are all over the roads more than ever these days, and with them come all sorts of accidents. One of the most common injuries suffered in a severe car accident is a collapsed lung.


Is a paramedic the same as a nurse?

Paramedics and nurses have many things in common with the jobs that they do, but there are many differences as well. These two very important jobs are two distinctly separate careers.


We all have a tube that carries food to our stomach, what is it?

When you're a paramedic, you have to be prepared for just about anything and be comfortable with every part of the body, including the esophagus. It lets food and liquids reach the stomach.


Is it important for a paramedic to know how to treat people with psychiatric issues?

While in the past there wasn't a whole lot of specialized treatment when dealing with people with mental illness, this is different today. Paramedics as well as police officers receive special training for dealing with the mentally ill.


Paramedics have a lot of their own terms. What does "POPTA" stand for in paramedic lingo?

There are all sorts of acronyms in any sort of medical field, and if you're a paramedic that holds true just as much as the rest of them. The term "POPTA" means "Passed Out Prior to Our Arrival."


Paramedics have to get where they're going fast, but can they break the speed limit?

As an emergency vehicle, ambulances are not subject to regular rules of the road, but they still have to drive safely. While they can speed they shouldn't go more than 15 miles an hour over the speed limit as a rule of thumb.


What is the medical name for the thigh bone?

While paramedics aren't doctors, they need to know all sorts of different medical terminology to communicate with other medical professionals. A human thigh bone is known as the femur.


What does the paramedic slang term "Status dramaticus" mean?

When you think of someone being dramatic, or if you're watching a play that is a drama, it's similar to what we're talking about here. Of course the paramedics don't actually say this to the patient.


Knowing the body is important for a paramedic. What is the tragus a part of?

While it is hard to imagine there being a whole lot of issues that a paramedic has to deal with that have to do with an ear, they have to be prepared for anything. A tragus is part of the ear.


There are lots of opportunities in this field. Which of these jobs exists for paramedics?

While there are numerous different jobs that are available to paramedics, the one of the above that is most common is to work on a cruise ship. Now that doesn't sound like a bad gig.


What should a paramedic do when first on the scene?

When arriving on scene, a good paramedic makes sure the patient can breathe, then they stabilize them, then assess their medical needs. All of these things are extremely important to do.


In paramedic slang, what is a ParaGod?

Just like in another other job, there are terms that are specific to it and slang that is used. In paramedic slang, a "ParaGod" is a paramedic who thinks he or she is the best paramedic ever.


How long does it take to be certified as a paramedic?

While becoming a paramedic doesn't require an enormous amount of education, it still takes some time. Depending on certain factors, it takes a student 6 months to two years to become certified.


Breathing is kind of important, you know. What is the normal respiration rate for an adult?

One of the first things that a paramedic has to do when they arrive on the scene is make sure the patient is breathing correctly. 12-20 breaths per minute is considered the normal range.


If you were in the ECU, would that be a good thing?

ECU is not a good place, also known as the "Eternal Care Unit". In other words, the person has passed away. This is slang used not only with paramedics but with doctors and nurses as well.


What might you be responding to on a Code 99?

As you might imagine, paramedics use all sorts of codes so they know what type of call they're going to be dealing with. A code 99 is always a call that has something to do with cardiac arrest.


There are lots of options for training, but can you study to be an EMT online?

There are very few degrees that you can't study for online somewhere, and if you want to be a paramedic that is no different. Classes are usually combined with online training.


What is the high end of earnings for a paramedic per year?

While you aren't going to become totally rich being a paramedic, you can make a decent living. 50 grand is about as much as you're going to make though, which isn't a lot for this type of work.


What is the most important thing to do during an initial assessment of a patient?

While there are all sorts of things that are really important for a paramedic to do, when they arrive on the scene they always do one thing first: Make sure the patient is breathing comfortably.


How often does a paramedic have to perform CPR?

Paramedics do a lot of things daily in their jobs, but knowing how to perform CPR well has to be one of the most common. These people are experts at giving CPR quickly and the right way.


In an emergency, would you know what the left ventricle pumps blood into?

The aorta is the largest artery in the entire body, and its function is incredibly important. So it stands to reason that this is a term that all paramedics need to be comfortable with.


How many chances do you get to pass a certification exam?

If you fail a couple times on your paramedic certification it is no big deal, but it does become one if you fail your third. It's an important job so it makes sense that they're rather picky.


Can a paramedic drive down a one-way street going in the wrong direction?

Paramedics are not allowed to drive the wrong way down a one-way street. When you think about it, what's the point of arriving to help someone if you cause more injuries on the way?


If a patient is lying in a "prone" position, how are they lying?

You not only need to know medical terminology as a paramedic, you need to have a good vocabulary as well. "Prone" means when someone is lying on their abdomen, and not on their back.


If you fail a certification exam, how many days do you have to wait before you try again?

If you flunk your certification test you can't just turn around and take it again right away. You have to wait at least a full 15 days before you try again. So make sure you study up.


Where is someone who has "cellulitis"?

This is another term that is a bit insensitive but is still popular paramedic slang. When they hear that someone has cellulitis, that means that the person they're dealing with is incarcerated.


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