CNA/PCA to EMT-B and/or EMT-P, before RN?

Students CNA/MA


Has anyone been licensed in CNA/PCA then gone on to EMT-Basic or EMT-Paramedic licensing before going on to LPN or RN?

I'm curious, because about 15 years ago, I took EMT-B, but unfortunately I haven't practiced since then. I've always wanted to "get back to it" but only recently have had the time/finances to go to school, and I chose CNA/PCA as a foundation because of the local job market, and also because I felt it was the best place to start in preparing for an eventual move towards RN.

But now I'm thinking, going back to get my EMT-B again might actually be kinda cool. I might actually like to even go further, and continue on to EMT-P. I know some of the skills in PCA are analogous to EMT-B, plus I've taken EMT-B so I have a "feel" for the scope of the program (albeit some of it's changed in 15 years). So the transition to EMT from PCA wouldn't be as difficult to me as it was 15 years ago, when I had no medical training at all.

Anyway, I'm still as yet undecided on whether I want to go LPN or go all the way to RN. Or if I want to go EMT-B then EMT-P, and then go LPN... which might be a little easier to get into than RN right now (waiting list). I'm thinking about a lot of options right now, which is why I thought I'd ask if any of you have experience with branching off to EMT and could offer any friendly advice.

If anything, if I did decide to go to EMT-B right away from CNA/PCA, then later do EMT-P, before going on to LPN or RN, I would have a diverse set of skills to call on and would have a lot more options open to me in my career.

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

All those steps seem like a lot of extra time, money, and work to jump around kind of aimlessly. I would think about what you really want to do with your life- paramedic or nurse (be it LPN or RN)- and go straight for that.

Girl Scout

165 Posts

Okay, thanks. Although, it's not aimless to me - I truly have a desire to do all those things and get all those certifications. I'd even love to get involved in search and rescue, mountain SAR, and other things (but I didn't list those here because it's a bit too refined for what I'm curious about, which is what I asked about in the OP). The only thing I DON'T have a desire to do is become an MD. :)

So... maybe I'm the only one, then?


29 Posts

I feel the same way acutally! I'm a current nursing student working as a PCT at UPMC. I've considered EMTing because it would give me experience in a different field, and possibly add some variety to my resume when I apply for a nursing job. If the EMT course work didn't conflict with my Nursing courses, I would definitely go for it, but I'd have to do a bit more research. I make about 10/hr, and I've heard that EMTs starting out only make 8/hr. If you have financial obligations, then you would have to work around what is best for you. EMTs also great experience if you want to go into ICU or Emergency Room settings, getting used to the stress and recognizing heart rhythms, etc. Again, depends on your schedule and financial position. Employers would love seeing a graduate nurse with experience in both, rather than experience in just one of the fields, I think. Hope this helps!

Girl Scout

165 Posts

Awesome, I'm glad to get your perspective :) Sounds like you are like me with considering how you can mix your desire to work in this field, while also personalizing your career.

After some thought, I decided to go ahead and enroll for Certified First Responder in the fall. If I can do it, it would set me up to take the EMT next spring or summer. In the meantime, I would be able to draw on work experience as a CNA/PCA, which I am really looking forward to (despite my aching feet!) :up:


6 Posts

My teacher went this route. He said there wasn't as much competition going the EMT-RN as there is LPN-RN. He also mentioned that he renews all of his licenses and keeps the EMT current even though he doesn't use it anymore.


14 Posts

Haha this is so funny! I am in the same position as you. I have had my CNA for awhile and just recently got my EMT-B. I'm on a waitlist for RN but have been considering EMT-P... (no waitlist!). I think the main thing is consider what area you want to work in. If you are all about critical care then EMT can't hurt. I learned a lot from it. There is way more critical thinking than CNA and it gives you a wider perspective to work with. The National Registry test and skills was way harder than CNA too. I wouldn't bother with LPN if you want to work in a hospital, just go straight for your RN. Just my 2 cents, hope that helps! :)


155 Posts

I know this is an old post- but what did you end up doing? I am finishing my CNA now (it is an entrance requirement for the RN program) but my actual nursing classes won't start for another year! So, I'm planning on working as a patient tech- but the school requires 9 more hours before I start nursing. So, I went ahead and signed up for the EMT-B classes. It's 7.5 and then I'll do 2 special certs (PALS and something else that I forget right now) anyway, that will meet the requirement.

Since I have not yet started working, I'm not sure if I'll work as a CNA or EMT or both- but I love to learn, and I think it'll be fun!

I'd love to hear how it's going for you!

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg.

I became a CNA because I felt that RN was my goal. However, there are very little educational opportunities in my area, and the RN program is booked solid into 2011. Taking into consideration financial and family responsibilities as well, it really looks like I won't be getting into an RN program for years. But at the same time, I'm unsure as to how I will "tolerate" being a CNA for that long.

Even before I took my CNA course, though, I became fascinated with EMS, after making my first 911 call and seeing two EMT's perform various assessments, administer nitroglycerin, and interpret a 12-lead EKG. :eek:

I was recently hired in my hospital's Med/Surg department, and I knew that EMS was starting to take precedence over RN when a unit tech (CNA) position opened in the ER and I about crapped my pants in disappointment.

I love being a CNA (as much as I dislike nursing homes), but I'm planning on taking the plunge into EMS very soon. I would be interested to see how dual certs (CNA/EMT) work out.

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