In the near future, paramedics will be required to have an associates degree, just like RNs. So you will spend 2 - 3 years in school, be out the same amount of money for your education expense and probably make less as a paramedic.
The career ladder is very short. Different areas have different systems. Here we are modeled after fire service. You become a medic, next step up is a lt. ( assistant supervisor ), then a captain. After that you will need the credentials and political backing to enter management and it has nothing to do with patient care, just budgets and billing. No adrenaline rush there.
Check the pay scales in your area ( call the EMS offices and ask for starting salaries and if they have salary caps). Then check with nurse recruiters and ask the same questions.
Eight 24hr shifts sounds good until you work one or two without a break. Also you need to do the math - a nurse works 40 hours a week X 4 weeks. That's 160 hours, eight 24s are 192 hours. Remember that in a paramedic's salary there is built in overtime. You take a vacation or sick day you get paid straight time and forfeit the OT.
Hope this helps,
Annie ( an ex-paramedic, married to a paramedic )