Program Overview

The Cuesta College Paramedic Program (CCPP) is a three-semester, full-time program taught on the San Luis Obispo campus and generally runs from January through December. It is offered as either a Certificate or as part of a larger Associate of Science degree program (for current information, contact the Counseling department at 805-546-3143). The CCPP builds upon a solid foundation of basic EMT knowledge and experience, preparing graduates to take the Paramedic National Registry licensure examination (NREMT-P), leading to licensure as a California Paramedic.

CCPP graduates develop the knowledge and the abilities needed to perform at a level higher than the current minimum standard.  They are prepared to function as a beginning practitioner according to national standards.  Minimum expectations are that they will enter their public-service careers as competent, ethical, confident entry–level health care practitioners who are committed to professional development through life–long learning, as a professional paramedic who recognizes the need to participate in continuing education opportunities and to share knowledge with others in the field.

For program costs, see the Estimated Paramedic Program Costs page in the sidebar, then refer to the Financial Aid section below.

For information about eligibility, application process/status or general program questions, contact the Allied Health Program Specialist, Claire Hawkins, at or (805) 592-9283.

If you have detailed questions about course material, processes, licensure or other curriculum-related questions, please contact the Interim Program Director, Michael Smiley, at or (805) 592-9910. 

Program Requirements

Current (2024) program requirements are as follows:

  • High School graduation, a GED certificate, or a college degree (2- or 4-year)
  • Pre-Requisite academic coursework in English (previously English 156 or above) or equivalent; Basic Algebra (previously Math 123 or above) or equivalent; and Biology (must be Bio 205, 206 or 212, or equivalent), all completed with final grades posted by date of application, as verified by official transcripts
  • California Certification as an EMT
  • Current Healthcare Provider or Professional Rescuer CPR certification (Basic Life Support)
  • 1,000 hours of 9-1-1 experience based in an ambulance or fire engine that responds to medical and trauma-related incidents at a minimum rate of 75% of call volume/time spent.  Lifeguard, emergency room, wildland firefighter, or other experience does not meet application requirements.

Pre-requisites must be completed or in-progress with Final Grades to be posted by October 31, 2023. To see the application instructions and access the application during the application period, please go to the sidebar under "Paramedic Application Information."

(For more detailed information, read the "Paramedic Degree/Pathway" sidebar above.)

NOTE: Conviction of a misdemeanor or felony may constitute grounds for denial of licensure. Contact the Clinical Coordinator, Deborah Adams, at 805-592-9798 or, to discuss any concerns before applying to the program.

Admissions & Application Information

CCPP applications are accepted once a year through an online application. The application period for the 2025 program will be AUGUST 1, 2024, 9 a.m. PST, through September 30, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. PST.  

For more information about the program and application process, see the sidebar above, "Paramedic Application Information." Updated instructions pertinent to the 2025 program.   It is the applicant's responsibility to follow current application instructions and meet all current requirements and due dates.

All persons who meet general Cuesta College admission as well as CCPP requirements and who submit a complete program application will be considered for admission. For current selection process, please refer to the Instruction Packet for the program year.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information

Various education funding sources are available.  In order to meet funding deadlines, applicants should apply for financial aid and/or scholarships as soon as possible for the 2024-2025 school year, as the program begins January, 2025.   You should apply for Financial Aid at as soon as possible.  The deadline for the 2024-2025 academic year funding sources is March 2, 2024. Many sources of funding have a priority date of March 2, 2024, though you can still apply afterward.  The Cuesta Scholarship is easy to apply for and has helped many students; it closes March 2, 2024.

Contact the Financial Aid Office (805-546-3143) for up-to-date information on application process and sources available or go here: .   After applying for FAFSA, financial aid for federal and state funds, also complete a Cuesta College Scholarship application as found on Cuesta's Financial Aid page at BEFORE March 2, 2024.  Don't forget to also apply for the Allied Health scholarships, ranging from $750 to $3,000. 

Paramedic Program Certificate and A.S. Degree

All students who successfully complete the program are awarded a Certificate of Achievement in Paramedic, which allows them to take the NREMT-P exam and then become licensed in California. 

Students also have the option to pursue a Paramedic Associate of Science degree.  Current information can be found in the Cuesta catalog. Detailed information about the degree process can also be obtained from the Counseling department at (805) 546-3138.  The General Education portion of the degree can be completed before or after the Paramedic portion, but students will need to talk to a counselor to determine the best schedule according to individual needs.

Program Accreditation

The Cuesta College Paramedic Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs



To contact CoAEMSP:


The Cuesta College Paramedic Program became accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and earned approval by the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP) on July 25, 2008. Our program is certified through 2025.

The CoAEMSP Quality Improvement (QI) subcommittee has reviewed the 2019 Annual Report.

Cuesta College is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

Licensing Exam and Pass Rates

CAAHEP Accredited Paramedic Programs and CoAEMSP Letter of Review (LoR) Programs track and report outcome measures annually to the Committee on Accreditation for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).

The most current CoAEMSP Annual Report was for the calendar year 2020.

The most recent success rate for the National Registry of EMT Paramedic/State Cognitive exam was 93.3%.

The most recent positive placement rate for graduates was 87.5%. Positive placement is defined by the CoAEMSP as ‘Employed full or part-time in a related field and/or continuing his/her education and/or serving in the military’. Positive placement is measured at completion of the program.

The most recent retention rate was 66.7 %.

National Registry of EMTs, EMT Written Examination Results by Training Program:

CCPP Mission Statement

The mission of the Cuesta College Paramedic Program is to provide the highest educational standards for students preparing to become paramedics, in a supportive learning environment.  We strive to teach the highest quality of pre-hospital emergency care to each student, with the expectation that each will practice the same standard of excellence that we hold for ourselves.  

We aspire to impart the importance of providing professional, non–discriminatory care for all people in their time of crisis. Our goal is to to prepare competent entry-level Paramedics in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains with or without exit points at the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Technician, and/or Emergency Medical Responder levels.