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Can you be a paramedic with a felony

Ashland, WI |
Attorney answers 1


There is no short or definitive answer to your question. You have two issues to address: (1) will your application to become licensed be approved in the first place, and (2) can you find employment once you are licensed. The answer to both issues depends on whether the offense for which you were convicted is determined to be “substantially related” to work as an EMT.

Under the Fair Employment Act (sections 111.31-111.395, Wis. Stats.), employers may not discriminate on the basis of conviction or arrest record, unless the circumstances of the conviction or arrest substantially relate to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity.

Many ambulance services and hospitals require that a person applying for a position as an EMT have no felony arrests or convictions on their record. On the other hand, some municipalities and other city government employers say that a felony conviction will not automatically bar an applicant from being employed as an EMT.

Determining whether a felony burglary conviction qualifies as a substantially related crime depends on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) whether the crime involved violence or threat of harm at any point, and the extent to which the crime relates to vulnerable clients/patients. In Wisconsin, the Department of Human Services, which licenses EMT’s, has set forth guidelines for this analysis under DHS 12.06, which they explain in the Wisconsin Caregiver Program Manual, Chapter 4.3.1. You can find this manual online at: