Depending upon where you live, the time it takes to get into EMS as a Paramedic can range from just under a year to a couple of years. Generally you need to be an EMT first and then get some EMT experience and THEN apply for medic school.
Here in California, you can go from a guy on the street to a Paramedic in about 1 year. There is no statutory requirement for EMT experience, just an EMT cert prior to applying to a medic school.
Once you are accepted into medic school, it can take anywhere from 6 mos to a year or more to complete the training. This mostly depends upon the didactic (classroom) training schedule. Once that's basically done, (480 hours) you still have 160 hours of clinical time and 640 (minimum) hours on the street doing an internship. You'd do MUCH better with good EMT experience as your preceptors do NOT want to have to train you to be an EMT and then have to train you to be a Paramedic. They want to tune up your BLS skills and go straight into teaching you how to be a medic.
The general trend where I live is for the Fire Departments to hire Paramedics. For them, it's much cheaper to take a medic and train them to be a Firefighter than it is to take a Firefighter and train them to be a Paramedic.
Unfortunately, this trend also leads to a lot of people who want to be Firefighters to become medics. This can lead to poor patient care as they often do just enough to get hired as a Firefighter. Not a bash on FF/P's, but on those that became Paramedics just so they could be Firefighters.
What I shoot:
JCHiggins Model 37A