Mr. Harris makes a great point. Legally, we are all already licensed (we have a paper from the government that says that we can practice a trade, occupation, or profession). For a great explanation of this whole subject, go to the National Registry web site at this link: http://www.nremt.org/nremt/about/Legal_Opinion.asp
I've been involved in this discussion for a long time. Here's the bald truth.
1. Until we have solid educational requirements (legitimate college degrees required before licensure) we will not be respected as professionals.
2. Until we have members who read, write, spell, and communicate effectively, we will not be respected as professionals.
3. Until we develop a discrete body of knowledge supported by research (not just clinical, but operational, in the HR area, etc.), and that research is done by EMS personnel, we will not be respected as professionals.
4. As long as we fight, at every turn, efforts to advance EMS through increased educational requirements, increased competencies, increased proof of the value we provide to our communities, we will not be respected as professionals.
5. Until we stop presenting ourselves in our communities in t-shirts bearing off-color EMS jokes and cartoons, unkempt, with cigarettes hanging out of our mouth, we will not be respected as professionals.
6. Until we change our EMS systems so that they do more than just drop people off at the hospital, we will not be respected as professionals.
In short, it doesn't matter what it says on the card in your pocket. Our level of respect, and our public image, is OUR responsibility, to improve or destroy as we see fit.