For the past several years, attending the paramedic program at Eastern Kentucky University was a five-day-a-week proposition. But it wasn’t practical for many experienced EMTs to be away from their employment that long.
Now, the EKU program is introducing “stackable” classes, with pre-requisite courses for all students scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday. The second year will be the advanced sequence of paramedic classes that will be scheduled on Monday and Wednesday.
Reducing the total number of days on campus “was imperative, as we have many highly experienced EMTs who would like to move up to paramedic, but just can’t because of the way we have been scheduling our classes,” said Program Director Bill Young.
In addition, the program is offering an EMT class on the Corbin campus in the spring. The Corbin class will be taught by Dr. Dariusz Wolman, a paramedic with many years of both EMS and law enforcement experience. The class will be entirely on site in Corbin; the only required travel for students would be in May for the National Registry of EMTs practical exam. That test is provided, at no cost, on the main campus in Richmond.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
“EMS is the only job that I really know that you could go just about anywhere today and start work tomorrow,” Young said. “Shortages of qualified personnel continue to exist in all areas of the country, not just Kentucky.”