RCCC announces Emergency Medical Services degree

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - From Rowan-Cabarrus Community College: Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is proud to announce a new degree program in Emergency Medical Services.

The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Emergency Medical Services, which would be offered in fall 2015, pending state and accreditation approval, prepares graduates to recognize and react to a broad spectrum of medical emergencies and to take the national certification exam as a paramedic. An associate degree also opens opportunities for career advancement. Additionally, the EMS A.A.S. degree provides graduates with the skills and training needed to enter the field of emergency medical care as a paramedic.


“The national EMS community recommends that paramedics should move from a certificate to a degree,” said Spencer Rummage, dean of public services. “The program is designed to be a ‘bridge' program in which students receive advanced standing, college credit, for course work completed during their paramedic certification.”


The College's currently successful Fire/EMS Continuing Education Paramedic (CEP) certification program will provide a continuous and sustainable enrollment of students that are interested in “bridging” their CEP Certification with the proposed Emergency Medical degree curriculum; completing the Emergency Medical Science A.A.S. degree.


The potential student interest and employer surveys demonstrate a sustainable student interest.


“I am thrilled that we're going to be offering this program. After talking with local EMS employers, we found that they are looking for employees with more credentials – not less. We believe we can provide students in this important public safety field with advanced training,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.


As of June 9, 2014, the NC Emergency Medical Service News listed 86 paramedic positions as open for application. Locally, The Rowan County Emergency Services Department comprises a total of 58 full-time and 55 part-time personnel across administration, emergency management, fire, and emergency medical divisions and the Cabarrus EMS is a progressive emergency services organization employing 112 full- and part-time EMS personnel.


Most paramedics are hired by private service, fire department, municipal/governmental, or hospital-based ambulance companies. Opportunities to specialize as a paramedic include tactical medicine with police departments, critical care inter-facility transport including aeromedical services, disaster management with technical rescue teams, primary health care within the federal prison system, and industrial medicine in the oil and gas industry. Advancement within the Emergency Medical Services profession includes administrative, governmental, public health, and education. Promotion often requires academic degree credentials.


This program will be initially offered as a bridge program; which means it will only be available to currently certified paramedics. This is important in that the degree program will not require any additional equipment and require minimal new funding for faculty and staff.


“It is rare that we can introduce a new degree program with little additional funding. In general, one of the College's biggest challenges is keeping our programs equipped with industry-recognized, state-of-the-art equipment that is used in the workplace,” said Spalding.


This proposal also includes a certificate program designed as a Career & College Promise program, the College's tuition-free program for high school juniors and seniors. The Rowan Salisbury School System is moving toward implementing an “EMS Academy” along the lines of the College's current Career & College Promise Fire Academy at South Rowan High School.


This tuition-free program for high school juniors and seniors gives them the opportunity to get a “jump start” on a two-year or four-year degree while still in high school.


There are two tracks for the Career & College Promise program – one allows students to specialize in a career or technical pathway, while the other allows students to prepare for general transfer onto a four-year college or university.


“The college transfer classes are truly an alternative to advanced placement – they are weighted just like honors classes,” said Dr. Rod Townley, vice president of academic programs. “Unlike advanced placement courses that are taught locally and tested for credit nationally, students who pass the course with a C or better are guaranteed full college credit.”


Unlike the innovative high schools such as the early college programs, Career & College Promise allows students to remain very involved in their high school. They can still play sports and engage in all of the regular extracurricular activities, while taking college and high school courses simultaneously.


“The other perk of this opportunity is getting to experience real college classes – students ultimately feel better prepared when they head off to a four-year college or university because they're already confident in their ability to do college work,” said Spalding.


In addition to the college transfer classes, Rowan-Cabarrus offers options for students to get a head start in careers like fire protection, criminal justice, machining, cosmetology, web technologies, welding and more.


The College is currently registering students for the spring 2015 semester. Classes begin on January 12. For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).