Since 1993, Garrett College has been offering the paramedic course in Garrett and Allegany counties in Western Maryland, with over 175 students graduating as paramedics. A new cohort of students will begin training this fall and applications are now being accepted for the two-year program.
Over the past 27 years, the landscape for employment in the Emergency Medical Services field has drastically changed, as both Garrett and Allegany counties now employ paid EMTs and paramedics. Several privately-owned transport companies are also employing EMS providers, which is significantly different compared to the predominantly volunteer system in years’ past.
Perhaps one of the more significant changes to GC’s paramedic program is that students are now able to earn a degree in this field.
“We are excited about Garrett College’s associate of applied science degree program in paramedic studies” stated Doug Beitzel, paramedic program coordinator at GC. “This offers emergency medical professionals the opportunity to earn 30 credits for their national certification.”
GC’s paramedic studies program was recently approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).
“The MHEC designation recognizes that this program provides a key tool in addressing a statewide challenge,” said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president. “It reinforces the rationale we had for creating this program – to develop a cadre of trained emergency services professionals for the region and throughout the state.”
MHEC also awarded the paramedic studies program the coveted Health Manpower Shortage Program designation as part of the approval process. This distinction provides Maryland residents to receive GC’s in-county tuition rate for those interested in studying GC’s associate degree program.
Graduates of GC’s paramedic program have a long-standing history of success, using their knowledge and skills beyond serving as 911 paramedics. Students have gone on to become flight paramedics, critical care transport paramedics, tactical paramedics, as well as hold key positions in local, state and national organizations.
According to James Koon, paramedic program director at GC, one recent example of success at the national level is of Bill Seifarth, executive director of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and fellow graduate of GC’s program.
In August 2018, Seifarth was named executive director for the National Registry of EMTs. As the nation’s EMS certification organization, the National Registry provides proof of entry-level competence for nationally certified EMS personnel through rigorous written and hands-on examinations.
“We are pleased to have one of our own from Western Maryland serving at the national level” said Koon.
National EMS certification is offered at four levels and must be maintained biennially by demonstrating continued education and skills competence. To date, the National Registry has certified more than 1.8 million EMS professionals.
Applications are now being accepted for the next paramedic class scheduled to begin this fall at GC. Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., beginning on August 27th at the Garrett College Career Technology Training Center in Accident.
As part of the two-year program, students will also perform field and clinical time at UMPC Western Maryland, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Ruby Memorial Hospital and local Maryland EMS departments.
An orientation session has been scheduled for Monday, May 11th at 7 p.m. at the Garrett College Career Technology Training Center for students who intend to enroll in the fall program.
Completed applications are due by the close of business on May 29th. Students must already hold an EMT certification or obtain this prior to the first night of class. During the summer, prospective students will sit for an entrance exam and interview with Dr. Janelle Martin, medical director; Koon, and Beitzel. Acceptance letters will be mailed by July 31st.
For a program application or additional information, contact Beitzel at 301-387-3772 or firstname.lastname@example.org.