SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Being an EMT has its stressors – one being pay.
Ozarks Technical Community College and CoxHealth are hoping that with extra pay and a job from their new program, potential EMTs will feel less stressed about taking the job.
The new program being introduced will be roughly 12 weeks, involving labs and simulations, that offers to pay for training and free tuition. The only requirement to get involved is a high school diploma.
“Our goal is to make them paramedics in a couple of years through, and it’s and it’s a great opportunity because we have pathways where that’s all paid,” CoxHealth EMS education coordinator Russ Scanlen said.
To get into the medical field, there are several steps folks have to take.
“Some of it’s probably exactly what you think, like what you see on TV,” Scanlen said. “It is a stressful job. Now, the people that get into this, they like that stress. You know, they’re kind of junkies for that a little bit.”
OTC Paramedicine Program Director Josh Freeman said students in most EMT programs don’t get paid for their training.
“The majority of the folks that are coming to do the EMT course are doing it in addition to family and work and many other obligations,” Freeman said. “As students, they don’t have to work full-time elsewhere while they’re going to EMT school, and that takes a huge burden off of them because most of the issues and the challenges that I spend time talking to students about is how they’re going to continue to go to school, balance work life and then, often, how do they pay for it becomes a question…”
Heather Burton is one of 48 EMT students at OTC.
“As weird as I’ve always been fascinated with, like the true crime stuff, the medical aspect of it always just fascinated me,” Burton said. “So I figured, why not get into the medical field first?”
Those in the apprenticeship program will be learning the same thing as Burton.
“They’re also going to be going through our academy onboarding, treating, which is more ‘rubber meets the road,'” Scanlen said. “They go through a mock cardiac arrest, they go through an adult medical or trauma case, and it’s real.”
“I’ve done some clinical so far to get my hands-on experience, but I can’t wait to actually go out there and be able to make a difference,” Burton said.
Both OTC and CoxHealth are hoping this program will make a difference and bring more people into the healthcare field.
“We always need people in the medical field, always,” Scanlen said. “It’s never going to go away. And if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. But you’ll never know if you don’t try.”
The deadline to apply is May 4. For information, click here.