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Rowan-Cabarrus to offer new emergency medical services degree program

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has announced a new degree program in emergency medical services.

The associate of applied science 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 emergency services 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 current fire and EMS continuing education paramedic certification program will provide a continuous and sustainable enrollment of students that are interested in “bridging” their certification with the proposed emergency medical degree curriculum; completing the emergency medical science associate of applied sciences degree.

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, the N.C. 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.

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, and 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,” Spalding said.

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.

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