RCCC receives grant to expand paramedic program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

RCCC News Service

SALISBURY – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College received a $100,000 grant to expand the College’s paramedic program.

The funding comes from the North Carolina Community College System’s Expanding Community College Economic Impact grant program.

During the fall of 2022, the program welcomed students at the South Campus in Cabarrus County, in addition to classes at its North Campus in Salisbury.

The Paramedic program expansion is an effort to train more Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers, including paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), to address the paramedic shortages in the region and across the state. While paramedics and EMTs both provide life-saving services, the paramedic program is an expanded credential that includes additional training and course hours.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is the eighth-largest community college in the state, but since 2018, it has tripled its EMS program enrollment – making it the second-largest EMS program in the state. Annually, North Carolina EMS agencies need more than 740 newly credentialed paramedics, yet in 2021, the state only provided credentials to 530 paramedics.

“Rowan-Cabarrus is pleased to be able to expand our paramedic program offering with this innovative model,” said Carol Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “Paramedics play a critical role in our communities, and the need for them continues to grow – locally and statewide. We are grateful for the services they provide and happy to be able to support our community in this way.”

The expansion introduces a new academy-style instructional format, solving both acute and chronic problems in the workforce needs of paramedics. Similar to an apprenticeship-style program, the new Cabarrus County Paramedic Program is one of the first of its kind implemented in the state. The former paramedic program model required 12-15 months to complete. Then, students were required to find employment and participate in an intensive orientation and probation period.

The new Cabarrus County academy-style model works with agencies to enroll employed EMTs in a six to eight-month paramedic program. The addition of the academy model expands the College’s capacity and will increase the annual number of graduates. As the second-highest enrolled EMS program in the state, this project will serve the region by preparing more local, highly qualified emergency responders in less time.

Students enrolled in the program will complete a combination of class and lab work, along with field and clinical experiences. Students will attend classes, labs and clinicals for 32 hours per week and work at their respective agencies eight hours per week.

Students who are attaining a North Carolina or National Paramedic credential may apply for the Associate in Applied Science Degree Program in Emergency Medical Science (Bridge Program) Continuing Education Program at RCCC.