Jared Ray wants a career where he can make a meaningful difference in his community.

That’s why he chose to study emergency medical science (EMS) at JCC.

“I took five or six JCC classes while I was in high school, and that was a huge opportunity for me to learn about JCC and its programs,” Ray explains.

Ray is pursuing his associate’s degree in emergency medical science, a relatively new degree for the profession.

JCC also offers certifications as an emergency medical responder (EMR), emergency medical technician (EMT), and paramedic. Certified EMTs and paramedics can also take refresher courses, and high school seniors can also enroll in several EMS courses for free.

Even though it’s not a requirement to have an EMS degree to work as a paramedic, the degree helps strengthen the student’s knowledge and abilities, says Mick Stewart, director of emergency medical services programs at JCC. The future of the profession is moving toward requiring a degree for all of its paramedic providers.

The associate’s degree is a five semester program. The certificate EMT program takes about four months to complete and the paramedic program is one year.

“The average person probably has no idea the level of medicine we provide,” Stewart says. “Paramedics work in austere environments using medical direction and protocols to guide our treatment of trauma and medical patients in the prehospital setting. We don’t have the benefit of a lot of the resources found in the hospital, so we have to make judgement calls about patient management ourselves in the field.”

EMTs generally provide basic life support, CPR, patient assessment, vital sign assessments, and control bleeding, fractures and dislocations. Paramedics perform higher skills like advanced airway management, cardiac monitoring and defibrillation, and administer a wider array of medications.

JCC is currently seeking national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Stewart said the accreditation will speak to the quality of EMS education at JCC.

“Our students are getting an education equivalent to the highest national standards,” he says. “This accreditation is a very good thing for our program and our students.”

Rays says one of the best aspects of JCC’s EMS program is the instructors. “They don’t just teach you how to do something, they teach you why,” he said.

Stewart said a career in EMS is rewarding.

“The job outlook is excellent, and there is a high demand for paramedics,” he said. “It’s a very rewarding and challenging career. You work very hard but you also have the opportunity to serve the public. “It’s a really good opportunity to make a difference in your community.” 

For more information about EMS education at JCC, please contact Mick Stewart at (919) 464-2359 or msstewart@johnstoncc.edu.