Starting in the spring of 2024, Wayne Community College will offer a new associate degree program in Emergency Medical Science.
The program will be entirely online, giving students more flexibility to work while they get their degree.
It is a limited-entry program, and students must first complete their EMT certification and receive paramedic certification with either the state of North Carolina or the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). These certifications give students 47 of the required 70 credit hours for the degree.
The emergency medical sciences core classes are currently part of WCC’s Workforce Continuing Education program. Students who are interested in working in emergency medical sciences and in pre-hospital emergency care would start with this program’s EMT certification, explained WCC EMS Program Coordinator Frederic McCall.
EMT students learn first aid, emergency response, and how they work within the government, cities, and healthcare settings. “It gives them a lot of basic skills that they need to begin providing assessment and care in the field and how to do transportation and things within the emergency medical services,” said McCall.
The next step is paramedic certification, the highest level of pre-hospital emergency medical care in NC.
Paramedic students are introduced to pharmacology, intravenous access, intravenous drugs, and cardiology. “They can start using the field heart monitors that we use, they can do defibrillations, they can do a lot with the cardiac drugs, and they can read and interpret the rhythms of the heart,” McCall said.
Leadership in the EMS system is also a major component of these programs since paramedics are normally in charge, especially in more advanced life support cases.
The new Emergency Medical Science degree will build on these programs and allow students to complete more of WCC’s general education requirements. “If you were to come to the College and take those classes, you would be more advanced and more prepared when you get to the official entry into our program,” McCall shared.
The program is also intended to make students more well-rounded candidates for jobs, and graduates of this program can expect to find a variety of jobs to fit their skills.
“It’s kind of focusing within the EMS career, but outside of working on an ambulance with the county, there’s lots of options,” said McCall.
“More hospital systems are starting to utilize paramedics because of our unique skillset and the way that we operate that differs from nurses. We provide a lot of the same services, but nurses typically require more direct supervision and direct orders for patients whereas paramedics operate with less direct supervision and can work from standing orders,” McCall explained.
The Emergency Medical Science degree will also prepare students for work within government systems, like emergency management.
EMS students are hirable and enter the workforce immediately as EMTs or even as paramedics, said McCall. “As a matter of fact, most of our EMT students go out and get a job within the community, and most of our paramedic students are still working as EMTs.”
Having an associate degree will help graduates stand out in the emergency medical community where salaries are rising, according to McCall.
“I think it’s really going to set our students up for leadership positions within the agencies they’re working in and give them the skills they need to become leaders in the field,” he said.
WCC Vice President of Academic and Student Services Brandon Jenkins hopes that the new EMS degree will help address the shortage of emergency healthcare workers in Wayne County and across the state.
“Wayne Community College wants to be an integral part in helping Wayne County meet their healthcare training needs, and the EMS degree will build upon an already stellar reputation for training healthcare workers,” said Jenkins.
About Wayne Community College
Wayne Community College is a public, learning-centered institution with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro, N.C. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, the college serves around 10,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry, and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 240 college credit programs. WCC’s mission is to meet the educational, training, and cultural needs of the communities it serves.