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EMS Frequently Asked Questions
The following are questions commonly asked by students interested in the EMS Program at AB-Tech or with questions about a career in EMS.
Can I work at the same time that I am in school?
Yes. Many students do work while they attend school. Most who choose to work do so on a part-time basis. Many employers are willing to work with your schedule while you attend school.
How much is tuition?
The Admissions Office has information on tuition and associated expenses. The College refund policy applies if a student drops the program after being denied clinical site privileges.
How much do the required textbooks cost?
The cost of textbooks vary from year to year. We try to keep the cost as low as possible, but it is still sometimes a formidable amount. A student taking a full load should expect a $400 expense for each semester. Some textbooks are used in numerous semesters which minimizes the expense.
How much does a paramedic make per year?
The yearly salary of paramedics vary greatly depending on the agency who they work for and the schedule. The highest in the Asheville area is Buncombe County EMS. They hire new paramedics at approximately $45,000 per year. They work a schedule where paramedics are on duty for 24 hours and then have 48 hours off.
Can I work as an EMT or EMT-I while I am in school?
Yes. Many of our students begin to work in emergency services after they successfully become credentialed as an EMT or EMT-I. Some employers will work with your schedule to allow you to complete the program and function as a paramedic.
Do I have to get the associate degree to become a paramedic?
We do not require you to graduate with an associate degree to be eligible to test for your credentials. You must complete all prerequisites and corequisites of the EMS Major courses to eligible to test for paramedic. The length of the classes involved is the same. It simply lightens your class load during your time.
An example is the Intermediate Interventions Course in the second semester. The prerequisites for this course are BIO 168, EMS 110, EMS 111, and be currently enrolled in the EMS Program. Corequisites for this same semester are EMS 121, EMS 130, EMS 131, and BIO 169. We suggest students also take ENG 111 during this semester. If you are not seeking a degree, this would allow you not to take this English course.
The time saved by not taking these courses are not worth bypassing the degree. It is well worth your time to go ahead and take one added class to get a degree. Most students take these general education courses together and build stronger relationships.
I went to a continuing education EMT class. Will it transfer to the EMS Program?
This is often confusing for many people. Most EMT classes are ran through continuing education or occupational extension training. This is different from curriculum classes where college credit is achieved. In order for an EMT class to transfer it must be recent and have given credit for 7 credit hours.
EMT certification alone does not exclude you from the first semester. If you have successfully completed an EMT course in the past year and have your North Carolina EMT credentials you may ask the department chair for the possibility of challenging the final exam once you have enrolled in the course. This is not usually recommended because you are not as likely to succeed.
Is the EMS Program difficult?
The EMS Program is a very challenging course for the majority of people. You will have to study diligently and practice skills outside of class time in order to be proficient. Across the nation, most paramedic programs have at least a 50% rate of attrition. You are expected to learn a vast amount of material to prepare you to function on your own while taking care of critical patients. On emergency scenes there is often nobody to turn around and ask a question about what should be done in many cases. This responsibility makes your education crucial.
What is clinical like?
Clinical is a very unique experience that gives our students exposure to the world of EMS. You will assist with actual live patient care in a variety of settings. This is sometimes stressful as you are placed in situations that are chaotic and sometimes dangerous. You may be in labor and delivery delivering a baby one day or responding to a violent crime the next. You are always monitored by a preceptor so you are never truly alone. Clinical provides learning opportunities that are not possible in a classroom environment.
What kind of physical shape do I need to be in complete the EMS Program?
Students must be in at least average shape to do well in the EMS Program. Training to become a paramedic requires you to walk distances carrying weight of up to 50 pounds. Paramedics are required to move patients who are unable to move themselves. Being a field paramedic is a physical career. You should be capable of climbing flights of stairs without becoming extremely short of breath. The skills require you to be able to get down on the ground and back up rapidly. Most EMS agencies conduct a physical assessment as a condition of employment.
I know that I must have a valid NC drivers license, but do I need to have a car?
Yes. You will need to have a car or have access to a car or truck. Public transportation can be used to reach the college campus, but it will not take you to your clinical sites. Motorcycles are not recommended for your clinical days due to the weather. It would be unacceptable to arrive at your clinical site soaked from a rainstorm. You must arrive with all of your necessary gear and looking professional.
What kind of schedule do paramedics work?
Paramedics work a variety of schedules just like employees for places of business. The difference is that coverage is required by law to be 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. This presents a scheduling challenge that is handled in many ways.
The predominate schedule for paramedics is the 24/48 schedule. This means you go into work for a straight 24 hour shift. After you complete the shift you have 48 hours off to do whatever you want. For example: Paramedic Smith reports to work on Monday morning. He will get off of work on Tuesday morning. Then then has to report again on Thursday morning. This averages out to be a 56 hour workweek. One week will be 48 hours and the next week will be 72 hours.
Another common schedule is the "Dupont" schedule which uses 12 hour shifts. The shifts rotate between days and nights and gives you a seven day stretch off each month.
Large services may offer a variety of shifts for their employees. You could choose to work 24, 13.3, 12, 10, or 8 hour shifts. This is a big consideration when you are considering where to work.
I have a lot of personal business to attend to. Is there an attendance policy?
Yes. The college and the North Carolina Office of EMS both require a 90% attendance policy. That means you may be absent from class for an excused absence as long as you make up the time missed. Examples of excused absences are serious illness, death in the family, inclement weather, and military responsibilities. 10% of most of the EMS courses equate to one whole class missed each semester. It is vital that you are in class every time it meets.
Is the program accredited?
This program is seeking accreditation by Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP), 8301 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 111-312, Rowlett, TX 75088, www.coaemsp.org, Phone: (214)-703-8445, Fax: 214-703-8992.