K-64 brings education, business, and government together to connect people of all ages with the skills needed to fill jobs and build careers in Catawba County.

EMT, EMS, or Paramedic? These questions circulate the minds of students considering a degree in Emergency Medical Science. It can feel tricky to begin the program, but according to a few students enrolled in this summer’s Trauma Emergency course, it’s definitely worth it.

One student began this degree after taking the initial EMT program. She came from a family of first responders, so her history and knowledge of the field inspired her to continue her education with an Associate in Applied Science. At CVCC, learning moves beyond the classroom – students experience field training, extracurricular opportunities like the Repelling class at Murray’s Mill, and chances to learn the process of Extrication, where first responders cut and remove patients out of accidents.

In addition, another student mentioned taking clinicals, where he worked in the ER, the operating room, and experienced riding in EMS trucks from either Catawba, Caldwell, Iredell, Lincoln, or Alexander counties. He said CVCC instructors were quite knowledgeable, as well; most of his teachers hold direct field experience.

It’s because of this direct experience and high reputation that another young woman entered CVCC’s EMS program. She recognized that a large percentage of these graduates received job placement, and that local medical teams love to hire people from CVCC. As someone who held interest in public service and a medical career, she figured the EMS path was a great combination of both passions. For her, understanding the why behind what to do is a strong aspect of critical thinking that EMS students are introduced to. Questions like “Why do I need to give this treatment to the patient?” or  “What is the effect that this medication has?” will help EMS professionals determine what’s necessary to fix a medical emergency.

Preparation comes from more than the textbook – memorization, assertiveness, and patient rapport are all valuable traits of am EMS student. Sometimes it can be difficult to recall the exact protocol or treatment plans in the middle of an emergency, but a quick memory and step-by-step process will make strides in quality patient care. A few students struggle with assertiveness, especially when there are patients or coworkers that need to be told exactly what to do rather than politely asked. If you’re the paramedic in charge, you must delegate tasks and know the right course of action. It all comes down to having good patient rapport, speaking with people in a kind, calm manner, almost as if you spoke with members of your family.

These students suggested to take the EMT program, or even work as an EMT, before starting this degree. You might have an interest in EMS or becoming a paramedic, but it’s vital to know this career path is right for you. Several students intend to start this career path, but soon realize it’s not what they expect. In just one semester, students can finish the EMT program, begin work, and decide if they truly want to be a paramedic. There are days where you will want to quit, where you’re not sure the field is exactly what you hoped. But these students reminded me that everyone has their doubts. Everyone goes through times of questioning. One student even said, “Face the fears! You can get through it!”

If the medical field, public health, or emergency medical services inspire you, I’ll offer the same advice: Face the fears! When you look back on your education with degree in hand, you won’t regret your decision.

For more information about the EMT, EMS, and Paramedic programs, visit CVCC’s Website.