NCCC grows EMT training program

Students in North Country Community College’s first EMT class will help fill a critical shortage among emergency medical service providers in the region. (Photo provided by North Country Community College)

SARANAC LAKE — North Country Community College is adding EMT and Advanced EMT courses to address workforce and public safety needs in the region.

This spring, 31 students are taking Advanced EMT classes offered at the college’s Malone and Saranac Lake campuses. This follows the college’s successful launch last fall of Basic EMT classes at all three of its campuses: Saranac Lake, Malone and Ticonderoga. A total of 61 students completed the program in the fall, and most are now working or volunteering as EMTs in Essex and Franklin counties.

“If each agency can pick up a couple more volunteers or paid staff from every EMT class we offer, that will help answer the need for EMS professionals that both Essex and Franklin counties are experiencing,” Scott Harwood, Franklin County’s EMS coordinator and NCCC’s assistant dean for institutional research and computer support wrote in a press release.

He said having enough trained medical personnel to respond to emergencies will help address an important public safety issue. Harwood added that it will also put more people to work, “We’ve seen a transition from 10 years ago when agencies in the region were primarily volunteer fire and EMS personnel,” Harwood said in a press release. “Now, on the EMS side, most of it is paid, and we have more paid positions open than there are trained providers to fill them at this point.”

The college’s new Advanced EMT class started in January, with nine students at the Saranac Lake campus and 22 in Malone. Harwood said he expects all 31 students to complete the class in May and take the state exam to become certified Advanced EMTs.

Meanwhile, the college has developed an Advanced EMT certificate program of its own. It has been submitted to the state Department of Education for approval.

“We think the certificate program will make our students more employable because it includes additional courses like biology, English and math,” Harwood wrote in a press release. “It would also prepare a student significantly better to move on to paramedic or higher-level training.”

The college will offer its Basic EMT class again in the fall at all three campuses. Plans are also in the works to offer an Advanced EMT class in the spring of 2020, again at all three campuses.

“We’ve had a very good turnout, better than expected, in response to the program, and we’ll continue to sustain it and consider expanding it based on feedback and enrollment,” Harwood said.

For additional information on the college’s EMT classes, email sharwood@nccc.edu or call 518-354-5153.

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