ONEONTA, Ala. — Wallace State’s Oneonta campus is pleased to announce new enrollment opportunities for an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) program based on community demand. The EMS program accepts new students each semester. Registration for Spring 2019 is currently underway, with classes starting Jan. 7, 2019.

The program has already proven successful for a number of high school students in Blount County enrolled as Dual Enrollment students.

Casey Hackney, the instructor of EMS courses at the Oneonta Center, said many of the Dual Enrollment students have transferred to four-year universities, using the credentials earned in the program as they continue their education. Others have also used those credentials to obtain jobs in the medical field. “A couple of our students have gotten jobs with UAB after they graduated high school last year, who are working in hospitals as patient care techs and things like that, after they went to EMT.”

“A lot of EMTs get jobs in hospitals as patient care techs,” said Allen Patterson, director of Wallace State’s Emergency Medical Services program.

Earning those credentials can be useful to all students who are interested in careers in the medical field.

“It gives them a foundation regardless of what they go into, whether they go into physical therapy or nursing or go into respiratory therapy or X-ray,” Patterson said.

Hackney added that one student who is planning to transfer to the University of South Alabama to go into athletic training was told by USA it was great that she was taking EMT courses now. Getting EMT certification is part of their curriculum, he said, so having that completed beforehand will put her ahead of the game.

“It gives them a little bit more understanding if they’re going into any other healthcare profession,” he said of having completed the EMT or Paramedic program.

But jobs in the healthcare field are not the only option for EMTs and paramedics. People with jobs in industry can earn additional wages as members of emergency response teams. Patterson said plants like Kia and Mercedes and even Alabama Power like to have employees with EMT certification to respond to emergencies. U.S. Steele, he said, has their own police, fire and ambulance service to be on hand in case of emergencies.

Of course, there are always more traditional routes of employment with hospitals, ambulance and fire services, or even in law enforcement as jailers with EMT certification. Hackney said a student enrolled in upcoming classes is a security guard who is seeking certification for his job.

Patterson pointed out that the EMTs and paramedics of today have come a long way from the early days when ambulance services were run by funeral homes or wrecker services whose main goal was to get a patient to the hospital as quickly as possible. Today’s paramedics are trained health care providers who can administer medications and perform medical procedures as part of life-saving measures in the field.

Wallace State’s EMS program offers a Basic EMT Short-Term Certificate that can be completed in one semester; a Paramedic Certificate that can be completed in four semesters; and an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Emergency Medical Services that can be completed in five semesters.

Students can also complete an Associate degree in General Studies, including courses in English, biology, business, computer science, history, ethics, psychology, speech, religion and more. The Welding program has proven to be extremely popular, and Machining is expected to be added soon. CDL along with other Workforce Training programs and Adult Education classes are also offered in Blount County.

For more information about EMS, contact Patterson at 256.352.8335 or allen.patterson@wallacestate.edu. To learn more about offering at the Oneonta Center visit www.wallacestate.edu/oneonta, or call 205.625.4020.  Oneonta classes are designated by campus location in the course schedule at www.wallacestate.edu/schedule.  Students who are enrolled may take classes at either the Oneonta or Hanceville campus, or both.