College credit Emergency Medical Services (EMS) courses and degrees are now available in the Upper Cumberland as Volunteer State Community College rolls out a new program in Cookeville. Vol State now offers EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), EMT Advanced and Paramedic certificates at the Cookeville Higher Education Center (CHEC). For the first time in the Upper Cumberland those courses will be for college credit, allowing EMTs to also obtain an associate of applied science degree. A college degree can be an important part of the promotion process, and lead to further education, such as a bachelor’s degree. Vol State has been upgrading the equipment in Cookeville as part of the roll-out.
“We have a SimMan (patient simulation mannequin) that costs $80,000,” said EMS director Erik Jesse. “It gives students the most realistic training opportunity available. It responds just like a real patients. Students can practice skills and get immediate feedback from our instructors.”
“You can actually visualize and put yourself in that situation. He (SimMan) is very lifelike,” said student, Taylor Hargis of Livingston. “The instructors are helpful. They’re good at taking their time. They don’t mind working with us one-on-one.”
“Students need to be working hands-on with the very equipment they will be using on the ambulance,” said instructor Roger Brown. “We have the most current training equipment.” Other new gear includes IntuBrite intubation simulators, and a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
“There’s a real shortage of trained EMTs in the Upper Cumberland,” Jesse said. “There’s a lot of job opportunity.”
“It’s a job that is always changing,” said student Curtis Black of Carthage. “It’s helping others when they can’t help themselves. I plan on getting my associate’s degree here in Cookeville. The location is much more convenient for me.”
Many students already work as EMTs and are continuing their education with Vol State. Hargis works at Overton County EMS. “I wanted to learn more,” she said. “You can advance more as a paramedic.”
There is an April 15 application deadline coming up for the next Paramedic program. The college also offers EMT each fall and EMT Advanced each spring semester. For more information visit www.volstate.edu/emt, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 931-372-5551.
Pictured: Cookeville students work with the SimMan simulator, as instructor Roger Brown explains. Left to right: Ethan Burris, Gainesboro; Andrea Miller, Cookeville; Taylor Hargis, Livingston; and Jimmy Savage, Doyle.