When it comes to growing career fields, health care is one that continues to boom. The unfortunate reality is that people will always get sick, and the need for more medical personnel continues to grow as the country gets older.
One particularly fast-growing career is that of paramedic. Paramedics respond to emergency calls, perform first aid and help transport patients to area medical facilities. A paramedic's ability to respond to a situation quickly and skillfully can mean the difference between life and death for some patients.
The field is expected to grow by about 15 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, much faster than the average career field. And at nearly $30 an hour, Maryland has one of the best average salaries for paramedics in the country, according to allhealthcare.com, a Monster.com job board for healthcare professionals.
To become a paramedic, one must first start by getting their emergency medical technician certification. There are a number of certification programs available in the region, including one at Carroll Community College and the Emergency Services Training program offered to high school seniors by the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association at the training center on Kate Wagner Road. Students interested should talk to a school counselor and the chief of their local volunteer fire station, and visit ccvesa.org and click on the Emergency Services Training tab to learn more.
But for those already in the field, whether in Carroll County or elsewhere in the state, Carroll Community College offers a two-year program to EMS providers that allows them to get the skills necessary to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams required to be a paramedic in Maryland and most other states. What makes the program unique is that it is a hybrid of classroom and online classes and skill labs that can be tailored to fit an individual's schedule.
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EMS providers often work odd hours to begin with, but couple that with another job or taking care of kids, and it can be downright difficult to fit a traditional paramedic program into an already busy schedule. Carroll Community's program allows these individuals to attend lectures remotely, and there are flexible times available for students to participate in hands-on activities.
Graduates achieve an Associate of Science degree. Instructors have different pathways to get them there based on the student's experience and schedule.
For students also facing a financial challenge, the state offers a full tuition scholarship known as the Charles W. Riley Firefighter and Ambulance and Rescued Squad Member Scholarship Program.
And there are jobs waiting.
"Most jurisdictions are short on paramedics, so we are very much in demand," adjunct instructor Dan Jones told us. "Once you pass your initial certifications, it's generally easy to find a job with a fire department somewhere, or even at an entry-level position at an ambulance company."
For more information on the Carroll Community College paramedic program, visit www.carrollcc.edu.