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Paramedic Degree Program Set

OWENSBORO, Ky. -- Owensboro Community and Technical College and State Fire/Rescue Training are partnering to create a degree program for paramedic training.

When the program begins next week, OCTC will be one of only two colleges in the state where students can receive on-campus training to become a paramedic while earning a degree.

The two-year, 70-credit hour degree program will allow students to receive an associate's degree, said Jimmy Vancleve, Area 3 coordinator for State Fire/Rescue Training.

The program will combine classes on paramedic training with courses in biology, anatomy, dosage calculations and medical terminology, as well as basic college classes, such as writing, psychology and mathematics.

"The student who completes this program not only comes out a better paramedic, but they become more marketable because they have a degree," Vancleve said.

Although many courses on paramedic training are offered in Kentucky, the OCTC course will be accredited through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Students will have to be certified emergency medical technicians to be accepted into the paramedic program.

OCTC offers a one-semester EMT class that would qualify students to enter the paramedic program.

Lt. Tim Benningfield, who teaches firefighters to be paramedics for the Daviess County Fire Department, said requiring students to take general college courses will help them if they later decide to switch to a different field of study.

"We have several points along the way where you may realize, 'this is not for me,' " but will already have credit hours that can transfer to another degree program, Benningfield said.

Students can choose a track to be solely a paramedic or take additional biology courses that will ready them to study nursing in the future.

Kevin Beardmore, vice president of student affairs at OCTC, said the paramedic program is another offering the school can provide students interested in a degree in medical technology.

"A lot of students come in and say they want to be a nurse," Beardmore said. "... But then a lot of students realize there are other options. When they hear there are other options, there's quite a bit of interest."

Vancleve said he prepared a study outlining the need for more paramedics in the state when presenting the course to the KCTCS board of regents for approval.

"It was pretty much an intense process getting the program approved by the board of regents," Vancleve said.

Benningfield said while there are several paramedics in the Owensboro area, they often work multiple shifts for several agencies.

Vancleve said because the paramedic program is part of the KCTCS system, students interested in the program will be eligible for financial aid.

Vancleve said he is working with Eastern Kentucky University, which also has an accredited paramedic training program, so students who receive their associate's degree from OCTC can transfer to Eastern and complete their bachelor's degree.

"It gives students coming out of high school a career path," Vancleve said.

To Learn More

For more information about OCTC's paramedic training program, call Jimmy Vancleve, Area 3 coordinator for State Fire/Rescue Training, at (888) 306-8015, or e-mail him atjimmy.vancleve@kctcs.edu

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