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Rapid-Fire, 90-Day ALS Training

Someone eager to become an EMT or paramedic can now do it in record timeƒfor a steep price. The National Academy for Prehospital Care (NAPC) in Fremont, Neb., recently began offering all-inclusive EMT-B training in 30 days for $3,200 and a three-month paramedic course for $26,178. (Fees include books, meals and lodging.)

Although NAPC is the first known institution to provide such an accelerated paramedic program, school founder and CEO Jay Keefauver, EMT-B, believes it_s going to be ˙the wave of the future.Ó

The NAPC curriculum features an intensive immersion program. Students attend classes for eight weeks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, using equipment and manikins to practice skills as they_re taught. The entire class is then shuttled to Aurora, Colo., to spend four weeks finishing class work and be filmed running scenarios on what looks like a Hollywood back lot.

At the end of the program, students will have completed 600 hours in class and applied learned skills in various scenarios. The school releases them to spend 520 hours more in clinical rotations in their individual hometowns.

Keefauver claims compressing the one- to two-year paramedic course into three months benefits students, who can concentrate on their studies without distraction. ˙Six hundred hours is 600 hours,Ó he says.

Before students leave the academy, they must take the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT) exam. But even with passing scores, will students who attend such immersion programs really be competent?

˙Our exam only looks at one element of competency,Ó says NREMT Associate Director Gregg S. Margolis, PhD, NREMT-P. ˙You can teach people to pass the exam pretty quickly, but that doesn_t mean they are competent.Ó

Keefauver is aware of the criticisms of his ˙boot campÓ approach to instruction but says his goal is to train competent, quality prehospital providers. He adds that each class includes no more than 18 students and that its instructors are nationally known EMS educators.

NAPC hasn_t applied with the Commission on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP). ˙We_d love to work with them,Ó says CoAEMSP Executive Director George Hatch.

The first class of paramedics graduated in July.