WASHINGTON, N.C. — Sixteen students in the initial paramedic certification course were honored on April 28 at Beaufort County Community College.

The program prepares current emergency medical technicians to take the North Carolina paramedic credentialing exam. The program is covered under the Beaufort Promise, meaning that the college will cover fees for the course. The program also qualifies for Short-Term Workforce Development grants which can be used toward textbooks and other costs. 

Due in part to the shortage of nurses in the state, several hospitals have started hiring paramedics in the Emergency Department, Operation Room, and Intensive Care Units with an expanded scope of practice. A year ago, North Carolina implemented increased educational requirements for paramedics. The increased training requirements have helped professionalize the field, with higher salaries accompanying higher educational requirements. 

Claire Austin, Nicholas Beichler, Itzel Berrelleza, Amanda Carter, Noah Erickson, Kelli Frazier, Bryan Hoggard, Kelly Isles, Haley Jackson, Taylor Johnston, Nathan van Nortwick, David Linton, Kimberly Macias, Brianna Manning, Joshua Rouse, and Zackary Taylor were part of the newest class. 

The program is housed in the new Public Safety Building that opened last year. The building includes classrooms and bays for emergency vehicles. 

The paramedic program requires students to hold Emergency Medical Technician Certification as a prerequisite, which BCCC offers. Upcoming first responder classes include Emergency Medical Technician start in August, with classes offered in Washington County and Beaufort County. The next EMT-to-Paramedic class will start on August 16. The program holds a near-perfect record for graduates who pass the credential exam through the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services. 

The college will also offer Community Paramedicine for existing paramedics. This credential helps build on their skills by teaching them how to conduct wellness checks to reduce Emergency Department visits. EMT, EMT-to-Paramedic, and Community Paramedicine classes are covered by the Beaufort Promise. The combination of the Short-Term Workforce Development Grant and the Beaufort Promise means that students will have minimal out-of-pocket costs.​ The college offers refresher paramedic and EMT classes for people interested in recertification. 

BCCC also offers a one-year, online Associate in Applied Science in Emergency Medical Science bridging program for currently certified paramedics. This program was established in anticipation of changes with statewide educational requirements for paramedics expected in 2024. Students who hold a paramedic certification get one year of credit for prior learning toward their degree and then take one year of classes online to complete the AAS in Emergency Medical Science. The program saw its first three graduates, Matthew Barnett, Alyssa Polumbo, and Tanner Williams, earn their degree at the college’s 55th Commencement Exercises. 

For questions about first responder programs, including the EMT-to-paramedic class starting on August 16, contact the Division of Continuing Education at 252-940-6375 or continuingeducation@beaufortccc.edu. To enroll in the AAS in EMS program, contact 252-940-6233 admissions@beaufortccc.edu