September 17th, 2019
GC approved for AAS Paramedic program
Credit provided for certification, dramatically cutting time to degree
Garrett College's Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic Studies – which offers emergency medical professionals the opportunity to earn 30 credits for their national certification – was recently approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).
MHEC also awarded the Paramedic Studies program the coveted Health Manpower Shortage designation as part of the approval process.
"The MHEC designation recognizes that this program provides a key tool in addressing a statewide challenge," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. "It reinforces the rationale we had for creating this program – to develop a cadre of trained emergency services professionals for the region and throughout the state."
As a Statewide and Health Manpower program, students from across Maryland who wish to study in this Associate of Applied Science program can attend Garrett College at GC's in-county tuition rate. The state reimburses GC for the difference between the in-county and out-of-county tuition rate.
"I'm very excited about this program, which provides appropriate recognition of the rigorous certifications already achieved by emergency medical professionals," said Julie Yoder, Garrett College's dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD). "Garrett College plans to use the design of this program as a template for recognizing professional experience and national certifications to reduce time to degree for students in career fields."
Midcap said the program was jointly designed by GC's Academic Affairs Division and Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division – a partnership that can also serve as an example for other initiatives.
Garrett College's Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Develop (CEWD) already provided coursework to prepare students for the National Registered Paramedic (NRP) exam, for which students can receive 30 core credits within the 60-credit degree program.
"Our CEWD students perform exceptionally well on the NRP, and we want to recognize this achievement within the degree program," said Yoder. "We also want to recognize the expertise of students who prepared elsewhere and then successfully completed the NRP. That's what this program accomplishes."
Doug Beitzel, GC's Advanced Life Support (ALS) program coordinator, said the new degree will be valuable for emergency medical professionals who want to advance in their careers.
"The AAS degree will help emergency medical professionals who hope to move into EMS management positions," said Beitzel, a former flight medic who has nearly two decades' experience as a paramedic and professional firefighter.
Lucy Manley, associate dean for academic affairs, also played a critical role in creating the bridge from the CEWD program to an AAS degree.
"The typical student doesn't care if coursework is credit, non-credit, or a combination of the two," said Manley. "Students just want to know that they are being prepared for careers with a future. This program accomplishes that goal."