NEWARK, Ohio, May 17, 2016 – This week (May 15 – 21) is the 42nd annual National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation's communities. At that time, EMS was a new profession, and people didn't realize how important EMS practitioners would be in emergency medicine just yet. However, we now know lives can be saved in a matter of minutes, and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in EMS Technology. Nick Rhodes, 26, of Newark recently graduated from the program.
"Graduating was a big accomplishment for me, and it meant so much to my family," said Rhodes. "I have always enjoyed helping people, and working for the fire department was always something I wanted to do."
Central Ohio Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services, a one year Paramedic certificate, as well as Emergency Medical Technician certification. COTC partners with C-TEC of Licking County, Knox Technical Center, and the Ohio Fire Academy on EMT training as well.
In addition to initial education for EMS, COTC offers degree completion for the associate degree for currently certified paramedics. Through the Workforce Development Innovation Center (WDIC), COTC also offers continuing education and professional development for EMS.
The EMS Program at Central Ohio Technical College is accredited by the Ohio Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services. The paramedic program is also nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Education Programs. COTC is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
"College was never something that was on the radar for me," said Rhodes. "I never thought I would need a degree because I wanted to be a firefighter. Little did I know that I needed a college degree to advance in my career."
Rhodes has three children ages 4 and under. He had to work four jobs while in school to make ends meet for his family. Rhodes worked part time at three different fire departments: Eastern Knox Joint Fire District, West Licking Joint Fire District and Newark Township Fire Department. On his days off, he also ran his own lawn service business.
"I couldn't have completed my degree without my very supportive and understanding wife," said Rhodes. "She helped me make this happen. Everyone at COTC was welcoming and polite. They also helped me reach my goals."
After graduation, Rhodes dropped a couple of the jobs. He is now employed full time with the Eastern Knox Joint Fire District. He still works part time at the West Licking Joint Fire District, but now has a few more hours to spend with his family. Rhodes plans to take a little time off and then pursue his bachelor's degree in business management through COTC's articulation agreement with Franklin University. The agreement means that Rhodes can transfer coursework taken at COTC to count toward his bachelor's degree.
"If you want to be an officer or move up through the ranks, you needed to have a college degree," said Rhodes. "My ultimate goal is to be a fire chief. I know I will need at least a bachelor's or master's degree for that."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is expected to grow by 33 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Emergencies such as car crashes, natural disasters and violence will continue to create demand for EMTs and paramedics, as well as an aging population.
Central Ohio Technical College opened in 1971 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.