28 people
Students in one of the the largest paramedic classes in North Carolina completed their program. (Top to bottom, left to right)
Row 1-Keith Rakowski, Micheal Jones, Shaun Bell, Rebecca Traum, Rashawn Anthony, and Andrew Noell.
Row 2- Jordan Andrews, Raymond Rease, Nadia Hamed, Zachary Loscalzo, and Thomas Haddock.
Row 3- Aleta Hodges, Maeghan Cruz, Elsa Schmitt, Tynette Outlaw, Austin Pittman, and Samantha Weathersby.
Row 4-Rachel Sawyer, Beau Connors, Haley Williams, Brighton Mills, and Scott Perry.
Row 5-Samantha Smithwick, Rebecca Cullipher, Zachary Willis, Sean Tripp, Haley Camden, and Taylor Roebuck.

100 percent success rate in paramedic program draws record number of students

Twenty-eight students completed the initial paramedic certification course at Beaufort County Community College, making it one of the largest paramedic classes to finish in recent North Carolina history. BCCC’s paramedic program holds a 100 percent success rate, meaning that every student who completed the program has achieved certification, and this has drawn the attention of emergency workers across the region who are interested in earning their paramedic certification.

The boost in interest also comes from new rule changes from the North Carolina Office of Emergency Services that will change the entry requirements after July 1, requiring a semester-long Anatomy and Physiology equivalent to nursing students along with other prerequisites. Also, 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.

The increased training requirements have pushed what was once a volunteer position into a professional sphere.

“There are local hospitals with job postings hiring paramedics for various positions within the OR, ER, and ICU,” said Billy Respass, director of EMS programs at BCCC.

Due to BCCC’s 100 percent success rate, students are coming from surrounding counties to join the program.

“The success we have had within our program and our instructional staff has led to a lot of word-of-mouth referrals,” said Respass. The program at BCCC has had a 100 percent success rate for the last five cohorts. “We have a student coming from Wake Forest, and one from Richlands [in Onslow County] for our next class.”

“The need for paramedics is intense,” said Respass. “We get calls here from agencies all the time.”

The program will soon have a new home in the Emergency Services Building that will open this year. The new building includes classrooms and bays for emergency vehicles. It sits adjacent to the largest public emergency vehicle driving pad in North Carolina.

“Right now, our simulation and classrooms are housed in different buildings, so this will bring everything under one roof,” said Respass. The building will also give opportunities for simulations that were not possible in other rooms.

This cohort’s success comes in spite of restrictions at clinical sites during the COVID pandemic. Students had to travel to sites as far as Nash County and across Eastern North Carolina to fulfill their clinical requirements. As healthcare workers, most incoming students are already vaccinated, as are all instructors.

The paramedic program requires students to hold Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification as a prerequisite, which BCCC offers. The next EMT class will run August 11-December 13. To enroll, please contact the Continuing Education Registration & Records at 252-940-6375 or continuingeducaton@beaufortccc.edu.

BCCC now offers a one-year, online Associate in Applied Science in Emergency Medical Science bridge 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.

For questions about EMS programs, contact Billy Respass at 252-940-6468 or billy.respass@beaufortccc.edu. To enroll in the AAS in EMS program, contact 252-940-6233 admissions@beaufortccc.edu.