By Iyani Hughes 01/22/2020
LITHIA SPRINGS, Ga. (CBS46) -- A local high school program is preparing its students to be career-ready for in-demand emergency medical technician jobs.
A cohort of students at Lithia Springs High School will soon be the first to graduate from the high school ready for work as EMT's.
LSHS has offered the Emergency Medical Responder Pathway for years, but starting the spring 2020 semester, the pathway has widened to provide all the education and clinicals needed for students to sit for testing with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
“Students will get hands-on experiences through our association with the Fire and EMS Department that they can’t get in the classroom,” said Debbie Vinsant, LSHS health occupations teacher.
Lt. Stacie Farmer explained that students will get to ride along on actual fire and medical calls and are supervised by state approved clinical preceptors. explains Lt. Farmer.
She goes on to say if a call is above the maturity level of a teenager, he or she may remain on the rig. “We’re not going to force teenagers to do something they’re not ready for," Farmer said.
Vinsant teaches the majority of classroom curriculum, with Lt. Farmer spearheading the ambulance clinicals and occasional Saturday classes.
Because LSHS had not planned to expand the Emergency Medical Responder Pathway this year, it did not budget for all the student-related costs including uniforms and liability insurance for clinicals and one-use textbooks.
The Economic Development Authority is helping with these expenses through a small grant this year, but the school will cover them in future budgets.
The Fire/EMS Department is covering expenses for the clinicals.
“If students do well on the state test and are added to the Registry and are at least 18 years old, they can begin working as EMTs with beginning salaries around $38,000 and no school debt,” said Lt. Farmer.
Vinsant stated, “EMTs work 24 hours on and 48 off, so that’s not bad pay for working every third day. There’s plenty of flexibility for EMTs if they want to pursue college or technical school while earning a living.”
While the local Fire/EMS Department is a proud partner in the LSHS EMS program, there is no requirement that EMTs coming out of the program seek local employment.
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