EMT program to shut down in July

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Delta College’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program has long allowed students to earn certification of completion in one semester, propelling them to careers in the field.
But not anymore.

After July 1, the program will be cut due to budget constraints.

“They offered up a bunch of programs to be cut due to budget constraints, and unfortunately EMT was on the chopping block,” said Frank Ramirez, an adjunct EMT and fire science instructor.

The program consisted of a single semester course, with a series of lecture, lab and clinical observation in emergency settings and simulations.

To qualify for the program a student must be 18 years old, and carry a valid and current CPR certificate.

No other previous prerequisites were required. The program was offered in both the spring and the fall.

The EMT program is run similar to an academy.

Uniforms were worn every day of class and lab. Students were required to pass background checks and drug screenings. The cost was around $700 per student, which includes the screenings, uniforms, class and books.

Students are also held accountable for missing class. Every hour missed has to be made up in lab hours.

“There’s not many colleges that offer programs like this,” said Ramirez.

The EMT program was meant to provide students with the basic level knowledge of post-hospital emergency medical care and life-sustaining emergency care.

The program has been a popular one amongst students at Delta.

“This class has been filled every semester,” said Ramirez. “I had over 40 students waiting outside for an opening in my class this semester”.

Ramirez has been dedicated to both the EMT and fire science programs, teaching for about 11 years at Delta.

He also works as an active firefighter, and is assistant coach for men’s soccer at Delta.

Ramirez co-teaches with adjunct Paul Tualla, whom is just as dedicated. The two tag-team teach the class.

With funds dwindling due to the economy, Ramirez and Tualla have taken time to find equipment donations.

“The last two years I’ve been trying to get donations, and bringing my own equipment in,” said Ramirez. “American Medical Response has helped out a lot with donation medical bags, and dummies so we can do skills testing.”

Graduates for this final semester will receive a certificate of completion, and may then go on to take the EMT-1 National certification exam for California.

“My goal when I took over the program is to make sure my students are proficient and confident to perform as an EMT,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez and Tualla hold their students to a high standard during the intense semester.

“Current students are excelling in skills and have surpassed my expectations,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez is sad to see the program come to a close, but is hopeful in its possible return.

“I was able to work it out so it may potentially be offered again,” said Ramirez. “With our program leaving Ripon will be the only college offering EMT courses in this area.”

EMT salaries range from about $30,000 to $35,000. The hourly rate in Stockton is $13-20 an hour. Most EMT-1 certified get hired on by the fire department or by ambulance companies.

“We have received great support from Health Divisions Dean Lori Jensen, and also the health science division staff,” said Ramirez.