Beginning January 2016, Bossier Parish Community College’s Paramedic program will partner with Desoto Parish EMS and Natchitoches Parish EMS to offer paramedic education to current and potential employees, allowing potential students access to an accredited paramedic program closer to where they live and work.
In 2013, the National Registry of EMTs began requiring that candidates for paramedic certification must graduate from an accredited paramedic education program in order to sit for the NREMT paramedic exam. Receiving national certification is a requirement to obtain a Louisiana paramedic license and paramedics cannot practice in the state of Louisiana without holding a current Louisiana license.
With the only accredited paramedic program in north Louisiana at Bossier Parish Community College, EMS professionals, many who are working as firefighters and EMTs and who do not live close to the BPCC campus, have found it difficult to attend the necessary classes needed to graduate.
“Obtaining program accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is a very involved process with many standards that are difficult to meet,” says BPCC Chancellor Rick Bateman. “Because the BPCC paramedic program is an accredited program, this partnership will allow us to offer our expertise, talent, and services to individuals in communities throughout the Northwest Louisiana region, and therefore, allow us to provide quality workforce training to those who might not have had the opportunity previously.”
Under the partnership, BPCC will offer a paramedic program whose didactic instruction, provided by qualified faculty, will be provided via compressed video at Northwest Technical College in Natchitoches and Mansfield and whose lab sessions will take place in Mansfield.
Northwest Technical College-Mansfield’s Campus Dean Dianne Clark says this partnership will create opportunities for individuals in both Mansfield and Natchitoches who might not have ever considered becoming a paramedic because of the location challenges.
“Identifying and addressing the needs of our community and business partners has always been an important part of our mission,” says Clark. “This partnership represents a win- win for everyone and is a positive step toward meeting the workforce goals outlined in the LCTCS Our Louisiana 2020 Public Agenda.”