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Weatherford College is accepting applications for its first open enrollment paramedic program.

Classes start in May.

The new program eliminates the requirement for students to obtain their Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification prior to entering paramedic training. Instead, an intense EMT-level education is part of the paramedic curriculum.

This shortens the program by six months, enabling students to be fully licensed paramedics in one year.

“It’s time for a change,” said Jeff McDonald, coordinator for Weatherford College’s Emergency Medical Services program. “Just because we always have, does not mean we have to keep doing it that way. Over the years EMS education has advanced, but our model of certification hierarchy has not. It’s time to shake the tree.”

According to a press release, Weatherford College is one of only two colleges in Texas chosen to pilot the new program, which was developed to address a nationwide shortage of paramedics.

“We have listened to the EMS agencies and fire departments who are operating short staffed and developed a way we feel we can successfully help them meet their staffing needs by turning out quality certified paramedics in a shorter time period,” said Stephen Malley, WC’s director of public safety professions.

The pilot program is limited to 24 students. Anyone with formal pre-hospital training or who is currently certified at any EMS level is not eligible.

Those interested can request a petition for acceptance at wcpspinfo@wc.edu.

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