It’s a First … Corpus Christi Fire Department Cadets Complete Del Mar College EMT-Paramedic Pilot Program and Get Pinned
College’s EMS training for simultaneous EMT-Paramedic certification is first in Texas and the nation with 22 CCFD cadets marking a milestone
Article by Melinda Eddleman
The Corpus Christi Fire Department’s (CCFD) 43rd Academy became not only the first in Texas but also the nation to complete a pilot program that trains cadets to earn their Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic certification simultaneously. Another benefit is that the Del Mar College Public Service Department and its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Program have saved the City of Corpus Christi time and money to get CCFD cadets ready to serve the community through this expedited EMS training program.
In fact, Melissa Stuive, DMC Public Service Department Chair and Director of the College’s EMS Program, estimates that the city has saved four months of training and $17,000 by collaborating with Del Mar College as part of a pilot program the State of Texas asked the College to test.
The cadets’ focused efforts are paid off. They receive their pins for becoming EMT-Paramedic certified during a ceremony on May 12 in the College’s Emergency Training Building on the Windward Campus.
The graduating cadets making up the CCFD’s 43rd Academy include: Adam Alaniz, Daniel A. Alcala, Kaydryn J. Argiros, Mark F. Blackmar, Logan N. Campbell, Adriana R. Cano, Jonathon D. Davis, Donovan I. Dillon, Aaron P. Faldyn, Reganold S. Garza, Joshua M. Gonzales, Kerry D.Hale, Manette M. Jamison, Rebecca R. Johnson, Ian L. Mitchell, Donaldo A. Perez, Brian J. Roese, Rene A.Ruiz, Joshua J. Smith, Bradlee J. Soliz, Allison N. Vasquez and Aaron C. Watts.
“Emergency Medical Services has always required students to be an EMT-Basic before they can advance to become a Paramedic, and the states and the National Registry of EMTs require that type of training before individuals can certify or work in the field,” Stuive noted.
Stuive, who serves on the Texas Governor’s EMS Trauma Advisory Council and assists with setting standards for Texas EMS and the State of Texas Education Committee, said that she was asked to implement a trial for a pilot program that would allow for the instruction of the “civilian to paramedic course.”
“As always, I like to help advance our profession, and I had the Corpus Christi Fire Department’s blessing to test this pilot program with 25 cadets originally,” she said.
Normally, the program starts with EMT-Basic and the Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) courses so that cadets can test for the National Registry EMT-Basic (NREMT) certification. Two weeks later, they begin Paramedic training.
“We began CCFD’s 43rd Academy with a six-week A&P and medical terminology course and then began teaching the Paramedic courses, which included the basic information and continued all the way to the Paramedic level,” Stuive said. “We had a 98 percent pass rate on the NREMT certification exam for Paramedic, and we saved the city time and money.”
She noted that prior to the cadets testing for their Paramedic certification, they still had to take the NREMT EMT-Basic exam and scored a 100 percent pass rate.
During the pinning ceremony, Stuive noted that the National Registry of EMTs didn’t have an examination for individuals trained like the CCFD cadets completing Del Mar College’s EMT-Paramedic pilot program, so the cadets’ 100 percent pass rate was not only impressive but also significant.
Dignitaries who attended the May 12 ceremony and spoke––including Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo and DMC President and CEO Mark Escamilla––continuously iterated a common theme: CCFD’s 22 cadets are “pioneers” and the community’s heroes.
“The pilot program is a huge deal for our profession,” said Stuive, noting, again: “The CCFD cadets were the first class in our state and the nation to test the pilot program. Another school is testing this initiative with traditional students, Weatherford College, and they’re currently finishing their coursework. However, their students were not getting paid while in school like the CCFD cadets, so the other program’s students are paying for their courses while still working outside of class.”
She added, “The state is so pleased with our pilot program and the results that they have allowed us to test another program so we’re collaborating, again, with the CCFD and their 44th Academy.”
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.