How do you increase state’s EMS workforce by 2,500? Offer free training. See the local details.
Published 12:34 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022
The cost for training to become an emergency medical services technician is now free with the help of recent legislation.
In 2021, the passing of Senate Bill 8 allowed for $21.7 million to help fund EMS education with hopes of increasing the state’s EMS workforce by 2,500 personnel, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
Acadian Ambulance and the National Emergency Medical Services Association Academy will host EMT training courses in Beaumont as well as Austin, Dallas, Houston, Temple and San Antonio.
Scott Saunier, NEMSA operations manager, said those wanting to become an EMT are partnered with Acadian or another company of their choice. After a background check and other requirements, the person completes training with the possibility of being hired by the sponsoring company.
Saunier said the first EMT class begins Jan. 9.
Any eligible student can train to become an EMT, EMT-Advanced or EMT Paramedic.
The basic EMT course lasts 12 weeks.
“I believe it’s an exciting career, and someone can make a difference in society and the community and at the same time make a living with benefits and a retirement package,” said Saunier, who is a paramedic. “And if you want to continue with our education, there is opportunity for growth, plus it’s a great way to give back to the community.”
Saunier has been involved in the EMT field for 33 years and said it is the best thing he’s done in his life.
Casey Sullivan, Acadian recruiter for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana, shares Saunier’s sentiment about the career field.
She began working as a paramedic in Rockland County, New York, and was working as a paramedic before traveling with her now-husband for a new place to work and live, ultimately selecting Southeast Texas.
She found room for advancement with Acadian and now oversees hiring from the Chambers County border down to the Gulf of Mexico to Lufkin and over to Crowley, Louisiana.
She said, for her, the best part of being a paramedic is the ability to affect change.
She disliked the idea of not being able to do something for someone who was in pain or experiencing a medical issue.
“And the fact that I will never, ever doubt if I had an impact on somebody’s life,” Sullivan said.
The EMT classes will run continuously throughout the year.