Heeding the Call for Care: COD’s New Paramedics Training Initiative Poised to Save Lives

A vital need for paramedics across the state of California has affected the treatment that patients receive when they suddenly find themselves thrust into the most dire of situations. With the workforce suffering from a serious shortage of qualified medic leaders, COD’s Public Safety Program has stepped in to answer the call.

Even California residents may not be aware that since 2019 the state has faced a deficiency of trained paramedics, leading to fewer fully staffed ambulances and longer wait times for those with 911 emergencies to receive on-site care. Throughout the pandemic, burnout was rampant and retention battles ensued as the field lost a significant number of first responders. In a bold response to this health crisis, COD is set to launch the first-of-its-kind Paramedics program in the Coachella Valley.

Interim Superintendent/President Laura Hope emphasizes the program’s significance, stating, “Now more than ever, there is a great need for paramedics. COD is committed to meeting the Valley’s most critical workforce needs by launching this innovative program.”

Applications for the program will be accepted starting April 2024, with an intensive summer credential program preceding the official launch. The inaugural cohort of 30 students, beginning in Fall 2024, will enter a comprehensive 1-year program comprising 1,800 hours of informative lectures, skills training and on-the-job internships. These students, having completed a year of EMT program readiness, will advance to perform life support measures, administer prescription drugs by infusing IVs and take electrocardiograms (EKG).

Despite the low tuition costs at COD, the Paramedics program still presents a financial challenge to students due to its 49.5-unit course and the need for the school to purchase expensive training equipment and resources. To address this barrier, Hope explains, “We believe in supporting our students who wish to serve the community. Thanks to our new $5 Textbook Rental program, students will be equipped with the necessary resources, ensuring financial constraints do not hinder their commitment to becoming future heroes.”

Wally Meyer, Interim Director of the Public Safety Academy, expresses excitement about the new program. “We are proud of the curriculum that we have developed,” he says. “We are mirroring top programs with state-of-the-art technology to develop these young adults to become a part of advanced life-saving teams, transporting residents to hospitals.”

Post-graduation, paramedics will undergo an additional 1,000 hours of field experience that may require riding in fire trucks or ambulances on calls or working in emergency rooms. Those aspiring to enter the nursing program will benefit from trauma training, facilitating a seamless transition.

To help launch COD’s new Paramedics program and contribute to the future of emergency medical services, call 760.773.2561 or email ehernandez@collegeofthedesert.edu.

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