FAQs About the EMS Program

Am I required to take classes prior to entering the EMS program?

Though you are not required to take courses before you start the EMS program, it is a good idea to take Anatomy & Physiology (Bio 168 & 169) and Medical Terminology (Med 120). Taking these courses along with your EMS courses can be demanding. Since you cannot take EMS courses prior to entering the program, it is recommended taking these courses if possible.
What is the clinical schedule like?

On the days you have hospital clinical you will be at OMH for six hours, normally from morning to afternoon. On the days you have clinical on the ambulance, you will be riding with OCEMS. All ambulance clinicals start at 6:30 am and end at 6:30 pm. There is no clinical the first semester of the EMS program. The second semester you will be in the hospital only for clinicals. The last three semesters you will be in the hospital and on the ambulance. Clinical days will vary each semester.
Should I get my EMT prior to entering the EMS program to get a head start?

If you have your EMT prior to entering the program it could be beneficial, however, it is not recommended to take the EMT course just to get a head start. Most EMT classes teach the student to become an EMT. The EMS 110 class prepares the student to become an EMT, but we focus on the EMT who will become a paramedic.
What if it is necessary that I miss a clinical day?

Though you cannot predict unforeseen circumstances and it may be necessary to miss a clinical day, it is highly encouraged that you make every effort to attend clinical. The EMS program follows the college attendance policy, but you must understand in order to be eligible to take the EMT or paramedic exam, you are required to receive a minimum amount of clinical hours. With so many students trying to obtain theses hours with limited availability, if you miss a clinical day it cannot be promised that you will be able to make up your clinical, therefore you may not obtain the required hours. Missed clinicals are taken on a case by case basis.
Is a math class recommended prior to entering the program?

You are required to meet the minimal placement test score in math. If you do not pass the math portion of the entrance exam, you will be required to take a developmental math course prior to entering into the EMS program. As a paramedic, you will utilizing math in order to determine drug doses and you will be using formulas to determine things like percentage of body surface area burned, amount of IV fluid to administer, endotracheal tube sizes and many other formulas that will call for you to be sufficient and quick in your math skills.
Are there any study techniques recommended?

Previous students have suggested study habits such as:

  • Recording drug information and listening to the information as much as possible.
  • Making out your own quizzes on the material to be learned.
  • Do your homework before it’s actually due. A lot of the daily quiz questions come from the homework material.
  • Study at least 1-2 hours a night.
  • Re-write your notes from the given outlines. Writing this information in your own words helps.
  • If you plan to study in groups or with a classmate, be sure to pick a study partner that understands the material and may be able to help you to comprehend it as well.

Should I have a medical background, like volunteering on the rescue squad or fire department or working in hospital before taking the entering the EMS program?

Though having a medical background prior to enrolling in the EMS program could only help, it is not necessary to have previous medical experience. You will learn what you need to know to become a paramedic during the five semesters of the program.
Should I take a biology class prior to entering the program?

Taking Bio 168 and/or Bio 169 is recommended, but not required.
What if I fail an EMS course? Will I be able to continue in the program?

In order to continue on in the EMS program, you must receive a C in all EMS courses. If you receive less than a 77 in any of these courses, you will not be eligible to continue in the EMS program. You will have to wait until the next time that particular course is offered (the next year), to join the program again.
Is there a childcare service offered at the school for the days I am in clinical?

There is no childcare offered at the college. It is your responsibility to have childcare for the 6 or 12 hour clinical shifts. Keep in mind, if you are on a call during your ambulance clinical at the end of the 12 hour shift, you are expected to stay on that ambulance until it arrives back at the station. Therefore, you may be late getting off of the clinical shift and your childcare provider must be aware of this.
Is it possible to have a job during the program?

It is not advisable to work while in the EMS program, but it is understandable that many students must have a job. It is possible to maintain a job after school hours, but understand the EMS program is rigorous and requires a lot of studying. Working a part time job is possible, but if working is necessary, you should try to work weekends, as there are typically no classes on the weekend.
Is there time available outside of the classroom for extra help if I am not understanding course material?

Yes. The full-time instructors maintain office hours (that vary each semester) and they will be glad to assist you with any questions or remediation that they can offer. Also inquire about the PASS program.