Guilford County EMS seeing increase in paramedic applicants

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Across the Piedmont, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) departments have experienced the struggle of hiring and retaining qualified EMTs and paramedics.

However, Guilford County is getting promising news after placing a greater focus on recruitment.

Kyle Paschal, Guilford County deputy director of emergency services, says about two years ago, the department recognized there was a significant need for paramedics.

“I’m proud to say that today we are almost fully employed. We only have three positions open out of 198 full-time positions,” Paschal said.

Although positions are advertised on the North Carolina Office of EMS website and on social media, Paschal says the most significant boost came through employee referrals.

Megan Jenkins is a recent college graduate and is employed with Guilford County EMS as an EMT-Basic.

“[There are] a lot of people I talk to that have no exposure kind of like I was and once they hear about it, they want to learn about it, they want to know everything that you know,” she said.

Although the department is almost fully employed, recruiting is still necessary as the call volume increases.

“We continue to see an increase in call volume of about 3.5 percent per year,” Paschal said.

Along with those three full-time paramedic positions, the department is looking for hourly/as-needed entry-level EMTs.

Recruitment is also significant considering EMS departments are facing more competition in the marketplace among nursing and physician assistant opportunities.

Forsyth EMS has about 12 openings that combine EMT and paramedic positions.

“One of our biggest challenges is that when you bring someone through the program and you get them to the point where they actually have the practical knowledge of the job, then [they’ve] become a more valuable asset for someone else,” said Tim Black, Forsyth County deputy chief of emergency services.

“Then they get pulled away, lured away, or they apply to a different program, and so you lose, and so you start all over again.”

The Forsyth EMS application period will remain open until May 25.

You can apply for the three full-time paramedic positions with Guilford County EMS until June 21.

“As needed” positions are filled on an ongoing basis.

Randolph County EMS is accepting applications through June 2 for one full-time and five part-time EMT and paramedic positions.