ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A partnership between Rockingham County Emergency Services and Rockingham Community College will allow people who dreamed of joining the medical field make that happen.

The collaboration will strive to recruit and keep EMS personnel and try to combat the shortages of trained EMTs in the county.

Rodney Cates, director for the Rockingham County Emergency Services, said the county hopes the academy will attract those who are interested in the field.

“We feel that this is a great pipeline to facilitate employees…through that facilitation of these employees, they then can have a career path to grow that career to the paramedic level,” Cates said.

Cates said the purpose is to give people a chance to earn their credentials without a major disruption in their financial responsibilities.

“Through doing the academy program, they’re actually being paid to go to the academy, so people that want to fulfill that dream can continue to have an income while they’re going through this program,” Cates said.

The program goes through several phases

Phase one is a seven-week program that will take people with no experience to an EMT basic, which includes clinicals, ride time and classroom learning.

Phase two will excel you from EMT basic to EMT advance. Cates said it’s around the same time frame.

Phase three goes from EMT advance to paramedic, which will take you nearly three-and-a-half months with more clinical time for training.

“The skill set grows. The scope of practice grows. Medication that they can give is greater, and procedures that they can perform actually increases as they go through the certifications,” Cates said.

The EMS Academy will start on Oct. 24, 2022, and sign up for the program is done through the county website. Sign up ends Sept. 23.