The Central Texas College (CTC) paramedic/EMT program recently received national accreditation from the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP). Following a ruling by the national governing body, the National Association of State EMS Officials, at its 2010 annual meeting, all paramedic education programs must now be nationally accredited by January 1, 2013, in order for graduates to be eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians paramedics certification exam.
“CTC became one of the first fully-accredited college programs,” stated Tammy Samarripa, CTC program coordinator and instructor. “As a program, we did not wait until the deadline but opted to achieve accreditation as soon as possible.”
The process began with a self-study in June 2009. Following an informal review of the self-study in November 2009, the study was submitted to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, which oversees CoAEMSP, in February 2010. The submission was followed by a site visit from board members of CoAEMSP In June who then recommended accreditation in November 2010. CTC received word of its approval earlier this year.
“There are 79 advanced paramedic/EMT programs in Texas,” noted Samarripa. “Of those, only 18 are accredited and we are now proud to be one of them.”
Accreditation is an effort to assess the quality of institutions, programs and services, measuring them against agreed-upon standards and thereby assuring they meet those standards. Programmatic or specialized accreditation examines specific schools or programs within an educational institution. The standards by which these programs are measured have generally been developed by the professionals involved in each discipline and are intended to reflect what a person needs to know and be able to do to function successfully within that profession.
Accreditation in the health-related disciplines is a tool intended to help assure a well-prepared and qualified workforce providing health care services. “The accreditation process served as an opportunity of self-analysis for our program,” said Samarripa. It helped us identify areas for improvement and reinforced those areas in which we excel. Ultimately our students and those they will be providing care to in the future will be the benefactor of the process.”
The CTC paramedic/EMT program has been approved for accreditation until 2016 when it will then re-submit for re-accreditation.