SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Emergency Medical Services provide lifesaving work, but there are not enough people to do it.
Spartanburg Community College is trying to educate more people to work for EMS saying a shortage is causing concern.
“It is not for everybody,” said SCC Emergency Medical Services Program Director Doug Paris, M.Ed., NRP. “I started as an EMT and became a paramedic in 1988.”
He says they need more students to help fill the EMS gap.
“The shortage has come to the point where everybody needs paramedics, everybody needs EMTs to fill slots,” he said. “Response to the public that it serves is probably first and foremost. Burnout leads to poor performance, leads to errors.”
SCC offers an Emergency Medical Technician certificate in one semester. It takes longer for the more advanced Paramedic program. Placement in the Paramedic program is 100%, excluding those who stay in school to pursue other pathways.
For those up for the challenge, Paris says it can be worth it.
“It is something different every day,” he said. “It is the ability to give back to somebody else. Sometimes it makes a difference in somebody’s life.”
Paris says a lower pay than other medical professions is also an issue.
“You have got to be a person who cares about other people, and less focused on money and the recognition,” said Paris.
Apprenticeship South Carolina recently partnered with the State Technical College System to help tackle the EMS shortage.
“They’re offering apprenticeships right now where students can become employees of a local ambulance service and then they can be sent to school to either become an EMT or the EMTs that are already employed by that service can become a paramedic,” said Paris.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports growth for EMTs and paramedics is projected to increase by 24 percent through 2024.