Certified to save lives

Twenty-one U.S. Air Force Airmen graduated from a paramedic training course at the Pima Community College Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute July 31.

The course is a four-month accelerated paramedic certification that is usually 10 months to complete and consists of classroom and field experience training created specifically for Airmen. This was the third class of Airmen to graduate from the PSESI paramedic training course.

“These Airmen go through 57 chapters and get certified in pre-trauma life support, advanced medical life support, pediatric care, pediatric life support, advanced cardiovascular life support and toxicology,” said Chris Christensen, PSESI course manager. “They also complete close to 500 hours of hands on experience.”

To gain field experience, the paramedic students spend four hours at the Tucson Fire Department dispatch center and ride along with TFD ambulances. The students also spend time in intensive care units, pediatric ICUs, labor, delivery and emergency rooms.

“The course is rigorous,” said Staff Sgt. Brendon Baez, 60th Aerospace Medicine Squadron hyperbaric medicine technician and student. “It’s six days a week for four months with over 1,200 hours of class time and clinical rotations.”

Upon completion of this course, the Airmen will receive a National Registry Certification.

“Every student can meet with the student services advisor and she performs a degree check and gives them their degree plan pathway,” Christensen said. “They will walk away with 57 college credits that they can apply to an associate, bachelors or their Community College of the Air Force degree.”

The paramedic training course offered through PSESI is the only course that medical Airmen can take to become nationally registered paramedics.

“This is the only college that the Air Force is working with to train Airmen to become paramedics,” said Shane Clark, PSESI advanced program manager. “The partnership between Pima and the Air Force is an incredible privilege. We love supporting our local first responders, but now we have the ability to train paramedics that belong to our Air Force and will use those skills not only at their home station, but also when they deploy to hostile situations.”

This course is only available to ranks airman first class through technical sergeant who fall under the 4N0X1 and 4N0X1C Air Force specialty codes, have less than 14 years of service and have an Advanced Life Support platform. If they do not have an ALS platform, they must be eligible to make a permanent change of duty location upon completion of the course.

For more information and to find out if you qualify to take the course, contact your local 4N functional manager.

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