Aspiring emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are first-responders to medical emergencies. They often work in ambulances and are dispatched to emergency situations by emergency operators. Prospective EMTs in northwest Arkansas can get training at NorthWest Arkansas Community College or at North Arkansas College. Both programs offer both certificates and associate's degrees in this area.
NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville-based NorthWest Arkansas Community College offers as an Emergency Medical Technician - Basic (EMT-Basic) and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paramedic Science program. Students who have completed the certificate course can apply course credits to the AAS program.
To enter the introductory EMT-Basic certificate program, students must take a prerequisite first responder class and gain acceptance into the college's Allied Health Department. They must also submit proof of immunizations and insurance and have a current CPR card. The 8-credit program requires 184 hours, including 128 classroom hours, 24 hours of observation in an ambulance and 32 in an emergency department. Students are trained in patient condition assessment, cardiac life support, resuscitation, bleeding and shock management. The program also covers ethical and legal issues. Students must successfully complete the program to qualify for the Arkansas or national EMT exam and receive their certification through the state of Arkansas.
In the AAS in Paramedic Science program, students are trained to provide basic life support through both theoretical and hands-on coursework. This program includes courses like pharmacology, respiratory care, traumatology and cardiac care. In addition, students work in area hospitals and with certified paramedics in ambulances. Graduates may find work as paramedics in fire departments, emergency medical service agencies, local hospitals and helicopters.
North Arkansas College
North Arkansas College (Northark), which is located in Harrison, offers an emergency medical technician certificate of proficiency and an Associate of Applied Science Paramedic degree. Credits from the former may be applied to the latter.
To enroll in the certificate program, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and a current AHA Health Care Provider CPR Card. In addition to lectures in medical topics, students must complete 24 hours of ambulance ride time with at least six patient contacts and 24 hours of emergency room work. When they finish, they are eligible to take the state and national registry exams so that they can start working in the field.
Those who are looking for additional education can apply their credits to Northark's Associate of Applied Science Paramedic Degree program, which is designed to prepare students for ambulance and emergency room work. Basic admissions requirements are the same as for the certificate program, except that students must be officially enrolled in the college in order to participate, so the admissions application is more extensive, requiring the submission of letters of reference and standardized test scores. Upon graduation, aspiring EMTs will have met the prerequisite education requirements for the state and national registry tests.
In Arkansas, the state requires that aspiring emergency medical technicians submit an application to the state's board of health, pass a criminal background check and have a current CPR card. They must also pass the national and Arkansas state registry exams.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Emergency Medical Technician Courses and Degree Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees|
|NorthWest Arkansas Community College||2-year, public; small city|| EMT-Basic Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science - Paramedic Science
| Total cost for EMT-Basic program (2019): $1,309 (in-district), $1,789 (in-state), $2,269 (out-of-state)*
For AAS program, per year (2018-2019): $3,238 (in-district), $4,663 (in-state), $4,738 (out-of-state)***
|North Arkansas College||2-year, public; remote town|| EMT Certificate of Proficiency
Associate of Applied Science Paramedic Degree
| For certificate, per credit hour (Fall 2019): $74 (in-county), $99 (in-state), $169 (out-of-state)**
For AAS program, per year (2018-2019): $2,280 (in-district), $2,880 (in-state), $4,632 (out-of-state)***
Source: *NorthWest Arkansas Community College, **North Arkansas College, ***National Center for Education Statistics