Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q. I have some concerns regarding my background. What are some of the things that could legally disqualify me from program entrance or employment?
A. According to Health and Safety code, fire departments, private ambulance services and hospitals at which our students complete their hospital and pre-hospital experience, there are a number of offenses that can threaten your future career. A few of those are convictions of:
- Threats or commissions of violence upon another person
- Sex offenses
- Theft - including petty theft
- DUI, especially if this is a recent occurrence. (** Many EMS provider agencies cannot insure EMTs or Paramedics who have EVER had a DUI)
- Reckless driving
You are entering a professional atmosphere that requires you to act in a responsible manner as an adult. You will be responsible for human life and property; this privilege comes with great responsibility. Our contracting facilities (hospitals and field providers) and the Los Angeles Department of Health Services mandate background checks. Please see the links below and contact the appropriate agencies for specific questions regarding these topics. If you are considering employment with a specific agency (fire department, private ambulance company, medical school), it is well worth your time to contact them directly to verify their requirements before beginning your educational career toward that goal.
2. Q. What kind of EMT experience will qualify for the requirement of 1200 hours prior to entrance into the Paramedic Program?
A. Our brochure clearly states that you must provide proof of recent pre-hospital care experience using your EMT skills. However, we may evaluate other experience on a case-by-case basis if it uses your EMT skills. But in ALL cases, more than half of the required hours must be on a transporting ambulance. This is to satisfy the requirements of the agencies with whom we contract for your field externship. The more hours you spent on a first-in (911) service, the better. An EMT career full of only inter-facility transfers usually sets candidates up for failure, in large part because of the lack of patient assessment skills. Other programs draw their candidates largely from fire agencies where this type of experience is abundant. The best recommendation if you are reading this for future information is to start having a “paramedic mindset.” Picture yourself in that role NOW, while you are preparing yourself for the Program. If you have the opportunity to transfer to a more “active” provider with more 911 experiences, we STRONGLY recommend this, as well as spending more than 1200 hours in the field (that is the bare minimum!).
If you have worked as a lifeguard or firefighter, as an example, you must document how many hours you spent providing medical care. That could be as little as 5 hours out of each 40 hours worked. **Additionally, some jobs, including military medics, involve extensive field care but little to no transporttime. Our field providers REQUIRE that you have substantial transport time as part of your experience. This requirement is the most problematic for those who have worked outside of the municipal EMS system (Forest Service, Military, etc.). We cannot bend this rule, as it threatens our contracts with our field providers. What this means to you is that, despite having some very impressive medical experience, you will need to seek employment to fulfill the transport requirement.
If you worked as an ED/ER technician we could count that for no more than half of your hours and then you would still need to work on an ambulance for the pre-hospital half. However, being an EMT who works as a clerk, orthopedic tech, lab tech or phlebotomist would not count as equivalent to “pre-hospital experience using EMT skills.”
MILITARY CANDIDATES: Your field Medic experience will count for at least half of the required hours. The rationale for only this amount being applied toward your total time (despite your advance-practice experience) is again set forth by our field agencies that need a candidate who is very comfortable and competent in the civilian setting. We will need a copy of your DD-214 that lists your medical specialty in your MOS. We welcome you and thank you for your service.
3. Q. How are candidates selected for entry into the Paramedic Program?
A. Prior to each class, we hold a prep-course (EMS 1) to select our next class. On average, over fifty applicants show up for each EMS 1 offering. Our brochure tells you to “master” medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, EMT and basic math. During EMS 1, you will take a series of quizzes to demonstrate your grasp of this pre-requisite knowledge. Those candidates who pass EMS 1 with a "C" or better progress on to EMS 2. Those who pass EMS 2 are selected by registration priority mandated by the California Community College system (Title 5 of the Education Code). Our class size is 25 students. We will also have a small waitlist of students in the event that a candidate is unable to fulfill their commitment to attend that class. Those who do not make it into the class for which they initially apply can easily be "rolled" to the next class to test into the qualified candidate pool by cumulative quizzes and final exam testing.
4. Q. Are there any required pre-requisite courses to take?
A. No. While other programs do require A&P and possibly other course work such as math, we recommend study material and allow you to study on your own. You can self-accelerate through the required A&P text in weeks, on your time, rather than enroll in a semester of A&P at a college schedule.The level of math required for successful - and safe - drug calculation is roughly 5th grade level, yet this is one of the primary areas of failure in the early stages of the program! Lack of foundational knowledge of this subject matter is one of the causes of failure in the initial phase of the Program. YOU must PREPARE YOURSELF for this admirable goal that YOU have chosen! This is YOUR destiny – take control of it by being as well prepared as possible to ensure your success.
***Our current texts that cover these topics are: Calculation of Drug Dosages, 9th Ed. Sheila Ogden and AAOS: Anatomy and Physiology - Paramedic by Elling. These are excellent resources and required reading for our candidates. BUY THESE EARLY and COMMIT to preparation!
5. Q. Why is Mt. SAC’s Paramedic Program so inexpensive?
A. Mt. SAC costs approximately $2,900.00 including tuition fees, physical, drug screen, books and supplies. The reason other programs charge about $12,000.00 - $14,000.00 is that is how much it costs to train a paramedic! Because Mt. SAC is a state community college, you pay just a fraction of the actual paramedic training cost and Sacramento sends the college the other $12,000.00, mostly from property taxes that you and/or your parents already paid. Your tax dollars return to your pocket!
6. Q. Why is there a requirement of 1,200 hours of pre-hospital care experience working as an EMT on a transport ambulance?
A. While some other programs require as much as 2,000 yours or more, our field internship providers set this requirement. They require that you have a lot of experience working on a transport ambulance so that you can work with police and fire personnel on scene and in emergency departments. In this way, your field preceptor can focus on evaluating your paramedic skills and not have to devote any time or effort to orienting you or helping you function as a pre-hospital provider.
7. Q. Where is my Mt. SAC paramedic training accepted?
A. Everywhere. Mt. SAC is nationally accredited (CAA-HEP, CoAEMSP through 2014), and by the state and county. As a graduate, you will become nationally registered, state licensed and locally accredited. You can work in any state, any county. In the summer of 2008, six of our graduates got hired in Maui.
8. Q. I am an out-of-state candidate. What do I have to do to apply?
9. Q. I am a current Paramedic and heard that Mt.SAC offers an Associate in Science in EMS degree. How can I apply to receive this degree?
A. First, you must have either successfully completed our Paramedic Program or possess a CURRENT Paramedic License. Your degree-appropriate transferrable General Education units acquired at another college can be used toward the Associate of Science requirements at Mt. SAC. Contact the Transfer section of our Academic Counseling Center at 909.594.5611 Ext. 5660 for further details and instructions (Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Mon. - Thu. / 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Fri.). Note: If your initial paramedic training was at an institution that offers an EMS degree, we will not be able to issue you our Associate Degree due to lack of equivalency of units between the programs. Our EMS degree was designed to assist those who did not attend a program at a collegiate institution.
10.EMS 1 and Program success! The following are actual suggestions from current students as to how to succeed in the program from EMS 1 on...
"Study everything that is on the [admission] packets given and any extra materials that you may need. I was always told this exact thing, "study everything" and I always brushed it off like it couldn't possibly be that bad, but the thing you don't study is the exact thing that's going to be on the quiz. Everything they say is true, that people fail out of EMS 1 / 10 is because there was a lack of knowledge going into it or THERE WAS NO TIME TO PLAY CATCH UP (capitalization from student). 4 months is not a lot of time to dedicate yourself to study, especially when it concerns your career."
"Study with a friend(s) - explaining concepts that the other one doesn't understand helps both of you learn." "Talking it out helps you understand."
"Don't let your home life negatively affect your school life."
"EMT Curriculum (signs and symptoms), AAOS A&P, Brady vocabulary -- Memorize...they weren't kidding."
"Understand applied physiology. If you understand how things work, it gives you a better understanding of what kind of treatment is needed."
"CURRICULUM!!" (Mt.SAC EMT Curriculum)
"Get in the right mind-set. After you get out of the class portion, it's the real deal and you will need to perform; that's the goal. Act like a professional at all times; it will only help you."
"If you look at your whole life, 6 months is a short investment of your time compared to the years of making a difference in peoples' lives, helping your family and a rewarding career that this program offers."
"Master your EMT skills and [patient] assessment; these will help you later and make things easier. [A Paramedic's skills are] 90% EMT and 10% Paramedic."
"Get your family / spouse / friends' support!"
"Make sure you take math [ and drug calculations ] very seriously. Math can take you out of the program."
"If you have a weakness...study it.
"Find a study method that works for YOU!"
"Don't give up. It seems impossible a lot of the time, but this IS do-able. Keep chipping away at it. If this is truly what you want to do, you CAN do it."
"Read AAOS (A&P) multiple times!"
"Get over anything you would rather be doing! You're in 'medic school! Accept it!"
"Eat, study, exercise, eat, study, sleep, study, repeat"
"Have fun. Remember, you are surrounded by like-minded, smart, funny people that want you to succeed. Take pride in yourself. Not everyone gets this chance."
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH SCIENCE DIVISION OFFICE AT EXT. 4750
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