Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured, from left, are recent CCC Paramedic graduates Michael Beach of Cleveland, MS; Trey Crittenden of Clarksdale, MS; Randy Murry of Lula, MS; CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner; Bruce Lakes of Drew, MS; Rickey Murry of Clarksdale, MS; and Brandon Bolton of Clarksdale, MS.
CLARKSDALE – Just six months ago, Coahoma Community College produced its first class of graduates from its Paramedic program.
Today, the graduates have not only all passed their national certification exam, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), but are also employed in their respective field.
It’s an achievement CCC Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) Program Director Rhett Nelson is proud of.
“There was a tremendous amount of pressure to ensure success. Being a smaller program, we not only wanted to make our mark in the state, but we also wanted to turnout top quality health care providers,” said Nelson. “Of course it’s good for accreditation to have a 100 percent pass rate, but we felt like we really prepared them to be a good paramedics and not just to pass the test.”
According to Nelson, the NREMT covers skills such as advanced airway management, medical emergencies, trauma, pediatrics, special patient populations as well as EMS operations and scene safety. Students in the program are provided extensive training through coursework and educational software.
Most importantly, the graduates have all been able to enjoy well-paying careers. All six of the graduates are employed with local ambulance services such as MedStat and Pafford.
“Not only are they working in Coahoma’s five county district, but also in Tennessee,” Nelson said.
Nelson, who began his career at CCC as an EMT instructor, was approached about building CCC’s paramedic programs after local ambulance services expressed a need for the program in the community. Building from scratch, the program was finally put in place in 2012.
“I think we fulfill a vital need in this area. …There are always job opportunities for paramedics here,” said Nelson. “The turnover rate tends to be moderate for our local ambulance services, and paramedics can earn anywhere from $60,000 to $70,000 per year in this area as the Delta is considered rural and underserved.”
In addition to boasting a 100 percent job placement and pass rate, the graduates are also making their mark in the community.
One of the graduates, Ricky Murray of Clarksdale, MS, who was the first in the class to pass the NREMT, is now licensed in Mississippi and Tennessee and is on track to receive advanced certification.
“We’re proud of all six of them of course, but Ricky is our crown jewel. …He’s a very smart individual,” said Nelson. “Anytime you can watch somebody come form humble beginnings and just explode academically, that’s very rewarding.”
Also, CCC Paramedic graduate Michael Beach of Cleveland, MS received the EMT of the Year award from Pafford EMS in Bolivar County, Mississippi.
Nelson said the program is hoping to attract more highly-motivated individuals.
“We encourage individuals interested in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) profession to enroll in EMT school and use that as a gateway to finish their general education courses and transition into Paramedic school,” he said.
He is also looking forward to the program’s continued success.
“We’re very, very proud of our graduates,” said Nelson. “My faculty was ecstatic after the final graduate passed. It gave us a lot of reassurance that we were taking this program in the right direction.”