EMT Apprenticeship Offers Experience and Education

Students learn hands-on skills in the Emergency Medical Services program lab.
Rebecca A. Eckland

With an ongoing shortage of nurses, now more than ever students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field can gain education and experience at no cost. Thanks to a partnership with Renown, the Nevada System of Higher Education, and TMCC, those who want a career as an Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic—or even a nurse physician’s assistant—can take the first step in this challenging, rewarding, and in-demand profession thanks to a unique apprenticeship opportunity.

Apprentices are paired with working technicians at Renown who act as professional mentors supporting their journey as emergency trauma technicians. “They’re trying to find different ways to provide patient care with those kinds of staffing shortages,” said Stephanie Mead, TMCC faculty and EMS Coordinator in the EMS Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Program. “They’ve discovered that this tech position can be utilized in a better way than before, under the direction of a physician, in the midst of a nursing shortage and to their full scope.”

Those who apply and are accepted into the apprenticeship program are also enrolled in TMCC’s EMT and EMT Advanced classes. These are accelerated programs, which are each completed within nine weeks (as opposed to sixteen) for a total of 18 weeks. “It’s very fast-paced,” said Mead. “These candidates are being employed in these tech positions, which is using them in a much better capacity—they are helping patients.” 

Students who complete the EMT and EMT Advanced apprenticeship are paid for not only their hours of work at Renown caring for patients and receiving on-the-job training but also for their time completing the academic program, along with their books and supplies. They are also eligible to continue their education and professional development in TMCC’s hybrid Paramedic Program. “That way, students can learn a higher critical care level and hopefully help out in the ICUs,” said Mead. 

The accelerated EMT and Advanced EMT Programs are each nine weeks long, and can be completed concurrently with employment at Renown. This, said Mead, is a win-win for students who are determined to pursue a career in the medical field. 

Fast-Paced, Fast Rewards

Jimmy Lao, Director of Nursing and Emergency Services at Renown, sees working as an emergency tech while pursuing accelerated education in TMCC’s EMT and EMT-Advanced programs as an opportunity to take a very step into a lifelong career. Lao began his journey in the medical profession as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA),  but admits the pathway through as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)—and working as an emergency technician—is equally valuable. 

“Being an EMT can be a stepping stone for someone who might be aspiring to become a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant... I love having options from a leadership standpoint as well as an education standpoint [because] it gives you a better appreciation of teamwork that you develop along with the technical skills you develop through this program. This is such a great way to learn and be exposed to a lot of different specialties in the medical field,” said Lao, who explained that those who complete the program have several choices: in addition to remaining an EMT, EMT-Advanced, or continuing their training to become a paramedic, participants could also use the experience to begin their career as a fire professional, a police officer, or to work for a medical services company like RESMA. 

“We are always going to have a need in our community for these kinds of professionals,” said Lao, who explained another “win” of the program is offering all this training and hands-on experience for zero cost: participants are paid to learn, paid to be in the lab, paid as apprentices inside the hospital, and their additional costs of books, uniforms, tuition and other supplies are also completely covered. 

Jenna Martineau, a recruiter at Renown, explained that the program is funded by several grant sources including NSHE as well as the Renown Foundation to ensure that apprentices receive the support they need to get the most out of their education and on-the-job experience. Although literally anyone can apply–even those without a background in the healthcare field–Martineau said that the majority of successful applicants express an interest in becoming an Advanced-EMT, Paramedic or Registered Nurse, and see value in a cost-free program that offers real-life, practical training.

Apprentices work as an Emergency Trauma Tech, which is a position in the Emergency Department that works directly beneath the ER position. ET Techs work collaboratively with nurses and their expanded scope of practice is based on their certification level, but typically technicians assess patients, administer medications, follow protocols to assist patients in either transitioning to a higher level of care or discharge them back to the community.

The three levels of technicians include the Emergency Trauma Tech (Level 1), which includes those in EMT basic training, who also have either six months experience as a CNA or as a medical assistant. For those looking to receive their EMT-Advanced, those apprentices occupy a more senior-level role. The goal of the apprenticeship program is to support and encourage participants to move to the highest level, which is becoming a Certified Paramedic. 

“That is a huge jump going from basic to advanced to a paramedic in terms of what they can and cannot do… not only in terms of skill sets, but also in terms of what they can do to help our patient population,” said Lao, who also explained a part of the program pairs Emergency Trauma Technicians with more experienced medical staff who can provide mentorship and support through this fast-paced hands-on program.

Interested? Apply Now!

The application process is as simple as visiting the Renown website and filling out the application form. “If you’re willing to learn and you’re willing to do the work and you love people, this is the career path for you,” said Lao.

Interested students should contact Renown directly to learn more about this opportunity. For more information about the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program at TMCC, contact the department at 775-336-4270.