Paramedic education began in the Department of Emergency Care & Rescue at Weber State University (WSU) in the mid-1970s. It was the first paramedic program in Utah and one of the earliest in the nation. In 2017, the department name changed to Emergency Healthcare (EH). The paramedic program continues to provide Utah and the Intermountain West with the highest commitment to prehospital emergency care education.
WSU's paramedic program was initially JRC accredited in 1984, and in December of 2018, the program was site visited for its seventh CoAEMSP re-accreditation for which it received no citations and numerous superlative comments. The EH department provides courses in EMT, Paramedic, and selected continuing education courses including Tactical EMS and Critical Care Transport. The department also offers an associate’s degree in Paramedic Studies, and a bachelor's degree in Emergency Healthcare Sciences.
Weber's paramedic program initially, and traditionally, provided EMS education for fire and EMS agencies along the Wasatch Front. Prior to 2002, 90 percent of all students were agency sponsored in both time and pay. Agency students generally sought a paramedic certificate. Since that time, fiscal crunches in most EMS agencies and fire departments have led to a decrease in the number of agency students being sent or sponsored for paramedic training.
By 2002, the WSU paramedic program liberally began accepting non-agency students, and by 2005, 80 percent of enrolled students were no longer agency sponsored. Many students are now pursuing an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Paramedic Studies or applying credits towards a Bachelor's in Integrated Studies, Health Administration Science or Emergency Healthcare Sciences Degree.
As a pioneering effort since 2002, Weber State has required the National Registry exam for all exiting students. This was pivotal in bringing the National Registry paramedic exam to the state of Utah. On July 1, 2008, the Utah Bureau of EMS adopted the NRP exam as the initial credentialing process for graduating paramedic students. Weber prides itself on a 98-100% first-time pass rate on the National Registry cognitive exam for any rolling three year period, leading all other programs in the state and greatly surpassing the national averages.
In 2003, the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions received a $469,000 federal grant to provide rural distance education in the fields of paramedicine, nursing, clinical lab science, and respiratory therapy. Beginning in 2004, the EH department initiated a distance paramedic education program using interactive video streaming for didactic education and modification of delivery techniques in skill lab, clinical and field internship. Although lectures are delivered from a distance, they remain live and interactive. For skill labs, students meet for nine Saturday/Sunday "skills camps." A majority of the paramedics currently serving in Western Wyoming and Eastern Nevada were trained in this venue.
This endeavor has produced hundreds of certificate-trained paramedics, eligible to take the Utah Bureau of EMS certification and the National Registry examination. The distance education offering for rural Utah and the other states mirrors both the curriculum and rigors of the on-campus day program in every manner.
Additional EMS educational offerings have been developed in 2007-2008 to include PAR 3110- Critical Care Transport, PAR 3120-Tactical EMS, PAR 4110-Topics in EMS Operations and PAR 4120-Topics in EMS Education. These additional offerings are integral components for students seeking an EMS minor or bachelor's degree. In 2014, PAR 2010, Medical Emergencies, was elevated to PAR 3010 and renamed Cardiac and Medical Emergencies. The yearly, summer semester Critical Care Transport online hybrid course was rolled out to great success.
In 2012, the EH paramedic program successfully graduated 8 international students from Saudi Arabia, 7 who completed the National Registry Exam on their first attempt and returned to work in their county. Starting Academic Year 2016/17 all full-time faculty possess National Registry Certification and either Master's or Doctoral Degrees.
In 2014 the EH department received a generous grant allowing construction of an indoor simulated Type III ambulance with high fidelity video recording. This simulator gets heavy use in the EMT, Paramedic and Critical Care Courses along with interdisciplinary college events.
On May 20, 2016, the Utah Board of Regents approved the BS Degree in Emergency Healthcare Sciences. A strong core of Heath Administration Services (HAS) and Health Information Management (HIM) will be utilized to provide a more diverse healthcare background. The degree in Emergency Healthcare Services was designed to be broad enough to enhance those working in medical education, QA/QI, supervision, human resources, air medical services, public health and mobile integrated healthcare.
Paramedic Program Goals as Defined by CAAHEP/CoAEMSP National Accreditation:
The WSU paramedic program will “prepare competent entry-level Paramedics in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains,” with or without exit points at the Emergency Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, and Advanced Intermediate levels.
EMS Program Mission Statement
The mission of the Department of Emergency Healthcare is to provide competent entry-level EMS providers to serve the medical needs of the Intermountain West. The program strives to utilize the latest in technology to deliver high-quality BLS and ALS programs on the main campus and in the extended campus. A continuous quality improvement process is utilized to monitor the success of the graduates and guide program development.
EMS Program Vision Statement
The Emergency Healthcare department prepares EMS graduates to perform as healthcare professionals providing prehospital emergency care under the command of a physician, to sub-acute and acutely ill or injured patients. EMT's, Advanced EMT's, and Paramedics have special, well-defined skills and knowledge in prehospital emergency care, are concerned for others, and place complete attention to all assigned tasks in order to promote the well-being of others.
Paramedic Program Core Values
- The program will provide a superior educational experience for our students which will exemplify our commitment to the community.
- As advocates of our students and our patients, we believe our students will achieve EMS excellence using the critical thinking and assessment-based management process through the integration of:
- Anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology
- Thorough and appropriate patient assessment
- Determination of a field or paramedic differential diagnosis
- Implementation of a treatment plan using national and local standards protocols
- The program will always ensure both instructional quality and student safety in the classroom, skill lab, clinical and field internship environments.
- The faculty desires that all students succeed to be safe and competent EMS providers.