The Christian Hospital Emergency Medical Services (CHEMS) Academy has received accreditation for its paramedic training and education program from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
CHEMS Academy has graduated 123 emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and 47 paramedics since it was established in 2014.
“Achieving this national accreditation is a great point of pride, not only for Christian Hospital, but also for the community we serve,” says Ian Breden, CH paramedic and CHEMS Academy educator. “We have our own paramedic program that is now nationally recognized as a great program to train and potentially employ people from the community we serve.”
Accreditation was granted after extensive peer review and site visits conducted by the Committee on Accreditation for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP), and CAAHEP’s board of directors confirmed the CHEMS Academy’s substantial compliance with the nationally established accreditation standards.
“It’s very rewarding for CAAHEP to validate that our program is performing to national standards and holds up those expectations with this accreditation,” Breden adds.
Prior to achieving full accreditation, CHEMS Academy was issued a Letter of Review by CAAHEP in 2015, signifying that the program was seeking accreditation and demonstrated compliance with accreditation standards, and was recognized by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) for eligibility to take NREMT’s paramedic credentialing examinations.
Breden, who started his career at CH as an EMT in 2001, has been involved with CHEMS Academy since its beginning and took over as full-time EMS educator in 2017. Breden credits his predecessor, paramedic and former EMS educator Josh Malson, with starting the accreditation process by securing the Letter of Review shortly after the academy was established.
CH EMS director Brian Hokamp and CHEMS paramedic and instructor Derek Mollett played key roles with Breden in attaining the accreditation.
“We created the academy aiming at accreditation, and that allowed us to have a good foundation to build on,” says Breden. “So now we have the EMT program, which currently doesn’t require the accreditation — just the paramedic program does — but everything we’ve learned and continue to learn through that accreditation process for the paramedic side we’re applying to our EMT program. That way, when the EMT program accreditation comes along, we’re already performing at that higher standard.”
Education plays a crucial role in the development of first responders, EMTs and paramedics. CHEMS Academy serves students with comprehensive courses taught by highly experienced, practicing professionals.
“Our EMS Academy provides a challenging and rewarding curriculum for those who want to begin, refresh or advance their careers in the EMS field,” Hokamp says, noting that the CHEMS Academy is focused on equipping students with the knowledge and resources needed to be successful on the job.
The academy offers a wide selection of courses, such as 12-lead EKG training and many National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians courses, in addition to the EMT and paramedic programs.
Teaching at the academy also extends beyond the classroom with one-on-one tutoring and group study sessions.
“Instructors are supportive, attentive and passionate about sharing their own real-world knowledge with students,” Breden adds. “And unlike other programs, all of the instructors at CHEMS Academy are active EMTs and paramedics.”
To learn more about the CHEMS Academy or to register for the next session, visit https://www.christianhospital.org/Careers/EMS-Academy.