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Accelerated program trains Army soldiers to become paramedics

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso Community College has partnered with the U.S. Army in a first of its kind program to train EMT soldiers to become paramedics.

What is normally a two year program, the Accelerated Paramedic Program prepares soldiers in just 170 days.

"The Army as a whole looked at El Paso Community College and said we need to up our game a little bit as far as getting folks trained a little faster and getting them out there and supporting the troops," says class instructor Sotero Ramirez.

EMT soldiers are recruited from all over the U.S. They train six days a week and learn from a combination of lectures, readings, and hands-on exercises.

"It will allows us to have that, not just the EMT level medical expertise, but also the paramedic level expertise, not only in the day to day clinic, but in the battlefield as well to increase the likelihood of soldiers surviving," says Sergeant Aaron Porras.

Soldiers see a wide range of medical issues and injuries both on and off the battlefield.

At the end of the program, soldiers will be certified paramedics with 41 college credit hours.

For Specialist Rachael Dickson, that's not the only rewarding part of this journey.

"It's the people, that's rewarding. And the fact that you know enough to help beyond what you know right now," Dickson said.

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Crista V. Mack

Crista V. Mack is a U.S. Air Force veteran who transitioned to news as a multi-media journalist.


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